For Mary Kautenberg and the estimated 80,000 other uninsured and underinsured in Kent County, locally operated, nonprofit health care clinics are a critical part of their community. Her story is a familiar one, a person who once had insurance and now does not.
Kautenberg spoke as part of a media briefing on October 21, 2013, announcing grants from BCBSM to four clinics in Kent County. She expressed how thankful she is to have the safety net of clinics to fall back on when she needed help
“You can take that (having insurance) for granted sometimes because it’s there and it’s so easy,” Kautenberg says. “But when you suddenly find yourself without, you start wondering where I’m going to go and what am I going to do. And luckily I found HIS (Health Intervention Services), and that was a huge, huge blessing.”
The briefing was one of several around Michigan, announcing 53 clinic grants aiming to enhance the services provided by clinics and fund general operating expenses.
While this is the ninth year the Michigan Blues have provided such grants, this is the first time grants can be used as patient advocacy funds to help people sign up for affordable health insurance on the Marketplace, or enroll in an expanded Medicaid program, both provisions under the Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“New federal health care laws are complex, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is excited to work with front line healthcare providers to help more Michigan families get health insurance coverage in a smooth and efficient way,” says Kim Kratz, BCBSM senior health care analyst. “The patient navigation funds in our safety net grants reflect that commitment.”
Here is a listing of the clinics receiving grants from BCBSM this year:
The Free Clinic of Alpena – Alpena, Mich.
Helen M. Nickless Volunteer Clinic – Essexville, Mich.
Presbyterian Health Clinic of Branch County – Coldwater, Mich.
Northern Care Center – Cheboygan, Mich.
Genesee County Free Medical Clinic – Flint, Mich.
St. Peter’s Free Clinic of Hillsdale County, Inc. – Hillsdale, Mich.
Cristo Rey Community Center – Lansing, Mich.
Care Free Medical & Dental – Lansing and Mason, Mich.
Centro Multicultural La Familia – Pontiac, Mich.
Dr. Gary Burnstein Community Health Clinic – Pontiac, Mich.
FernCare Free Clinic, Inc. – Ferndale, Mich.
St Joseph Mercy Oakland dba Mercy Place – Pontiac, Mich.
Tri-County Dental Program dba Jewish Family Services – Southfield, Mich.
Community Prescription Support Program – Saginaw, Mich.
Saginaw Area Foundation for Eye Care – Saginaw, Mich.
St. Mary’s of Michigan Center of HOPE Free Clinics – Saginaw, Mich.
St. Clair County
St. Joseph County
Arab American and Chaldean Council Primary Care Clinic, Detroit, Wayne
Cass Clinic – Detroit, Mich.
Hope Medical Clinic, Inc.: Wayne Clinic – Westland, Mich.
HUDA Clinic – Detroit, Mich.
Joy-Southfield Community Development Corporation – Detroit, Mich.
Order of Malta Medical/Dental Clinic – Detroit, Mich.
Society of St. Vincent DePaul Dental Clinic – Detroit, Mich.
The Dr. Albert B Cleage Sr. Memorial Health Center – Detroit, Mich.
Trinity Community Services & Educational Foundation dba Cabrini Clinic – Detroit, Mich.
Wyandotte Clinic for the Working Uninsured – Wyandotte, Mich.
Z.I.A.D. Health for the Uninsured – Trenton, Mich.