November 7, 2013, was an exciting day in Michigan. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced $150 million in funding under the Affordable Care Act to support 236 new Health Center sites across the country, including $6.2 million to nine organizations in Michigan. That means an additional 42,210 Michiganders will have access to health care at a Health Center. Statewide, Michigan Health Centers are currently health care homes for more than 600,000 adults and children, providing quality, affordable primary and preventive medical, dental, and behavioral health care at over 230 sites. Their mission—to ensure everyone has access to care.
Who Received Funding?
Six of the nine Michigan organizations receiving funding are already Health Centers—Cassopolis Family Clinic, Cherry Street Health Services, Covenant Community Care, Health Delivery Inc., Traverse Health Clinic, and Western Wayne Family Health Centers. Three of the nine Michigan organizations are community-based providers of primary and preventive health care but have not received funding under the Health Center Program before: Community Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services of St. Joseph County, Detroit Central City Community Mental Health, and MyCare Health Center in Macomb County.
What is a Health Center?
The term “Health Center” refers to a community-based, nonprofit organization that receives federal funding under the national Health Center Program (also called a Federally Qualified Health Center or FQHC) or that has been designated as a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike.
To receive Health Center Program funding, an organization must:
- Be located in or serve a medically underserved area or population as designated by the federal government
- Be governed by a board of directors composed of 51 percent or more of Health Center patients who represent the people served
- Provide comprehensive primary health care services as well as support services that promote access to care, like outreach, transportation, and translation
- Provide services available to all with fees adjusted based on ability to pay
- Meet strict performance and accountability requirements regarding administrative, clinical, and financial operations as established by the federal government
Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alikes are organizations certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, based on recommendations provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Bureau of Primary Health Care, as meeting all Health Center Program requirements; however, they do not receive funding under the Health Center Program.
When Will the New Health Centers Open?
Each of the new Health Center sites must be operational within 120 days of being awarded funding, which is welcome relief for individuals and families that will now have access to affordable health care right in their own communities. For some, the nearest provider is miles away; for others, cost has prevented them from getting the care they need. Many of these individuals would be forced to go without care all together if it weren’t for the Health Center.
What Services Will the New Health Centers Offer, and Where are they Located?
Below is a summary of how each of the nine Michigan organizations is using the new Health Center Program funding it was just awarded to connect their neighbors with the health care they need.
Cassopolis Family Clinic received $400,000 to open a second Health Center site in Niles. The first Niles facility was established in 2009 to provide obstetrics and gynecology services in the rural community located in Michigan’s southwest corner. The new Health Center is projected to be a source of primary care for an additional 3,600 community residents, including direct access to mental health and dental services through Cassopolis Family Clinic’s collaborative partnerships with area providers.
Cherry Street Health Services operates over 20 locations in Kent, Montcalm, and Ionia Counties, as well as four school-based health clinics and a traveling school program that provides care at 70 schools in West Michigan. It is using the $858,333 in funding it received to prevent the closing of a primary care clinic currently operated by the Barry-Eaton District Health Department in Hastings. Cherry Street Health Services will increase the array of services offered to include dental and mental health services, extend hours of operation, and staff the Health Center with health care providers. As a result, more than double the number of patients will be able to get care at the Health Center, regardless of insurance status or income level.
Community Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services of St. Joseph County has been providing comprehensive behavioral health and substance abuse services to adults and children in St. Joseph County for over 30 years. It is using the $812,500 in funding it received to expand its services to include primary and preventive medical care. Patient navigators and community health workers will be instrumental in connecting at-risk individuals, including those experiencing homelessness, to the Health Center located in Centreville near the southwest Michigan/Indiana border, and to its community partners.
Covenant Community Care received $650,000 to expand its network of Health Centers to six sites, which include a school-based Health Center and a mobile community-based dental program. In collaboration with Joy-Southfield Community Development Corporation (JSCDC), Covenant Community Care is opening a Health Center at the current location of JSCDC’s free clinic at 18917 Joy Road in Detroit. Current patients will be able to continue receiving care, and additional residents in the west-side of Detroit will also have access to primary medical, dental, and behavioral health care services at the Health Center.
Detroit Central City Community Mental Health was founded in 1971 to provide behavioral health care services in mid-town Detroit. It also offers substance abuse services, housing and support services including case management, education, and employment assistance. The $793,750 in funding Detroit Central City received will allow the organization to expand and complement its existing array of services to include primary and preventive health care in order to respond to the increasingly complex needs of the people served in mid-town Detroit. Detroit Central City will continue providing care to the homeless individuals and public housing residents it currently serves, and will be able to expand access to care to approximately 3,500 additional people in the first year through collaboration with the University of Detroit Mercy’s McAuley Center, a nurse managed health care center.
Health Delivery, Inc. has operated Health Centers throughout mid-Michigan for the past 40 years. Using $858,333 in new funding it will open two new Health Center sites in Huron County in collaboration with Huron Medical Center and Huron Behavioral Health in Bad Axe. Up until now there have been no Health Centers serving the Thumb Area of Michigan. Health Delivery, Inc. will also expand and stabilize two Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alikes it operates in Shiawassee County by extending the hours of operation, expanding services to include dental care, and hiring more providers.
MyCare Health Center brings together a collaboration of safety net providers to meet the primary health care needs of the most vulnerable residents of Macomb County. With the $866,667 in funding MyCare Health Center received it will serve approximately 5,400 Macomb County residents at five sites in Center Line, Mount Clemens, Clinton Township (2), and Madison Heights. Also, three of MyCare clinics are fully integrated with major behavioral health providers. Through a network of referral providers, MyCare Health Center will enhance the primary care services it offers onsite to increase access to obstetrics/gynecology, oral health, and behavioral health services.
Traverse Health Clinic has provided safety net health services to thousands of individuals in the Traverse City community since the mid-1970s, impacting the lives of over 2,500 people every month. It received $866,667 to transition from a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike, for which it received certification just this past September, into a Health Center Program grantee. This will enable Traverse Health Clinic to provide an additional 2,815 people with medical, dental, and behavioral health care services.
Western Wayne Family Health Centers (WWFHC) is using $145,070 in funding to open its third Health Center site, this one in the River Rouge area. WWFHC currently operates sites in Inkster (the organization’s original facility for which it received new access point funding to open in 2006) and in Taylor (for which it received funding in 2009). It is estimated an additional 5,548 people will have access to primary medical, dental, and behavioral health care at the new Health Center site. Funding will also support pharmacy services, as well as outreach and enabling services to connect community members with the new Health Center.
This tremendous investment to establish new Health Centers in Michigan and across the country will greatly expand access to quality, affordable health care to individuals and families that need it most. MPCA looks forward to collaborating with each of the nine Michigan organizations to continue striving toward ensuring all Michiganders have a health care home where they can get comprehensive, coordinated care when they need it, right in their own community.