Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan awards grants to three Ottawa County clinics, helping thousands of uninsured get needed health care

Adriane Davis

| 4 min read

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan presented three Ottawa County clinics with $15,000 each in grant funding today to help underserved and uninsured people gain access to health care services as part of Blue Cross’Strengthening the Safety Net grant program. The clinics – City on a Hill Ministries Health Clinic, Holland Free Health Clinic and Love in the Name of Christ Free Health Clinic – treat nearly 2,000 Ottawa County residents annually with limited or no access to health care. According to County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, more than 12 percent of Ottawa County residents are uninsured. “Without these clinics, patients would delay and even forego medical treatment at great cost to themselves, their families and the health care system,” said Jeff Connolly, senior vice president, Large Group Business and president of West Michigan at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “They are an extremely important part of Michigan’s safety net.” With the distribution of the 2014 Strengthening the Safety Net grants, Blue Cross has provided more than $10 million to support safety net providers across Michigan since the grant program was created in 2005. The grants have enabled clinics to care for more than 60,000 people annually and have accounted for more than 1 million patient medical visits. The 2014 grants can be applied to daily operations and enrollment assistance for the Healthy Michigan Plan. Clinic reaction: Jeff Compagner, executive director of Holland Free Health Clinic: “At Holland Free Health Clinic, we hear of people who don’t treat an excruciating dental emergency for months because they have to choose between medication and groceries; or who don’t apply for a job because they can’t buy glasses that can help them read an application. These are the realities for many families in our community. In 2013 alone, we served 727 patients, 91 percent of them without insurance. We helped 156 people get free glasses and 568 get free dental cleanings. This generous grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan will help us continue to help hundreds of our neighbors get healthier and improve their lives.”
  • Christine Plummer, clinic director at City on a Hill Health Clinic: “City on a Hill Health Clinic, our staff and volunteers are very grateful to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for its ongoing commitment to supporting free clinics like ours. This generous grant will help us provide women’s services, chronic illness treatment and management, urgent care treatment and a diabetes education program. We want to be sure we can continue to provide important health services for the uninsured and this grant will help us meet this need. This grant is the key to the future of our community.”
  • Erin VanStelle, free health clinic coordinator at Love in the Name of Christ Free Health Clinic: “This grant helps us reach more people in our community who need access to quality care, including treatment for diabetes and related challenges. We are very grateful to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for providing this grant and giving us the support to expand our reach and help even more people.”
“Today’s announcement is an embodiment of the spirit of volunteerism and giving back that is so powerful in our great community,” said state Sen. Arlan Meekhof, R-Grand Haven. “Thank you to all the volunteers who roll up their sleeves and help and to Blue Cross for their partnership in our community.” State Rep. Amanda Price, R-Park Township, said, “Because of grants from organizations like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, these clinics are able to reach families in our community that are in need, connecting them with critical services, treatments, care and coverage. Thank you to all involved for your commitment to our community.” The Strengthening the Safety Net grants were presented to the clinics on Wednesday, Oct. 29, at Love in the Name of Christ Free Health Clinic in Grand Haven. For more information on Blue Cross’ Strengthening the Safety Net program, visit Photo credit: A Healthier Michigan
MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association