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Sunday, Feb. 25
The Indiana Daily Student


FAQs about health care for people experiencing homelessness


People experiencing homelessness are often unable to afford proper healthcare services, sometimes due to financial difficulties or lack of health insurance. Inadequate access to medical services and resources to treat conditions such as substance abuse and mental illness contribute to an increased unhoused population. People experiencing homelessness in Bloomington can find local organizations and resources to address their health care needs.  

Where can I get medical care and mental health resources? 

Health Care for the Homeless centers receive federal funding to provide health care and support services to people experiencing homelessness, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They use a sliding fee scale, so the prices are adjusted according to income, and provide emergency health care, mental health care, preventive care and treatment for chronic conditions. Find a nearby center by visiting The Bloomington Health and Dental Center, Centerstone Health Services and Wheeler Mission Center for Men Clinic are the Health Care for the Homeless centers in Bloomington.  

To get help finding local resources, dial 211 to be referred to appropriate health and human service agencies and organizations.  

Some organizations in Bloomington and Monroe County offer specialized services for people experiencing homelessness in need of medical care.  

Primary Care: 

HealthNet's Primary Care provides wellness checks, preventive care, health screenings and management of chronic conditions for all ages. It offers a sliding scale discount for people who are uninsured based on income and family size. The nearest location is the Bloomington Health Center at 811 West Second St. Call (812) 333-4001.  

Dental Care and Dentures: 

Dental Care Center — located at 1602 W. Third St. — provides adult dental services at a reduced cost for people 18 years or older in Monroe and Owen counties. The center accepts most dental insurance plans and has reduced fees for students and low-income people. Call (812) 339-7700 to schedule an appointment. 

Affordable Dentures & Implants provides dental services and dentures for adults with Medicaid in Indiana. In Bloomington, they are located at 3800 Industrial Blvd. Call (812) 399-0066.  

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services: 

At the Bloomington Health Center — located at 811 W. Second St.,— HealthNet provides individual and family counseling, specialized counseling to cope with substance abuse and referrals for psychological assessment. They offer a sliding scale discount for people who are uninsured based on income and family size. Call (812) 333-4001. 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’ National Helpline is a free and confidential information service for people facing mental or substance use disorders. It is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in English and Spanish. It provides referrals to local organizations and free publications.  

Crisis and Safety Services: 

Middle Way House — located at 338 S. Washington St. — provides immediate crisis intervention, legal advocacy and help finding temporary shelter. Immediate intervention and support are available 24 hours a day on a walk-in basis. Call (812) 336-0846.  

For people in emotional distress or in suicidal crisis, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 988. For Spanish speakers, call (888) 628-9454.  

How can I get health insurance if I’m experiencing homelessness? 

The Affordable Care Act has health coverage for people experiencing homelessness if they meet some requirements. The cost and coverage of Medicaid, a state-run program of government-funded health services for low-income people, depends on each state. Children may be covered under a separate program called the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP depends on a person’s state of residence, their income and their citizenship or eligible immigration status, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  

To apply for Medicaid in Indiana, call 800-457-8283 or visit To learn more about Medicaid and CHIP and their requirements, visit People without a permanent address can use a friend’s, a service provider’s or an assister's address. Those who are not eligible for Medicaid and CHIP may be eligible to purchase a health plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace with financial assistance.  

Health insurance agents, brokers or assisters are trained individuals who can help people apply and enroll in a health plan, Medicaid or CHIP. To find local help, visit

How can I go to the hospital without a car? 

There are multiple ways to get to the IU Health Bloomington Hospital, at 2651 E. Discovery Parkway, without a car.  

A patient warrants transportation by emergency services if their medical condition is life-threatening or could result in permanent disability, according to the IU Health website. If that is the case, dial 911 to call an ambulance to be transported to IU Health Bloomington Hospital Emergency Medicine.  

Public Bus Systems: 

Bloomington Transit, the City of Bloomington's bus service, and the IU Campus Bus Service, open to all students, faculty, staff and visitors, have multiple bus stations near IU Health Hospital.  

Bloomington Transit Route 3 East College Mall/IU Health Hospital runs every 30 minutes Monday through Saturday and stops at the IU Health Hospital bus stop.  

The Campus Bus E Route runs 7:20 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and stops at the Regional Academic Health Center, right by the hospital. The bus leaves the RAHC every 20 to 45 minutes.  

Bloomington Transit Routes 6 Campus Shuttle, 6 limited and 9 IU Campus/College Mall/Covenanter & Clarizz stop at multiple locations along 10th Street near Indiana State Road 45/46, which are 10-to 15-minute walks from the hospital.  

Rural Transit: 

Area 10 Agency on Aging — a private, nonprofit organization — provides bus service to everyone in Monroe, Owen, Putnam and Lawrence counties through Rural Transit.  

People should call a few days in advance of their trip, if possible. Rural Transit runs 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Anyone can ride, but children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.  

A one-way trip in one county costs $3, and a round trip costs $6. Call (812) 876-1079 to reserve a ride in Monroe, Owen and Lawrence counties, and call (765) 848-1508 for a ride in Putnam County.  

Taxi Services: 

There are multiple independently owned taxi services in Bloomington. Some of them include: 

Yellow Cab: (812) 339-9744 

Red Tire Taxi: (812) 269-2690 

People can also request rides using the Uber and Lyft apps on their phone. 

What do I do if someone is unresponsive? 

If someone isn’t moving and doesn’t respond when called or gently shaken, they are unresponsive and require first aid, according to the Red Cross.  

First check if the person is breathing by tilting their head back to prevent their tongue from opening their airway. If their chest is moving and their breath can be heard or felt, they are breathing.  

If they are not breathing, call 911 as soon as possible. Give chest compressions until help arrives by pushing firmly downwards in the middle of their chest and then releasing at a regular rate, about 100 to 120 compressions a minute.  

If they are breathing, move the person onto their side and tilt their head back to keep their airway open. Call 911 as soon as possible. 

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