How Big Is the Impact of Health Care Reform on Free Clinics and Other ‘Safety Net’ Providers for Michigan’s Uninsured?
Much of the talk about health care reform has centered on how it will affect Medicare, individuals or private businesses. But how will it affect the organizations that provide care to those who are uninsured or underinsured?
Leaders from free clinics, federally qualified health centers, and FQHC look-alikes gathered for the first time to talk about caring for the uninsured and underinsured at the Healthy Safety Net: A Blues Symposium May 5 in Lansing, Michigan. The Blues hosted this interactive symposium to give safety net providers a chance to talk about the impact of health care reform on Michigan’s efforts to provide health care for everyone.
The symposium provided a forum for administrators, board members and medical directors from the clinics and health centers to discuss the changing health care landscape and share what that may mean to their respective organizations.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will provide coverage to many of the state’s uninsured by 2014, but there will still be an estimated 6 to 9 percent of Michigan’s population without health insurance.
So what happens next? The role of these safety net providers will likely change, but the commitment to making sure everyone who needs health care gets it has not.
“Strategic partnerships are the key to survival and success,” said Dave Law, executive director of the Joy-Southfield Community Development Corporation. “And the most important partner in all of this is the patient. We need to fully understand their needs and the challenges facing them. Then we can build those key relationships and partnerships that provide overall health benefits to the underserved residents of our communities.”
Since 2005, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has granted more than $6 million to Michigan’s free clinics to secure health and dental care for thousands of uninsured and underinsured patients.