Valley Health Partners (VHP) Street Medicine delivers primary and urgent health care to persons experiencing homelessness in the Lehigh Valley. Under this program, the team utilizes a holistic patient-led approach to not only provide high-quality health care but also address barriers to health care access. Patients are offered numerous services and links to community partners – tele-psychiatry, mail services, care coordination, survival support, grant-funded medical respite and connection to housing services. The aim is to offer care in terms acceptable to patients in the location of their choice whether that be in a homeless shelter, soup kitchens, on the streets, under bridges or in the woods.
VHP Street Medicine was founded on the idea that everybody matters. The team continues to focus its efforts on the unsheltered, persons living outside, by doing outreach four out of five days of the work week. Furthermore, the team offers clinics on a scheduled rotation at eight designated community centers, soup kitchens and homeless shelters, as well as provides support to other Lehigh Valley shelters and recovery homes on an as-needed basis.
Additionally, VHP Street Medicine provides inpatient and emergency department consultations to Lehigh Valley Health Network and phone consultations to area hospitals and organizations who are serving the homeless. Inpatient consults serve to initiate a relationship between the patient and the team prior to discharge and facilitate follow-up. Moreover, the team offers management recommendations based on an astute understanding of the patient’s barriers and available resources.
VHP Street Medicine serves all patients regardless of their ability to pay.