PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A new study says Rhode Island spends nearly $60 million a year providing Medicaid services to the homeless and could save significant amounts of money by offering more supportive housing programs.

Providence College Professor Eric Hirsch says his research shows that too many homeless people with chronic health conditions are forced to turn to emergency rooms, which are far more expensive than regular or preventative health care. He says the state could save more than $1 million every year just by finding supportive housing for the 67 homeless people who account for the highest Medicaid costs.

Hirsch reported his findings Thursday to the state’s Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee says additional housing programs for the homeless will not only save money but help society’s most vulnerable.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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