But it is this "simple" mission that for many homeless people is an invaluable service that ensures that not only do they and their children have access to health care but that they are also connected to resources and services that they might not have living in a shelter.
The 25-year old agency serves over 11,000 people a year and it is two stimulus grants that are helping them continue in their mission and help them do it better.
Recovery Act Impact: Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program
"Stimulus had a huge impact," said Joslyn Allen, Director of Government Grants and Special Projects for BHCHP. "We were facing increased demand and we didn't have to limit what we could provide."
This is significant as the nurses are often a family's main resource. According to Paladino, they are usually accompanied by a case manager and are "the first eyes and ears to come across something." They'll manage the health problem on the spot or advise a patient to go to the Emergency Room. They'll be the bridge between the family and their primary care provider. They'll provide vaccines and ensure that the families have access to food, clothing and diapers. "They make sure they're being cared for," said Paladino. "They make sure that just because they're homeless they're still receiving health care or anything that they would need."
BHCHP's second stimulus grant -- $705K for Capital Improvement Programs -
The agency was able to purchase clinical equipment - like new exam tables and vital signs machines - so it could do new procedures, increase its clinical capacity and elevate its level of care. It was also able to implement IT improvements such as ensuring that all providers have access to the electronic medical records, increasing its virtual server space, the acquisition of new software and acquiring a reporting platform so providers can monitor clinical quality.
The building's security features were enhanced thanks to the grant and emergency preparedness materials were acquired for use in public health and weather emergency situations. "We know the importance of all these things," said Allen. "Stimulus enabled us to keep up with the demand."