$535,000 in grants available for Michigan-based safety net organizations to aid uninsured patients coping with mental illness or substance abuse

$535,000 in grants available for Michigan-based safety net organizations to aid uninsured patients coping with mental illness or substance abuse

DETROIT, March 2, 2016 – Michigan-based safety net health care organizations are encouraged to apply for a new integrated care grant looking to help clinics develop, enhance or expand programs that support uninsured and low-income patients coping with mental illness or substance abuse.

Low-income Michigan residents who have limited health insurance, or no coverage at all, often depend on safety net clinics, health clinics that provide services for free or at low-cost, to receive primary care. By combining funds, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, Ethel and James Flinn Foundation and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services plan to award a total of $535,000 for projects that help these clinics incorporate behavioral health and substance abuse care into their clinic to better address the health needs for this vulnerable population. The typical grant for each organization is expected to range from $50,000 to $75,000.

“Patients visit safety net clinics for a variety of reasons, and this grant opportunity will help ensure more clinics are able to meet the unique and diverse needs of their patients,” said Lynda Rossi, executive vice president of Strategy and Public Affairs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “This funding will help clinics identify and assess mental health and substance abuse concerns to help ensure patients get the care they need, leading to improved health outcomes and long-term cost savings.”

Andrea Cole, executive director and CEO of the Ethel and James Flinn Foundation said, “Integrating behavioral and substance abuse services with physical health care will have a lasting impact in Michigan. By supporting the safety net to address mental health concerns, we are helping create opportunities for improved outcomes statewide.”

One in four Michigan residents has been diagnosed with depression or anxiety at some point in their lives, higher than the national average.

“This public-private partnership is a great example where Foundations, Michigan companies and the state can join together to make a long-term, positive impact on the health of Michiganders,” said Matt Lori, innovation grant coordinator at MDHHS.

Audrey Harvey, executive director and chief executive officer of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation said, “Behavioral health conditions like depression, anxiety and emotional disorders are extremely common, especially among low-income individuals. These grants will give thousands of uninsured Michigan residents access to the treatment and support they need to turn their life around.”

To apply for grant funding, Michigan-based safety net organizations must submit the Integrated Care application packet (PDF) to IntegratedCare@bcbsm.com by midnight April 18, 2016. Project proposals will be selected based on the community need it addresses, the evidence of effectiveness, sustainability beyond the grant period and the potential for replicability in other organizations. For more information or to download the application visit bcbsm.com/safetynet.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.5 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside the state. For more company information, visit bcbsm.com and MIBluesPerspectives.com.

Photo Credit: Ricardo Liberato