Connecting for Better Health Workshop: Data Sharing to Support People Experiencing Homelessness

 On November 7, the Connecting for Better Health Coalition and Insure the Uninsured Project (ITUP) hosted a workshop bringing together healthcare and social service experts from Los Angeles County to discuss data sharing to support people experiencing homelessness. 

California’s new Data Exchange Framework (DxF), established in 2022 under Assembly Bill 133, requires the exchange of information between organizations and systems, and necessitates collaboration between health and non-health agencies, such as community-based organizations (CBOs) that provide homelessness services. As California simultaneously launches CalAIM to better address the social determinants of health and center whole-person care, the exchange of information between organizations will be at the core of state efforts to advance health equity. 

 Glen Hilton and Claudia Garcia of People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) and Michelle Charime and Rosario Trejo of the Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) joined the workshop to provide an overview of their roles as Los Angeles County homelessness service providers who conduct outreach and case management to support individuals in LA experiencing homelessness. Each organization spoke to their data sharing experiences and highlighted the challenges faced by non-healthcare agencies in accessing necessary data to support the populations they serve. 

Data Sharing Challenges 

  1. Leaders from PATH and the DWC spoke to the lack of access to necessary information about the individuals they serve. To avoid duplication and to provide appropriate, informed care PATH and DWC need access to an individual’s health care coverage status, certain clinical information, and records of prior social services received. For example, PATH highlighted the difficulties with not being notified of Medi-Cal coverage changes, as staff will invest time and resources into CalAIM-related Enhanced Care Management (ECM) or Community Support (CS) services for a client and then learn those services are no longer covered for the individual. They also spoke about issues accessing clinical data that can be useful for facilitating smooth transitions of care from inpatient settings to housing services. 

    “We tend to hear about hospitalizations once a person is no longer at the hospital. But what would it look like for the health care provider to be able to say ‘hey, you know, this person is connected to PATH, they’re connected to both ECM and community supports…they have a care team.’” -Claudia Garcia, PATH 
  2. The multiple systems and portals across the county lead to the duplication of data entry. Homeless service providers in Los Angeles County enter data in many different systems–HMIS, CHAMP, Clarity, and other internal systems–which contributes to fragmentation and inefficiencies. These systems usually do not communicate with each other.