Backed by a partnership with local clinic JD Health and Wellness, Union Gospel Mission of Salem has been equipped to care for Salem’s unsheltered neighbors in new ways after the recent launch of their telehealth services.
Guests at the Men’s Mission can now virtually visit with medical professionals to address their physical and behavioral health needs.
“This is just a piece of our case management, of our vision, that we’ve been missing. Before, we were only able to make a medical referral,” says UGM Guest Services Manager Moises Ramos. “Now we are equipped to make a full referral with accurate diagnoses and other medical information.”
UGM guests privately meet with JD Health and Wellness’ primary care physicians under the supervision of the Mission’s case managers who also work with guests, helping them acquire Oregon Health Plan coverage.
These new services remove transportation barriers, and diseases and conditions caught early will reduce the number of avoidable hospital readmissions and the number of emergency calls that originate from the Mission, saving the community thousands of dollars.
On average, 80% of guests who walk through UGM’s doors are battling mental illness, making the integration of behavioral health critical.
“Our clinicians have been trained to utilize universal screening tools, and this is done for each patient who arrives at the Mission as part of their initial visit,” says Eric Davis, director of behavioral health at JD Health and Wellness.
“Individuals are then interviewed with a structured clinical interview in an effort to gain a better understanding of the depth and breadth of their behavioral health concerns.”
Aside from the partnership with JD Health and Wellness, the Mission’s own Guest Services team includes a mental health counselor who is also able to assess and diagnose, a position held at both at the Men’s Mission and the women and children’s shelter, Simonka Place.
Once individuals are assessed, a treatment plan is created while they lodge at UGM.
“From there they can seek employment, pursue normalcy,” says Ramos.
The organization’s incoming 50,000 sq. ft. Men’s Mission brings further opportunities for telehealth growth, including a new triage space designated specifically for health services.
With this new space also comes opportunities for community partnership expansion and additional benevolent medical professionals who seek to use their skill for goodwill. All of which positions UGM to better serve both the community and our unsheltered neighbors.
ABOUT UNION GOSPEL MISSION OF SALEM (UGM): Founded in 1953, Union Gospel Mission of Salem (UGM) operates four facilities, including a women and children’s shelter in Keizer, Oregon. Altogether, they serve more than 570 meals a day, provide 265 beds each night, and change the face of homelessness through programs specializing in life skills, addiction recovery, employment, and education. Learn more at ugmsalem.org.
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