Advocates at MPCA’s Legislative Forum Increase Awareness of Health Centers, Policy Issues Impacting Access to Care

Board and staff members from Michigan Health Centers convened in Lansing on Wednesday, February 26 to attend the 2014 MPCA Legislative Forum. This annual event is an opportunity for Michigan Health Center board and staff members to get the latest updates on the current legislative climate and its impact on Health Centers and access to care in Michigan. It is also an opportunity to meet with State Legislators who represent the districts where Health Centers serve as health care homes for the Legislators’ constituents.

Attendees of this year’s Forum participated in over 70 meetings with State Senators and Representatives in their offices. More informal discussions also took place during a legislative luncheon. In addition to increasing awareness of the services that Health Centers provide in communities across the state, board and staff members asked for the Legislators’ support of MPCA’s 2014 policy priorities—enhancing the state’s primary care workforce policies and promoting behavioral health access and integration.

MPCA was honored that Senator John Moolenaar and Representative Matt Lori, chairs of the Community Health Appropriations Subcommittee in their respective chambers; and Senator Jim Marleau and Representative Gail Haines, chairs of the Health Policy Committee in their respective chambers, were able to join the morning general session to share updates on the 2014 state legislative budget and health policy issues and priorities.

We were also honored that Michigan Department of Community Health Director James Haveman joined us to give an update on the work that is being done to implement the Healthy Michigan Plan.

“As we continue to make progress on the Healthy Michigan Plan implementation, it is important that we recognize the important contributions made by the Health Centers in Michigan, as well as the Michigan Primary Care Association,” said Director Haveman. “Thanks to the efforts of our partners across Michigan, nearly half a million Michiganders will have access to health care that will help them take charge of their health, become healthier Michiganders, and in turn, help contribute to the comeback of Michigan. Our work does not stop here, however. Michigan Health Centers and MPCA will be integral to finding, and enrolling eligible residents into the Healthy Michigan Plan in the coming months. We’ve already accomplished so much together, and I look forward to our continued partnership.”

You can watch a recording of Director Haveman’s address below.

During the Fourm, MPCA presented Senator Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) and Representative Mike Shirkey (R-Clark Lake) with the Champion for the Medically Underserved Award for their leadership in ensuring more Michigan residents have insurance coverage through the bi-partisan Healthy Michigan Plan.

“Health Centers were established nearly 50 years ago to ensure access to care for all, regardless of insurance status or income level. The historic passage and implementation of the Healthy Michigan Plan is a monumental step toward achieving that mission, and this award is a token of our appreciation on behalf of thousands of Michigan residents,” said Kim Sibilsky, MPCA’s Chief Executive Officer.

Pictures from the 2014 MPCA Legislative Forum are posted in a photo album on the MPCA Facebook page.

“Thank you for a great day with our legislators. It was very informative and encouraging—encouraging because our legislators recognize and support Health Centers, us. Also, chatting with other Michigan Health Center administrators, providers, and board members makes me feel proud and privileged to be a part of this movement,” said Ted Hilleary, Board Chair, Center for Family Health.


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