Low-income people with affordable housing are healthier than those who lack affordable housing.

Or so concludes a new report from the Center for Outcomes Research and Education.

According to the organization, its study is

…one of the first studies to directly assess the impact on health care costs when low-income individuals move into affordable housing. Medicaid claims data were used to measure changes in health care costs and use, and survey data were used to examine health care access and quality. The study included 145 housing properties of three different types: family housing (FAM), permanent supportive housing (PSH), and housing for seniors and people with disabilities (SPD). The impact of integrated services within housing was also considered.

iStock_000011140043XSmallThis research produced four key findings:

  • Costs to health care systems were lower after people moved into affordable housing
  • Primary care visits rose after move-in and emergency room visits declined
  • Residents reported that access to care and quality of care improved after moving into housing
  • Integrated health services were a key driver of health care outcomes

The study also offered recommendations, including:

  • States, localities and managed care organizations should invest resources such as Medicaid in housing solutions that research shows can improve health outcomes and reduce health expenditures for vulnerable individuals.
  • Health services must be integral to affordable housing developments: States, policymakers and payers should explore devoting Medicaid resources to health-related services and resources such as resident services coordinators.

NAUH has long cited inadequate housing as one of the many challenges faces by the low-income patients private safety-net hospitals serve.

To learn more about how the study was performed, what it found, and the implications of those findings, go here to read Health in Housing: Exploring the Intersection between Housing and Health Care.