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Medicaid will now reimburse Street Medicine efforts in Pa. bringing health care to unhoused people

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

On today’s episode of The Confluence:

Lawmakers have made multiple efforts to update the state’s probation laws over the last five years, and this year, another bill has been passed by the Senate. Danielle Ohl, investigative reporter with Spotlight PA, reports the effort attempts to stem the cycle of monitoring and incarceration, but some of its provisions have led civil rights organizations to oppose the bill. (0:00 - 7:01)

For those experiencing housing insecurity, accessing healthcare can be impossible, even though these people might be the ones in need of medical care the most. That’s where street medicine comes in. Medicaid will reimburse Pennsylvania providers who offer these services. One such program is Pittsburgh Mercy’s Operation Safety Net.

Dr. Jim Withers, founder and medical director of Pittsburgh Mercy’s Operation Safety Net and founder of the Street Medicine Institute, says a big part of the job is not just treating people’s health, but building trust. Tony Beltran, president and CEO of Pittsburgh Mercy, says the reimbursement is the first step to helping chip away at the cost of offering Street Medicine, which is a way of helping some unhoused people seek more regular care. (7:05 - 17:15)

Every time air pollution spikes in the Mon Valley, the Allegheny County Health Department issues an alert, and industrial facilities are told to limit their activities. Residents, especially vulnerable ones, are told to limit time outdoors. But what about those living along the Mon River who reside just outside the valley, and what defines the Mon Valley anyway? 90.5 WESA’s Jillian Forstadt looked into it for our Good Question series. (17:20 - 22:30)

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in Monday to Friday at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here for wherever you get your podcasts.

Addison is a Junior at Point Park University, majoring in Broadcast Reporting. She is the News Director for Point Park's campus station, U-View Television and reports on the show Daybreak. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with her cat, Soup.
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