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For Homeless, New Hope for Health Care

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For Homeless, New Hope for Health Care

Health Care

For Homeless, New Hope for Health Care

Ambitious Program Offers Treatment, Support for Chronic Illnesses

For Homeless, New Hope for Health Care

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/3838065/3838688" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Dr. Jessie McCary helps Donald Cooper learn how to give himself an injection. His diabetes has worsened, and the homeless man now needs insulin shots. Richard Knox, NPR hide caption

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Richard Knox, NPR

Dr. Jessie McCary helps Donald Cooper learn how to give himself an injection. hide caption

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About three million Americans are homeless. Among their other problems, they suffer from the same chronic diseases — diabetes, heart disease, asthma, depression, HIV-AIDS — as the rest of the population. But when homeless people get health care, it's usually limited to treatment for immediate problems.

A federally funded program is changing that, and setting a new standard for treating even the most complex diseases in homeless patients. NPR's Richard Knox and producer Rebecca Davis followed the treatment of one homeless man in Boston who has diabetes. Donald Cooper's story shows that now, some homeless people are receiving the kind of health care most Americans would envy.