NYC Health + Hospitals Helps 1,100+ Patients With Medical Respite

February 20, 2024

NYC Health + Hospitals today announced that more than 1,100 patients participated in the medical respite program.

Which offers patients experiencing homelessness a place to stay for up to 90 days while accessing expanded medical services that are not available in shelter, as part of its Housing for Health initiative. 

Seventy five percent completed their medical respite stay, and nearly 300 patients were discharged from respite into more stable housing, including supportive, affordable and market housing, reuniting with their families, and assisted living placement. 

The majority of the remaining patients were connected to Department of Homeless Services’ shelters and safe havens, while some returned to the hospital or other interim living arrangements. NYC Health + Hospitals’ medical respite provides short-term housing and access to medical care including wound care, oxygen, IV infusion, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.

In addition, patients receive medically tailored meals, coordination of and transportation to medical appointments, and intensive housing case management. Studies show that patients discharged from hospital to respite have  better health outcomes compared to those discharged to shelter directly. 

Furthermore, by offering a place to recuperate with access to medical services, respite beds shorten patients’ length of stay at the hospital, frees up beds for patients who have more intense needs and offers a more appropriate setting for the patient to recover in the community.

NYC Health + Hospitals has 51 medical respite beds: 26 beds operated by the Institute of Community Living and 25 beds operated by Comunilife. Currently, medical respite is fully funded by the health system. NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest provider of medical respite in New York State.

“Housing for Health’s medical respite program offers a safe, stable place for our most vulnerable patients to heal and recover after their hospital stay with us. This fills a critical gap in the continuum of care,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Assistant Vice President for Housing and Real Estate Leora Jontef. “With our partners we work diligently to find a permanent stable home whenever possible. We are proud to be the largest respite provider in the state.”

“We commend NYC Health + Hospitals for their leadership on this innovative model that has effectively abated the cycle of hospitalization and homelessness for some of the highest-need New Yorkers. Our partnership demonstrates our commitment to providing comprehensive healthcare to individuals experiencing homelessness by supporting clients on their healing journey. For nearly four decades, ICL has delivered a whole health approach to help those with the most acute needs get better, and we look forward to continuing to partner with the city and state to support New Yorkers experiencing homelessness,” said Jody Rudin, President and CEO of The Institute for Community Living (ICL).

“Since it opened in 2011, Comunilife’s Medical Respite Program has been the premier provider of services that help break the cycle of shelter to hospital to shelter and an innovator of including housing navigation as a core service,” said Dr. Rosa M. Gil, President and CEO of Comunilife. “These activities are in keeping with Comunilife’s mission providing vulnerable communities with housing and culturally sensitive supportive services and the understanding that having a safe, affordable, and stable place to live is the first step in improving health and life outcomes. By partnering with NYC Health + Hospital’s Housing for Health Medical Respite program, we have been able to expand our medical respite program to provide more comprehensive services allowing a great number of patients to complete their recuperation in a non-hospital setting and transition to permanent housing. We look forward to working with NYC Health + Hospital to allow thousands more access Medical Respite.”

“I had an amazing experience at the medical respite program,” said David, a former patient at the Medical Respite site operated by ICL. “The care I received there changed my life. I want people to know that if I can get better, others can too.”

“My experience at medical respite was life-changing— sometimes a little help can make all the difference,” said Ronald, a former patient at the Medical Respite site operated by ICL. “At respite, I could sleep, shower, and take care of myself; it brought me to a good place. Now, I feel independent, I’m handling my own business and enjoying my new apartment that feels perfect for me.”

In 2022, NYC Health + Hospitals provided care for more than 64,000 patients experiencing homelessness. Adults experiencing homelessness have three times more hospital and emergency department visits than the general population. In addition to improving participants’ lives by finding them housing, Housing for Health is expected to save costs by reducing hospitalizations and avoidable emergency room visits. Housing for Health is an initiative to connect patients experiencing homelessness to stable, affordable housing and a strategy outlined in Mayor Eric Adams’ housing plan, “Housing Our Neighbors: A Blueprint for Housing and Homelessness.”

Housing for Health recognizes that the chronic health issues of unhoused individuals cannot be treated without stable housing. This initiative seeks to improve their health and wellbeing of New Yorkers by focusing on four strategic areas: navigation services, medical respite beds, affordable housing on hospital property, and social service support for patients in permanent housing.

Additional Housing for Health Strategies

Housing Navigation Services: NYC Health + Hospitals counsels and helps eligible patients to access and apply for supportive, affordable, and market-rate housing, as well as rental subsidies. This resource is vital to navigating the New York City complex housing landscape.

Dedicate NYC Health + Hospitals Land for Affordable and Supportive Housing: NYC Health + Hospitals leases land for supportive and affordable housing developments for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers, including seniors and those formerly experiencing homelessness. Housing for Health plans to leverage additional land to create nearly 650 new affordable homes near NYC Health + Hospitals resources to deliver continuity of care for vulnerable New Yorkers.

Fund Social Support Services in Permanent Housing: NYC Health + Hospitals funds on-site social services to help patients stabilize and thrive in their new housing environment. The social service organization provides individualized support to ease the transition from homelessness to permanent housing, assistance with accessing benefits, connections to local food pantries and employment services, and continued care coordination.

NYC Health + Hospitals

NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest municipal health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit

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