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Highlights from Health and Housing 2019

This year's Health and Housing summit was a huge success, thanks to our wonderful speakers. With topics ranging from innovative solutions to the housing crisis, to how food can act as medicine, we had tremendous insight to the great work being done in our community

When she first joined the Health Trust, Michele Lew was surprised that so much work was being put into housing. After working there for a few weeks, she realized how interconnected the issues of health and housing were, "If we provide people with housing case management and supportive services, they can manage their health." As a direct service provider, the Health Trust has been working primarily with housing HIV/AIDS patients. Due to the work they have been doing, 85-90% of these clients are doing well and managing their disease, showing how successful these programs can be for other patients. Michelle stated that based on the success of those programs, the Health Trust is recommitting to a focus on health and housing. The Health Trust has about $2 Million in grants centered around health and housing solutions in the Silicon Valley, looking for the best ways to improve the health of the community.

Paul Lorenz is very passionate about community hospitals and talked about what Valley Medical Center is doing to support the St. Louise and O'Connor hospitals in Santa Clara County. Paul shared that "it is up to us to make sure, as a public system, that we work together with the community to sustain services so we can continue to have access for our communities." Both of these hospitals are critical access points, with the O'Connor hospital receiving 50,000 ER visits and the St. Louise hospital seeing 30,000 ER visits each year. By the end of February, the Valley Medical Center hopes to keep every employee of these hospitals in their job, to support their physicians and providers so they can continue to provide healthcare services, and to bolster their tech infrastructure so they can continue to succeed.

Following the Cannabis panel, it was only fitting to talk about food. Paul Hepfer introduced the audience to the idea of Medically Tailored Home-Delivered Meals. These are "meals designated by registered dietitians as an appropriate part of a treatment plan for an individual with a defined health condition" These are extremely beneficial because fresh food is delivered straight to patients, which makes it much easier for them to understand their restrictions and what food would be beneficial to them. Programs that implement these Medically Tailored Meals are already seeing great results. Research by Community Servings in Massachusetts shows a 50% reduction in hospital rates and a $220 a month savings in healthcare costs. Patients in these programs also see an 50% higher rate in medication adherence, showing that they really are responding positively to the 'medicine.'

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