Province supports program that keeps disadvantaged out of emergency rooms

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KAMLOOPS - The province is kicking in $47,000 towards a program that helps homeless patients find community housing and care once they've been released from hospital.

The money supports a partnership between Royal Inland Hospital program and the ASK Wellness Society to help those who fall between the cracks.

"ASK Wellness Society are champions in the Kamloops community and work tirelessly to connect high risk individuals to housing and other valuable services," Minister of Health and MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson Terry Lake said Friday morning at the ASK Wellness Amazing Race kick-off. "The partnership between ASK Wellness and Royal Inland Hospital is a wonderful example of how team based care can enhance patient care and make the health system more cost efficient."

The money will go toward hiring a social worker for this one year pilot project, who will work with hospital staff to connect homeless patients managing chronic conditions to services and housing through ASK Wellness. It's hoped patients at risk can better manage their condition and will not need to return to the emergency room for additional costly visits.

ASK Wellness operates locally in Kamloops helping people in need by improving awarnessm, education, advocacy and housing. They also support people coping with chronic conditions such as hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS. They operate the Crossroads Inn and Henry Leland House in Kamloops, providing affordable housing to support those with a history of homelessness and other barriers to accessing health care.

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