COVID-19 Medical Respite Program to Support Safe Patient Discharges

October 19, 2020

GNYHA would like to make you aware of a resource to support the safe discharge of recovering COVID-19 patients.

In April, Comunilife, a leading supportive and affordable housing provider operating more than 2,200 units in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan, partnered with two large downstate health systems to open an 80-bed medical respite program for hospitalized COVID-19 patients who were well enough for discharge but did not have a suitable housing situation in which to complete their recuperation. Most lived in New York City shelters and supportive housing residences. Only 6% of the respite patients were readmitted to the hospital. The other 94% finished their recuperation, tested negative, and returned home. Comunilife is now in a position to expand this program. Hospitals and health systems interested in collaborating with Comunilife can enter into a contract for COVID-19 medical respite beds to be used as needed. 

Comunilife Medical Respite Program

Comunilife opened New York City’s first medical respite beds in 2011. Medical Respite provides short-term supportive housing and care coordination services to multiply challenged patients who are eligible to be discharged from the hospital but have no viable home in which to complete their recuperation. Comunilife currently has contracts with hospitals and managed care companies for a total of 80 beds in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan. The Respite Program offers bedside assessments; comprehensive care coordination; entitlement and documentation support; medication management; three meals per day; assistance with transportation to medical and other appointments; ongoing medical coordination with hospitals/community-based nursing and medical facilities; assistance with housing search and transition to long-term housing; family reunification interventions as needed; and staff follow-up with discharged clients to ensure that they remain stably housed and out of the hospital.

A unique feature of Comunilife’s program is a housing placement component that reduces the number of patients returned to the shelter system and breaks the cycle of shelter to hospital to shelter.

For more information on contracting opportunities with Comunilife’s COVID-19 Program or regular Medical Respite program, please contact Beverly Raudales, MD, Senior Vice President for Programs.  More information about Comunilife and its programs is available here.