November 13, 2017

Joseph’s Home builds medical respite capacity with hiring of new medical director

With a gift from the Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Foundation, Joseph’s Home was able to recently hire a new medical director, which was a big step forward in building its medical respite capacity to better serve homeless men with acute medical needs who need a place to heal and achieve independence.

Harikrishna C. Ponnam, M.D., from St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, began in this new part-time role October 1. Dr. Ponnam is providing clinical oversight and expertise as it pertains to the admission, care and discharge of Joseph’s Home residents, as well as helping create significant program efficiencies.

The foundation’s gift will also enable Joseph’s Home to hire a part-time behavioral health director, who will help identify and address mental health and substance abuse issues, and help connect residents with ongoing intensive care, plus help train and oversee staff around trauma-informed care.

“Funding and filling those two positions were the largest two remaining objectives we had identified to fully transition into a medical respite program,” said Joseph’s Home Executive Director Christine Horne. “Having both has the potential to revolutionize the way our program operates and propel our services into the next level of integrated care.”

Joseph’s Home recently adopted the evidence-based medical respite model to ensure homeless men can get needed surgery and the care coordination necessary to access medical and supportive services as they move to appropriate housing faster than before. Joseph’s Home defines medical respite as short-term residential care that allows homeless individuals who need to recover from surgery or illness to rest in a safe environment while accessing care and other supportive services.

Joseph’s Home is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

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