Bethlehem Haven Medical Respite
Bethlehem Haven in Pittsburgh, PA, first piloted a 5-room Medical Respite Center with Allegheny Health Network (AHN) in January 2016. The results were very positive for both clients and the hospital. For the past year, Bethlehem Haven has worked with a group of leaders from AHN, Allegheny County DHS, Pittsburgh Mercy, UPMC Health Plan, and UPMC Mercy Hospital to develop a larger community-based Medical Respite Center in Uptown. With their input, Bethlehem Haven has taken the lead to develop and operate 29 private rooms (male/female) of temporary housing for medically fragile homeless and unstably housed individuals. The design features a large clerestory to add natural light above the dining room and sitting area, easy access to onsite laundry, 3 meals a day, computer stations, and the services of two other tenants in the building: a health clinic staffed by Primary Care-Health Care for the Homeless, and Wellsprings Drop-in Day Program of Operation Safety Net.
Medical oversight and care coordination, including intake and discharge from the program, are provided by the referring hospital or health system. Pittsburgh Mercy provides medical care for the UPMC clients. Bethlehem Haven provides the short-term housing, meals, and supportive services including care coordination, counseling, and help finding permanent housing and employment. During their stay, individuals are connected to health insurance, benefits, primary care, behavioral health care (including D&A services), and assisted with transportation to and from medical appointments. Pittsburgh Mercy also provides a mobile medical unit van that visits the site several times a month.