Ask and Code: Documenting Homelessness Throughout the Health Care System

Policy Brief
Oct 1, 2016
National Health Care for the Homeless Council
Emerging health care financing models require much more sophisticated actuarial calculations than previous payment arrangements, often taking into account risk factors such as homelessness. Homelessness also has direct implications for clinical treatment decisions and integrated care models and should be noted in individual patient records. This policy brief provides a rationale for using the ICD-10-CM code for homelessness, outlines the challenges to maximizing this code, and offers strategies to consider to ensure health care providers ask about homelessness and record patients’ housing status. This data is highly relevant to clinicians and administrators at health centers, hospitals, state Medicaid systems, Medicaid managed care organizations, and public health departments.
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