H. R. 29
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
January 3, 2013
Ms. Velázquez introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce
To amend the Public Health Service Act to improve the provision of medical services to the homeless.
This Act may be cited as the
Mobile Medical Homeless Health Improvement Act of
Congress finds the following:
The number of people experiencing homelessness on a single night increased by 1.1 percent from 643,067 in January 2009 to 649,917 in January 2010. California, New York, and Florida accounted for 40 percent of the total homeless population.
A total of 79,446 family households, including 241,951 persons in families, were homeless as of January 2010. Since 2009, the number of homeless families increased 1.2 percent, and the number of homeless persons in families increased 1.6 percent.
The number of people who were chronically homeless, persons with severe disabilities and long-term homeless histories, decreased 1 percent between 2009 and 2010, from 110,917 to 109,812.
Out of those homeless individuals in a shelter, 34.7 percent suffered from substance abuse and 26.2 percent had a serious mental illness.
Mobile medical health care services can effectively reach homeless populations and provide primary care, screenings, dental care, medications, behavioral health care, immunizations, lab tests, case management, benefits assistance and assessments, and triage.
Mobile medical health care services can provide health care to homeless adults and children in urban, rural, and suburban areas.
The average cost of a visit to a provider of mobile medical health care services is significantly below the average cost of an emergency department visit. Visiting a mobile medical health care service instead of the emergency department can result in a cost savings of more than $800 per visit.
Improving access of homeless individuals to medical services
Subpart I of Part D of title III of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 254b et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new section:
Partnerships to improve access of homeless individuals to medical services
The Secretary may award grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements to eligible entities described in subsection (b) to enable such entities to improve access of homeless individuals to mobile medical health care services.
To be eligible for a grant, contract, or agreement under this section an entity shall—
be a partnership consisting of—
one or more hospitals; and
one or more other local health care facilities, including clinics, health centers, primary care facilities, mental health centers, pharmacies, or other mobile medical assets (as such term is defined for purposes of section 319C–2), whether or not such a local health care facility is owned (either in whole or in part) by a partnering hospital described in subparagraph (A); and
submit to the Secretary, an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.
Use of funds
A grant, contract, or agreement awarded under this section may be expended only for activities to increase access of homeless individuals to mobile medical services, including primary health services (as defined in section 330(b)(1)), substance abuse services (as defined in section 330(h)(5)), and mental health counseling.
Limitation on awards
A hospital or health care facility shall not be eligible for a grant, contract, or agreement under this section with respect to more than one partnership described in subsection (b)(1).
In awarding a grant, contract, or agreement under this section, the Secretary shall give priority to any application from a geographic area that has a comparatively high ratio of homeless individuals to non-homeless individuals.
Supplement not supplant requirement
A grant, contract, or agreement awarded under this section shall be expended to supplement, and not supplant, the expenditures of the eligible entity involved and the value of in kind contributions for the delivery of services to homeless individuals.
Temporary continued provision of services to certain former homeless individuals
If any grantee under this section has provided services described in this section to a homeless individual under the grant, contract, or agreement awarded under this section, such grantee may, notwithstanding that the individual is no longer homeless as a result of becoming a resident in permanent housing, expend the amount so awarded to continue to provide such services to the individual for not more than 12 months.
For purposes of this section:
The term homeless individual has the meaning given such term in section 330(h)(5).
Mobile medical health care services
The term mobile medical health care service means any health care related service provided in a moveable vehicle or a non-permanent clinic.