In a perfect world, when a homeless person is discharged from the hospital and still too fragile for a homeless shelter, he or she could go to a skilled nursing facility (SNF). There, they could get help with bandages and medication. They could recuperate fully before returning to the ardors of street life.
Sound logical? Unfortunately, in South Santa Barbara County, SNFs are rarely an option for the homeless. And it has everything to do with money.
All the SNFs in South Santa Barbara County require residents to have health insurance or at the very least Medi-Cal. Sometimes even Medi-Cal isn’t enough for a SNF to accept a departing hospital patient. If the patient is particularly medically needy, for example, or young. On top of that, every SNF resident needs to have his or her own primary care physician looking in now and again, overseeing care. Yet few primary care doctors in Santa Barbara will accept the paltry reimbursement Medi-Cal pays for a nursing home visit. It’s not worth their while. To read more, see homelessinsb.org