Health Care Services


Health Care Services

Health care services are those regular and emergency dental, medical care, mental health, and substance abuse services which private doctors, dentists, and other trained medical staff at a hospital; outpatient clinic; public, private or community health facility; home-care medical programs; or an emergency treatment facility (e.g., trauma unit, special cardiac pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) unit) provide.

Consider whether a proposed project provides adequate:

  • Access to hospitals, emergency facilities, clinics, and physician services
  • Access to mental health and substance abuse service providers
  • Health services to accommodate the special needs of certain populations (i.e., families, elderly, and persons with disabilities)
  • Capacity for existing health care services to accommodate an increase in use

Important Considerations

  1. Will a potential population rise increase the need for area health care services beyond current capacities?
  2. Are non-emergency health care services, including mental health and substance abuse services, located within reasonable proximity to the proposed project (i.e., less than a half-hour’s drive or commute away)? In dense urban areas, an even shorter time may be necessary.
  3. Are emergency health services (such as those that police, fire, and ambulances provide) available within approximately three to five minutes?
  4. Is the number of doctors, dentists, nurses, and other trained medical staff in realistic proportion to any increase in residents/users? If not, are provisions planned for additional skilled staff?
  5. Are the number of hospital beds and other medical facilities adequate in proportion to the increase in residents/users?
  6. Will project residents/users require special medical services or skills such as geriatric clinics?

Analysis Techniques

Step 1

By examining relevant data regarding the demographic characteristics of the new residents/users (e.g., age, ability, income, employment status, insured/uninsured rates, language preference, etc.), determine the specific types of needed medical services. Through discussion with local health agencies, determine if existing services are adequate to meet the new and increased demand.

Step 2

Determine the location of existing health care services, including emergency, mental health, and substance abuse services, and their distances to the proposed project site. Find out whether public transportation from the project site to the services is available and how long the commute is.

Step 3

Determine what type of effect the project will have. If the facilities are not within the average commute for such services for the new residents/users or if the additional residents/users will overburden existing facilities, then the proposed project will have an adverse effect.

Mitigation Measures

Consider the following mitigation measures, depending on the specific problems and local resources:

  • Special shuttle and emergency transportation to medical services
  • Incorporation of a small clinic or emergency medical service area into a housing development, keyed to the special needs of the resident population
  • Cooperation between HUD, grantees, and medical service providers to improve the quality or availability of health services in the area

Resources to Reference/Experts to Contact

  • Area Health Systems Agencies—Can provide the area-wide Health System Plan, which is an inventory of institutional health services and projected demand within the area
  • Local Public Health Departments—Can provide information on local demand for, and quality of, health care
  • National Council on Aging—Can provide information on the size and location of the local elderly population
  • Local Red Cross—Can provide information on the medical needs of the area