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Implementation and impacts of California Senate Bill 1152 on homeless discharge protocols

Aridomi H, Cartier Y, Taira B, Kim H, Yadav K, Gottlieb L

Introduction: In recent decades, there has been a growing focus on addressing social needs in healthcare settings. California has been at the forefront of making state-level investments to improve care for patients with complex social and medical needs, including patients experiencing homelessness (PEH). Examples include Medicaid 1115 waivers such as the Whole Person Care pilot program and California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM). To date, California is also the only state to have passed a legislative mandate to address concerns related to the hospital discharge of PEH who lack sufficient resources to support self-care. To this end, California enacted Senate Bill 1152 (SB 1152), a unique legislative mandate that requires hospitals to standardize comprehensive discharge processes for PEH by providing (and documenting the provision of) social and preventive services. Understanding the implementation and impact of this law will help inform California and other states considering legislative investments in healthcare activities to improve care for PEH.

Methods: To understand health system stakeholders’ perceived impact of SB 1152 on hospital discharge processes and key barriers and facilitators to SB 1152’s implementation, we conducted 32 semi-structured interviews with key informants across 16 general acute care hospitals in Humboldt and Los Angeles counties. Study data were coded and analyzed using thematic analysis informed by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research.

Results: Participants perceived several positive impacts of SB 1152, including streamlined services, increased accountability, and more staff awareness about homelessness. In parallel, participants also underscored concerns about the law’s limited scope and highlighted multiple implementation challenges, including lack of clarity about accountability measures, scarcity of implementation supports, and gaps in community resources.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that SB 1152 was an important step toward the goal of more universal safe discharge of PEH. However, there are also several addressable concerns. Recommendations to improve future legislation include adding targeted funding for social care staff and improving implementation training. Participants’ broader concerns about the parallel need to increase community resources are more challenging to address in the immediate term, but such changes will also be necessary to improve the overall health outcomes of PEH.

Aridomi H, Cartier Y, Taira B, Kim H, Yadav K, Gottlieb L. Implementation and impacts of California Senate Bill 1152 on homeless discharge protocols. WestJEM. 2023. DOI:10.5811/westjem.60853

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Publication year
Resource type
Peer Reviewed Research
Provider Experience of Care
Health Care Professionals
Social Determinant of Health
Housing Stability
Study design
Other Study Design