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Lexington launches new medical care program to help local homeless population


Lexington citizens who are homeless and in need of short-term recuperative medical care have a new place to find help.

The Medical Respite Program is a partnership between the city and Bluegrass Care Navigators (formerly Hospice of the Bluegrass) through its Bluegrass Care Transitions program. Local hospitals and other medical providers will identify patients who are eligible for the program, which begins July 1.

“This is a win-win,” Mayor Jim Gray said. “This program will improve the lives of participants, and save taxpayer dollars by reducing high costs associated with emergency care.”

“Bluegrass Care Navigators is always looking for ways to meet the needs of our community and especially medically vulnerable individuals,” said Liz Fowler, president and CEO. “We are proud to partner with the city, medical community, and other committed organizations to offer this innovative Medical Respite Program, which will have an impact on the individuals and beyond.”

“The program will help individuals and families reach goals of stable housing, recovery, and increased quality of life in the community,” said Polly Ruddick, director of the Lexington Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention. “By supporting this program, we expect to stabilize some of the most critical homeless individuals in our community and help them secure housing and other necessary supports to keep them healthy and off the streets.”

Several local organizations have joined the city and Bluegrass Care Navigators to provide research and develop solutions to help make the Medical Respite Program effective in Fayette County. These groups include:

• University of Kentucky Healthcare
• KentuckyOne Health
• The Salvation Army
• The Catholic Action Center
• HealthFirst Bluegrass
• The Hope Center
• Private citizens/volunteers

Lexington’s Medical Respite Program will be the second in the state. Louisville’s Phoenix Family Health Center operates the program there.

Lexington’s Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention is providing startup funding to support the Medical Respite Program in its first year. Bluegrass Care Navigators will house operations for the program, and be responsible for future funding.

For more information on Lexington’s efforts to reduce and prevent homelessness, visit lexingtonky.gov. For more information about Bluegrass Care Navigators, visit bgcarenav.org.

From City of Lexington


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