As more and more people lose their jobs and subsequently their health insurance in today’s poor economic climate that has hit Michigan especially hard, finding quality health care can be challenging, if not daunting. In an effort to ensure more uninsured, underinsured, and homeless people in the Metro Detroit area have access to the comprehensive health care they need, Advantage Health Centers in partnership with The Cathedral Church of St. Paul opened Waller Health Center at a new site on Warren Avenue in Detroit yesterday.
Advantage Health Centers has been serving Metro Detroit residents since 1986, when it opened its doors as Detroit Health Care for Homeless to improve the health status of the most vulnerable and underserved population in the community. Today it is one of 1,200 Community Health Centers located across the country that provide quality, comprehensive primary and preventive health care at a price that patients can afford because fees are based on income and not contingent on insurance status.
Named in honor of the late Dr. John B. Waller, who in 1986 founded Detroit Health Care for the Homeless to improve the health status of his fellow community members, the Waller Health Center continues to offer a wide array of services that its patients might otherwise not have access to, including family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, family planning, behavioral health care, substance abuse treatment, HIV/AIDS screening, health screening and education, pharmacy and prescription assistance, oral health referrals, and more.
“Advantage Health Centers is committed to providing quality health care with dignity to help individuals better sustain themselves and their families,” said Joe Ferguson, Executive Director, Advantage Health Centers. “The entire community benefits when their residents are healthy and able to work, learn, and live productive lives.”
Last year the center served 3,400 homeless individuals at more than 9,200 health care appointments. Unfortunately many more had to be turned away because the 5,000 square foot facility at 2395 West Grand Boulevard couldn’t accommodate them. With the move to the new, larger facility next to The Cathedral Church of St. Paul, more staff will be able to see more patients at more appointments. In fact, it is estimated that the Health Center will have the capacity to reach approximately 6,000 homeless persons each year, almost doubling the current number receiving care.
Funding for a portion of the new site’s renovation and equipment came from a grant that Advantage Health Centers received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Advantage Health Centers also received tremendous support from the City of Detroit and the Michigan Department of Community Health, as well donors and partners.