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“I cried,” recalled Reece, a former drug addict who was estranged from his family and cut off from traditional medical care.

That’s when he met Tony Boxwell, a bald, burly nurse practitioner at the heart of what experts say is the first U.S. program that sends mobile teams to provide palliative care — comfort care — to homeless people facing terminal illness.

“A nurse at the shelter referred him to us,” said Boxwell, 58, who visits Reece every two weeks. “We hooked up oncology and took it from there.”

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Image: Jovelle Tamayo/for KHN

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