Nestled among the streets of Detroit, Michigan, Advantage Health Centers cares for area residents in need of medical services—especially those who are uninsured or rely on Medicaid for their health care coverage. Eric Gray learned about Advantage shortly after a medical emergency six years ago.
“Back in October of 2006, I had a heart attack and the doctors had to insert a stint,” Gray said. “At the time I was working for a small company which didn’t offer health insurance. I needed a provider to help watch the medications I was taking so the hospital set up an appointment for me at the Advantage Health Centers’ site closest to where I live. Without Advantage, I don’t know what I would have done. At that time, I was not able to work and my wife—being an only child—was busy taking care of both of her elderly parents. Luckily for us, Advantage has a sliding scale for the fees they charge, based on a patient’s income, so I pay only a small fee to see my doctor.”
Advantage has three locations for their patients to receive not only basic primary care services, but also social work services, HIV testing and counseling, mental health treatment, as well as pre-employment and sports physicals. It’s one of 32 Michigan Health Centers providing quality, affordable, comprehensive primary and preventive health care for nearly 600,000 patients annually at more than 190 sites across the state. Their doors are open to everyone regardless of insurance status or income level.
“When I visited the cardiologist who performed the surgery after my heart attack, I was told I could not come back unless I had insurance,” noted Gray. “That wasn’t a problem at Advantage. In fact, they helped me eventually find a health insurance plan I could afford. With their help, I found the State of Michigan’s Health Insurance Program (HIP) which I could afford and not have to wait a year before I could use it for my heart problems. Once I was covered by HIP, I had a surgery I needed but had been delaying.”
Today Mr. Gray is more than a patient at Advantage; he is now part of their leadership. “When they asked me if I would be willing to be on their Board of Directors, I told them I would be honored,” said Gray. “Advantage was there for me when I needed them. Now I am their fundraiser chairperson. I am lucky to have a place like Advantage to go to, but these types of centers are too few and far between. We need more of them to make sure people have somewhere to go to get the kind of care I have. ”
About Michigan Primary Care Association
Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA) has been the voice for Health Centers and other community-based providers in Michigan since 1980. It is a leader in building a healthy society in which all residents have convenient and affordable access to quality health care. MPCA’s mission is to promote, support, and develop comprehensive, accessible, and affordable quality community-based primary care services to everyone in Michigan. For more information, please visit www.mpca.net or call 517.381.8000.