Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

No health card means no family doctor for many homeless people in Ontario

Date:
May 24, 2011
Source:
St. Michael's Hospital
Summary:
For every year a person is homeless, the odds of them having a family doctor drop by 9 percent, according to a new report.

For every year a person is homeless, the odds of them having a family doctor drop by 9 per cent, according to a report by St. Michael's Hospital and Street Health.

One of the key barriers to having a family doctor is the lack of a health card, often because it has been lost or stolen, the report found.

The report, published May 24 in the journal Open Medicine, is an analysis of data collected for The Street Health Report 2007, a survey of the health status and needs of homeless people in downtown Toronto. That report found that only 43 per cent of homeless people have a family doctor, compared to 88 per cent for the overall Toronto population.

The authors included Stephen Hwang, a physician-researcher at the Centre for Research on Inner City Health at St. Michael's, and Laura Cowan, executive-director of the Street Health Community Nursing Foundation.

"We know that access to primary care through a family physician is important for everyone's health," said Dr. Hwang. "It's even more important for people who are homeless and ill and who may end up using emergency rooms and hospitals if they don't receive good primary care."

The analysis found homeless people were more likely to have a family doctor if they were gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender; possessed a health card; or had a chronic medical condition such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS or high blood pressure.

It found that 34 per cent of homeless people did not have a health card, which serves as proof of health insurance in Ontario. Of those, almost half (48 per cent) said they had lost their cards and 18 per cent said the cards had been stolen.

"Our findings point to the ongoing need to help secure and maintain health cards for homeless people, for example by offering programs at homeless service agencies to assist with the replacement and storage of health cards and other forms of identification such as birth certificates and driver's licenses," the report said,

"Additional mechanisms to improve access to primary care in this population include increasing the provision of drop-in clinics and community health centres that use alternative physicians billing systems and do not require patients to present their health card."

Street Health was the first agency in Canada, and remains the only one in Toronto, to offer secure document storage for about 550 homeless people. Its ID Safe program both stores documents such as health cards, passports and driver's licenses in a fireproof filing cabinet and provides a mailing address and other assistance for homeless people trying to replace lost or stolen documents.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by St. Michael's Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Erika Khandor, Kate Mason, Catharine Chambers, Kate Rossiter, Laura Cowan, Stephen W Hwang. Access to primary health care among homeless adults in Toronto, Canada: results from the Street Health survey. Open Medicine, Vol 5, No 2 (2011) [link]

Cite This Page:

St. Michael's Hospital. "No health card means no family doctor for many homeless people in Ontario." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110524115146.htm>.
St. Michael's Hospital. (2011, May 24). No health card means no family doctor for many homeless people in Ontario. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110524115146.htm
St. Michael's Hospital. "No health card means no family doctor for many homeless people in Ontario." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110524115146.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins