AB-369: California considering paying doctors to give street medicine to homeless
The State of California is considering paying doctors to provide Street Medicine to the homeless.
"I think it is morally the right thing to do," says Senator Sydney Kamlager.
The Senator representing the 30th District introduced Assembly Bill 369, known as The Street Medicine Act: Bringing Care to the Street.
Kamlager says, "This bill would reimburse doctors for going out into the streets and meeting patients where they are."
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Brett Feldman a physician assistant and Director of USC’s Street Medicine supports AB-369. He and his team head out regularly to homeless encampments to provide medical assistance to people in need.
He says, "People experiencing homelessness just can't access healthcare, the same way the rest of us do."
Sherry Miles, a homeless woman in Granada Hills, says she has a lot of medical problems but going to the doctor is nearly impossible for her.
"It’s really difficult. For one, you have to leave your stuff and when you leave, you don’t know if it’s going to be here when you get back."
Across the state, there are approximately 28 Street Medicine teams that are operating with the help of private donations. If AB-369 passes, the state would reimburse those medical professionals.
Kamlager says, "Most of the folks who are experiencing homelessness are eligible for Medi-Cal, and 75% of them have not engaged with the system, they haven't gone to their provider, they haven't even asked to sign up for a provider."
AB-369 passed unanimously through the assembly. It is now in Senate. If it passes, it will head to Governor Gavin Newsom for approval.