Publications / A Game Changer for Street Medicine: Key Takeaways from New Medi-Cal Guidelines

A Game Changer for Street Medicine: Key Takeaways from New Medi-Cal Guidelines

Established in the early 1990s, street medicine is a critical, underutilized model for delivering health care to unsheltered people in their own environment. In November 2022, California’s Department of Health Care Services shared guidance that could make it easier for communities to establish, maintain, and fully leverage street medicine programs.

With the largest concentration of unsheltered people in the nation, this instruction  has the potential to be a “game changer” for the field of street medicine in California. This issue brief lays out the major implications of this new guidance, along with key issues that remain, and is designed for clinical professionals and others who operate street medicine programs or are interested in creating new programs. Until homelessness in California is rare and brief, street medicine will  be an important part of the state’s health care safety net.

Take a Virtual Site Visit of Street Medicine in Redding, CA


Street Medicine in Action
Watch a virtual site visit of a street medicine team operating in Redding, California (above). The California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) will be presenting similar videos of street medicine teams in Oakland, Bakersfield, and Los Angeles in 2023.

Coming Soon: The State of Street Medicine in California
In early 2023, CHCF plans to release a landscape report by the Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California Street Medicine Institute. The report, the first to examine the current state of street medicine in California, answers salient questions about street medicine and provides recommendations for improving the availability of these programs in the state.