Areas to Support
Helping Educate and Link the Homeless
The Helping Educate and Link the Homeless (HEALTH) program serves as a bridge for the homeless who are often uninsured, unemployed and disconnected from medical and other community services.
The HEALTH Program was founded in 2009 by Meriter physician Dr. Cate Ranheim and her husband Dr. Erik Ranheim, a UW Pathologist, to coordinate medical care and education for the homeless population in Dane County. Since then, the program has significantly improved the well-being of more than 1,000 individuals who struggled with homelessness.
In 2014, the Affordable Care Act will improve access to healthcare services for previously uninsured individuals. The availability of insurance coverage will affect the majority of HEALTH Program patients. While this is a positive change for many individuals, Meriter recognizes that patients who experience homelessness will still face significant hurdles while navigating their care options.
For this reason, the HEALTH Program will transition into a direct case management program for homeless patients with significant health care needs. The HEALTH outreach nurse will continue to link patients who are homeless with primary care services and community resources, assist them in completing applications for available insurance coverage, provide education about medical conditions and coordinate follow up patient care plans. The HEALTH Program will continue to provide these services at locations throughout our community, adhering to the street medicine model that has always been the core of the program.
Just as in the past, donor support will play a vital role in our ability to continue to provide transportation costs to and from medical appointments, medical care until insurance coverage is approved, educational materials and outreach to those less fortunate in our community.