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Viral incident sparks concerns about homeless discharged from local hospital

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FARGO—A woman in Baltimore is making people wonder what happens when the homeless are released from the hospital, and there's no place to go, on a frigid night.

The woman was wearing nothing but a gown and socks, after being wheeled out of a hospital.

Barely able to speak, a cell phone video shows this woman left at a bus stop outside a University of Maryland medical center.

It was around 30 degrees and if this happens in Fargo, temps could be around negative 30.

Healthcare leaders tell me this won't happen in Fargo, both Essentia Health and Sanford have programs in place to make sure patients don't get left on the streets when discharged from the hospital.

"A discharge where you have a patient in a gown taken by hospital staff to a bus stop would not happen," said Lois Ustanko, Sanford Faith Community Nursing.

The two health businesses put their competition aside and work together with local shelters.

Every patient answers questions before treatment, which lets staff figure out where to send them when discharged.

"People with the greatest need for a shelter are prioritized," said Neal Hines, New Life Center Program Manager.

Some shelters like the New Life Center have nurses on site, and patients who don't need any more medical attention go to places like the Dilworth Community Center.

No matter where they go, cab fare is on the house.

"We will transport guests that we cannot house here and the other area shelters are doing the same thing," said Stephanie Strum, New Life Center Program Manager.

It's one way they express one of their core values: respect.

"Respect: not just for taking care of their condition, but also taking care of them as a whole person," said Leah Deyo, Essentia Health Community Health.

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You can also call Churches United at (218) 236-0372.