Health Resources to Assist the Population Experiencing Homelessness During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Screening Clients with Respiratory Infections and Telehealth for Households with Medicaid Coverage

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has created a new resource for Screening Clients at Entry to Homeless Shelters to assist with screening clients for respiratory infection symptoms at entry to homeless shelter.

The resource is a simple screening tool that can be used to identify people with symptoms that indicate they might have a respiratory infection. 
 
Not every person who has respiratory infection symptoms will have coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19.)  But using this tool during community spread of COVID-19 may help. This tool may help separate individuals entering the shelter who are more likely to have COVID-19 from the general population at entry to a homeless shelter or other homeless service program.
 
If someone screens positive for symptoms, they should be directed to where they can stay.  This place can be either within the shelter or at another location, according to a predesignated plan developed with the local Continuum of Care (CoC), public health department, and community leadership.
 
The New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute created an information sheet to assist with access to telehealth visits during the Coronavirus emergency. This information sheet contains telehealth contact information for each New Jersey Medicaid Managed Care Organization.  
 
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, telehealth is quickly becoming the most widely used option for patients across the state to receive care. Many health care providers who previously did not perform telehealth visits with their patients are now swiftly adopting virtual visit options.  
 
The adoption of virtual visit options is happening in order to safely see as many people as possible during the pandemic.  The document includes phone numbers to speak to a health plan nurse and details on telehealth services that are available through the Medicaid health plans.
 
Additionally, these new resources might be of interest for agencies and staff assisting individuals experiencing homelessness:
  • The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has created a Frequently Asked Questions section on its page that features resources to support people experiencing homelessness.  Click here for the FAQs.
  • The National Health Care for the Homeless Council has released an issue brief on COVID19 & Health Care for the Homeless: Needed Actions from Public Health and Emergency Response Systems.