More than 50 safety net health care organizations across Michigan received grants totaling more than $1.2 million from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation to expand access to health care, including critical specialty care, for the state’s underinsured and uninsured residents.
“Safety net providers offer crucial health care services to thousands of Michigan residents who would otherwise go without treatment,” says Lynda Rossi, executive vice president of Strategy and Public Affairs at Blue Cross. “The nonprofit clinics receiving these grants provide people with a trusted health care resource they can turn to when they’re most in need. These clinics help people without health insurance live longer, healthier lives.”
Rossi says the Foundation and Blue Cross awarded $400,000 of the funding to four safety net providers to expand access to critical specialty care treatment. National data indicate the need for medical specialty services doubled between 1999 and 2009, from 4.8 percent to 9.3 percent. Estimates further project a shortage of medical specialists of as many as 8,000 physicians for all specialties by 2020.
The following specialty care grants were awarded:
- Detroit – $100,000 for the McAuley Health Center to support an innovative nurse-managed specialty program that uses a monthly clinic to address dermatology, endocrinology and podiatry at same time.
- Detroit – $100,000 to The Wellness Plan Medical Centers in Detroit to develop a Point of Care Specialty Services program to facilitate communication and bring necessary specialty services to the patient in the primary care clinic rather than sending them to external offices by using telemedicine or onsite specialist appointments.
- Mount Pleasant – $100,000 to Isabella Citizens for Health to utilize a nurse case-manager to work with underserved patients to oversee the referral process to local hospitals, ensure compliance with appointments and treatment plans, tracking appointment results and use.
- Temperance – $100,000 to the Family Medical Center of Michigan to employ a collaborative effort to engage specialty providers, residency programs and other community programs in an effort to increase access for their patients.
“Awarding critical financial support to resource-strapped clinics helps them provide much-needed services to people in underserved communities who often have little to no access to such specialized services,” says Audrey Harvey, executive director and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation. “We congratulate the clinics that received these grants and are opening the door to life-changing and even life-saving care for so many people.”
In addition to the specialty care grants, Blue Cross also awarded grants to 48 Michigan safety net clinics. Now in its 11th year, the program provides free or low-cost medical and dental treatment for uninsured, underinsured and newly insured Michigan residents.
Under the program, eligible clinics received up to $20,000 to support operations or enhance services. Blue Cross has provided more than $11 million in grant funds since the program was created in 2004. According to Healthy People 2020, people with a regular source of health care have better health outcomes and fewer disparities in costs. As in the past, all grantees are expected to provide health care and enrollment services and clinical quality assurance.