With the end of one year and the beginning of the next, one can’t help but reflect on the past, draw on its experiences, and look ahead to a future that is full of promise and better things to come. We at Michigan Primary Care Association— the voice for Michigan’s federally-funded Health Center organizations and other community-based providers—are no exception.
The year 2012 has been one of tremendous change in the health care world, most notably marked by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. This historic event and its implications for moving ahead with health care reform will continue to have a major impact on the 35 Michigan Health Center organizations that Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA) represents. It sets the stage for opportunities for partnership, growth, transformation, and performance improvement in 2013.
What remains constant through all of this change is MPCA’s and Michigan Health Centers’ mission to ensure our neighbors, especially those who are medically underserved, have access to quality, comprehensive, affordable primary and preventive health care, regardless of how much money they make or whether they have an insurance card.
Below is a snapshot of all that the Michigan Health Center network accomplished in 2012. We celebrate these accomplishments, which will serve as historical reminders of our success this past year and as catalysts for 2013 and beyond.
Six organizations in Michigan received a total of $3.6 million in grant funding under the Affordable Care Act to establish new Health Center sites. These organizations now have the capacity to care for up to 60,000 additional Michigan residents. Two of the organizations are brand new Health Centers, bringing to the total number of Michigan Health Center organizations up to 35. Collectively the Michigan Health Center network operates over 220 delivery sites across the state and cares for more than 600,000 people—many of whom would go without care if it weren’t for their local Health Center. Read more
Health Centers continued to be a strategic tool in assuring underserved areas and populations have access to health care. Multiple communities across the state undertook efforts toward establishing Health Centers that their residents can rely on for care. One organization, Oakland Integrated Healthcare Network, received Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike status in 2012 from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Read more
New Michigan Health Center sites opened and others expanded to serve more people in need of a primary care provider. Montcalm Area Health Center doubled in size to expand its capacity to serve thousands more medical and dental patients. Family Health Center opened a newly-expanded facility in Kalamazoo to double the number of patients served and create local jobs. Community Health & Social Services Center (CHASS) replaced the 42-year old Southwest Center to more than double its capacity in Detroit. These are just a few of the expansion projects that took place in 2012, and many more are currently underway. Thank you to the Kresge Foundation for supporting planning efforts in these communities and statewide.
In addition to expanding capacity and increasing access to care, Michigan Health Centers continued to move to high performing comprehensive care providers by participating in transformational initiatives in 2012. Working toward Patient Centered Medical Home designation and meaningful use achievement, integrating HIV care in the primary care setting, integrating behavioral health and primary care, and participating in new models of service delivery and reimbursement are just a few of the initiatives launched in 2012 and that will continue into 2013.
MPCA celebrated milestones with Michigan Health Centers in 2012, such as anniversaries; funding award announcements that allowed for quality improvement and expanded capacity; visits with State Legislators, Members of Congress, and Governor Snyder that showcased the value and benefits of Health Centers for Michigan communities; and recognition of Health Center staff and providers for their leadership and quality of service delivery.
MPCA and Michigan Health Centers continued to develop and nurture strong partnerships with other community-based organizations, hospital systems, foundations, and educational institutions who are jointly striving to improve the health care system and the health of our state. Gone are the days of providing health care in isolation…it takes a village.
MPCA advocated for and celebrated the Michigan Legislature maintaining funding for current Medicaid eligibility categories and services in the State of Michigan’s fiscal year 2013 budget. The Medicaid program is designed to meet the coverage needs of low-income individuals, and it provides Michigan’s most vulnerable population with access to essential health care services. In 2012 Michigan Health Centers cared for 12 percent of the state’s Medicaid beneficiaries for just 1.2 percent of the state’s Medicaid expenditure.
Michigan Health Centers continued to provide a myriad of support services to their patients, such as translation and transportation assistance, as well as enrollment assistance. In 2012 MPCA’s coverage enrollment program directly served nearly 3,000 children, enrolling over 2,100 in Medicaid, nearly 260 in MIChild, and hundreds more in programs like Plan First and MOMS. MPCA also collaborated with Michigan Health Centers to help keep people enrolled in health coverage programs. And many Michigan Health Centers began offering a new support service, voter registration. Michigan Health Centers joined Health Centers in 33 other states to register or update voter registrations for over 25,000 voters and to collect an additional 10,000 voter pledges through the national, non-partisan Community Health Vote program.
MPCA was a key player in elevating potential solutions to Michigan’s impending provider shortage. The state’s fiscal year 2013 budget restored funding for Graduate Medical Education and once again funded the Michigan Student Loan Repayment Program—two programs that will tremendously help in attracting medical providers to underserved areas of the state. MPCA participated in a state workgroup that is exploring the benefits of enabling nurse practitioners and physician assistants to practice at the top of their education level. In addition, a new teaching health center program was recently established in Wayne County to provide for resident rotations through five Health Centers in southeast Michigan.
MPCA received grant awards from the DentaQuest Foundation and the Health Resources & Services Administration to increase the performance of Michigan Health Centers by integrating oral health and medical care through interprofessional education, and to support MPCA’s 22-member Health Center Controlled Network, respectively.
So what’s on MPCA’s to-do list for 2013? Number one is to work with the State of Michigan and Governor Snyder’s Administration on expanding Medicaid to Michigan residents whose income is below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Michigan Health Centers are on the front lines delivering care to the most medically underserved and vulnerable populations in communities across the state. They see, on a daily basis, tremendous need for greater health care coverage in Michigan. Expanding Medicaid would ease the burden on our state, allow Health Centers to care for more people who lack a primary care provider, save money, and ultimately save more lives. But above all, our top priority in 2013, as it has been throughout the history of MPCA and the life of the Health Center program, is improving the health of individuals, communities, and the state as whole.