Comparing homeless persons' care experiences in tailored versus nontailored primary care programs

Academic Article


  • Objectives. We compared homeless patients' experiences of care in health care organizations that differed in their degree of primary care design service tailoring. Methods. We surveyed homeless-experienced patients (either recently or currently homeless) at 3 Veterans Affairs (VA) mainstream primary care settings in Pennsylvania and Alabama, a homeless-tailored VA clinic in California, and a highly tailored non-VA Health Care for the Homeless Program in Massachusetts (January 2011-March 2012). We developed a survey, the "Primary Care Quality- Homeless Survey," to reflect the concerns and aspirations of homeless patients. Results. Mean scores at the tailored non-VA site were superior to those from the 3 mainstream VA sites (P < .001). Adjusting for patient characteristics, these differences remained significant for subscales assessing the patient-clinician relationship (P < .001) and perceptions of cooperation among providers (P = .004). There were 1.5- to 3-fold increased odds of an unfavorable experience in the domains of the patient-clinician relationship, cooperation, and access or coordination for the mainstream VA sites compared with the tailored non-VA site; the tailored VA site attained intermediate results. Conclusions. Tailored primary care service design was associated with a superior service experience for patients who experienced homelessness.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kertesz SG; Holt CL; Steward JL; Jones RN; Roth DL; Stringfellow E; Gordon AJ; Kim TW; Austin EL; Henry SR
  • Volume

  • 103
  • Issue

  • SUPPL. 2