The Salvation Army of Eastern Michigan

Launches Detroit Medical Respite Program

Innovative program puts at-risk homeless individuals on path to health and independence


DETROIT (June  20, 2017) – The Salvation Army has opened the Detroit Medical Respite within its Acres of Hope campus, located at 3737 Lawton Street. The first medical respite of its kind in Wayne County, the program will help homeless patients overcome challenges in their recovery after hospitalization by providing a safe place to recover. The Detroit Medical Respite will ultimately offer up to 45 beds and provide medical monitoring, medication management, primary care support, transportation to medical appointments, self-care education, case management and onsite support services such as substance abuse treatment, mental health screening, and legal aid.

Today, hospitals have limited options in safely discharging homeless patients to an environment that is equipped to adequately support their discharge care plan.

“Homeless patients are highly vulnerable and predominantly discharged to a shelter where they can remain overnight,” says Captain Jamie Winkler, Executive Director of Eastern Michigan Harbor Light System. “But during the day, they are often required to recuperate on the streets with little support to successfully recover, take their medicine, tend to wound care, or access follow-up care. Homeless individuals are in poorer health and have higher mortality rates than those with stable housing, and unless something happens, the cycle will continue. The Salvation Army is about to change that.”

Detroit Medical Respite is designed to provide support for a variety of medical conditions such as post-surgery recuperation, preventative care, administering and monitoring of medications, and support during chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Medical respite has demonstrated a reduced number of costly hospital readmissions by post-discharge care management and advocacy that leads to successful recovery and independent living. Across the country, studies have shown medical respite decreases 30-day readmissions by as much as 50 percent.

Furthermore, research shows that the average homeless patient stays in the hospital four days longer than those with a permanent residence. The average inpatient care in Michigan is $2,100 per day, resulting in an additional cost of $8,400 per episode of care for homeless individuals. Medical respite provides a cost-saving alternative of nearly half, while extending the length of recuperative support. Based on the national average 30-day length of respite stay, when fully operational, the Detroit Medical Respite program can save avoidable health care costs of more than $2 million a year across Detroit and Wayne County.

Total Health Care, a Michigan-based insurer, is the first health care agency to partner with The Salvation Army to cover costs of their members who will be cared for by Detroit Medical Respite.

"From a physician's point of view, the medical respite concept is extremely valuable to ensure continuity of care upon discharge from the hospital,” says Dr. Harold Arrington, Associate Medical Director of Total Health Care. “For patients who are vulnerable to readmission or excessive ER use due to behavioral health issues or homelessness, The Salvation Army Respite Care program is the ideal solution. From a health plan perspective, this is the missing link to help control skyrocketing costs and deliver appropriate care in an appropriate setting.  The Salvation Army is a great partner that can help with the end goal of transitioning our members from homelessness to a safe and stable environment so their quality of life improves."

Matt Lori, Senior Deputy Director Policy, Planning and Legislative Services at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, says the program is a good example of integrating physical health care with behavioral health care. “Positive outcomes are reached more readily because the care is more comprehensive,” Lori says. “Individuals are guided to a more focused path to recovery.”

Detroit Medical Respite is made possible through a $96,394 grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund and a $35,000 innovation grant from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

This program is expected to be a model for other Michigan communities.  Detroit Medical Respite officials are currently meeting with potential local hospital and health maintenance organization (HMO) partners that may be interested in providing patient referrals for the program.

For more about The Salvation Army Detroit Medical Respite program, visit or call 313-556-5555.


About The Salvation Army

Founded by William and Catherine Booth in London, England in 1865, The Salvation Army is a faith-based, non-profit organization dedicated to serving people in need without discrimination. At work in Michigan since 1887, The Salvation Army operates 180 facilities throughout the state. Annually, these facilities provide more than 3.5 million meals and more than 838,000 nights of shelter for the homeless. The Salvation Army uses $.87 of every dollar raised to provide direct services to people in need each and every day of the year. For more information about The Salvation Army, please call 877-SAL-MICH, or visit us at


About Total Health Care

Total Health Care, Inc. is the oldest health maintenance organization (HMO) in Michigan and has included Medicaid beneficiaries among its members continually since 1976. Founded and incorporated as a non-profit tax-exempt corporation in 1973, the organization was initially a part of the federally subsidized Model Neighborhood Program of former President Lyndon B. Johnson, having a strong community orientation located strategically within the City of Detroit. Total Health Care functioned as a staff model HMO serving the City of Detroit and its enclaves of Highland Park and Hamtramck while continuing direct operating grants from the Community Development Block Grant Program. Following reductions in federal funding of the neighborhood programs, Total Health Care reorganized and received its state license and Certificate of Authority as an HMO in 1976. Today Total Health Care serves over 54,000 Medicaid and 35,000 commercial and Health Insurance Marketplace members.  

About the Michigan Health Endowment Fund

The Michigan Health Endowment Fund works to improve the health and wellness of

Michigan residents and reduce the cost of healthcare, with a special focus on children and seniors. More information about the Health Fund can be found at