Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) at MGH

BHCHP at MGH assures access to the highest quality of care for homeless men, women, and children in metropolitan Boston. Multidisciplinary teams at BHCHP deliver direct care services in more than 78 sites, including a site located within MGH.

  • For more information call (617) 726-2707.

A trusting relationship between patient and doctor/clinician is the cornerstone of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program’s (BHCHP) model of care. BHCHP provides direct care that is fully integrated within Boston’s mainstream health care system, and addresses the unique health-related needs of homeless people resulting from conditions like exposure to extreme weather, trauma, violence, chronic illnesses, persistent mental illness, and substance abuse. 

BHCHP at MGH offers primary care each weekday in the Medical Walk-in Unit, and coordinates and assists with care and discharge planning for homeless patients throughout MGH. The Barbara McInnis House provides recuperative and rehabilitative care to homeless persons who are too ill or injured to withstand the rigors of life on the streets and in homeless shelters. This innovative model fills a widening gap in the health care system for those without the safety and support of a home and family.

BHCHP’s Street Team, based out of MGH, provides direct care in a variety of unconventional settings: under bridges, down back alleys, in abandoned cars, on park benches and street corners, and in community meals programs, overnight drop-in centers, emergency departments, detoxification units, and nursing homes. These dedicated professionals are a consistent presence on the streets, providing a continuum of care that brings people from the street corner, to the intensive care unit, to respite care, and ideally, to secure housing.

In addition, BHCHP actively prepares future physicians in the art and skill of caring for homeless persons at MGH. Primary care residents join BHCHP staff for community and street clinics during their ambulatory rotations, and spend two or four weeks with BHCHP in an elective rotation, working directly with various clinics and teams, learning firsthand about the special health care needs of homeless persons.


2014 Outcomes

  • There were 1,071 primary care and psychiatry encounters at the MGH site during the Thursday clinic. An additional 2,371 nursing and case management encounters were recorded at the Thursday clinic.
  • 148 housed Street Team patients accounted for 808 encounters at the MGH MWIU.
  • Medical and behavioral health clinicians and case managers made 1079 home visits to 187 housed patients.
  • 38% of the patients seen in home visits were also admitted to the Barbara McInnis House medical respite facility for clinical stabilization and housing support.
  • BHCHP nursing liaisons made 696 visits to homeless and formerly homeless inpatients at MGH and Brigham and Women’s Hospital for screening for admission to the Barbara McInnis House after hospital discharge.
  • 256 patients received integrated medical and behavioral care as part of a collaborative grant through MGH and the Department of Mental Health.
  • Additionally, 96 patients were seen in 310 visits at the West End Shelter in the Erich Lindemann Mental Health Center by a BHCHP physician and RN, working closely with 2nd year psychiatry residents in part of the MGH Community Psychiatry rotation. These residents also joined the Street Team each Friday for street rounds.

Boston Health Care for the Homeless at Massachusetts General Hospital

Clinicians from the Massachusetts General Hospital Division of General Internal Medicine help provide high-quality care to homeless men, women and children in the area through the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP). The program coordinates and provides interdisciplinary care as well as discharge planning to homeless patients, while partner organizations provide recuperative and rehabilitative care to those who are too ill or injured to withstand the rigors of life on the streets and in homeless shelters. This innovative model fills a widening gap in the health care system for individuals in our community who lack the safety and support of a home and family. Meet some patients who have overcome complex medical and psychosocial challenges with the help of this innovative program.

Boston Healthcare for the Homeless

780 Albany St.
Boston, MA 02118

Phone: 857 654-1000