There's a link between the recent reports about Lexington's new initiative to address homelessness and the long waits at the University of Kentucky Medical Center's emergency room.
That link should become stronger.
To understand why, it's important first to know that homeless people are more likely to be what's called super utilizers, people who go to ERs often, sometimes very often, for complaints that don't require the intense and expensive emergency services.
It also diverts resources from patients with true emergencies and, of course, contributes to wait times.
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Charlie Lanter, director of the city's office of homeless prevention and intervention, recently laid out plans for a pilot Housing First project for 20 homeless people by November.
Housing First is a model program that has been successful in other cities, including Louisville, to provide chronically homeless people with permanent housing, providing them with wrap-around services to address physical and mental health issues or addictions.
Lanter's using the seed money the city has invested to design the pilot program, build partnerships and look for funding.
UK can, and should, be a major player in this effort.
Not only is it the right thing to do for its home community but it could also help ease some of the congestion in the ER.
What other communities have found is that this approach saves money because it is less costly than continuing to foot the bill for repeat visits to ERs, jail or mental-health facilities.
"It's expensive on the front end but a bargain on the back end," Lanter said.
The University of Louisville hospital has been an active participant in identifying super utilizers and helping find and fund alternatives for them.
A U of L official said that in the first 14 months the program was estimated to have saved that hospital more than $700,000 in fewer emergency room visits.
That could, and should, happen here.