Reflections: A perspective on homeless patients in the emergency department

Ann Emerg Med

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, enacted in 1986, required Medicare-participating hospitals with emergency services to medically screen and stabilize all patients regardless of their ability to pay. The emergency department (ED) subsequently emerged as society’s safety net, uniquely situated on the front lines of patient care to assess and treat the biomedical manifestations of harmful social systems and structures. We, along with many others joining the field of emergency medicine, recognize that vulnerable patient populations often rely on the ED for health care and are excited for the potential to develop interventions that address the social determinants of health adversely affecting ED patients.

This article is part of a special supplement: Inventing Social Emergency Medicine: A Consensus Conference to Establish the Intellectual Underpinnings of Social Emergency Medicine.

Rehman T, Wolff CS. Reflections: A perspective on homeless patients in the emergency department. Ann Emerg Med. 2019;74(5):S45-S46. DOI:

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