With awards to three Lansing clinics, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan helps thousands of uninsured get needed health care

Carly Getz

| 4 min read

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan presented three Ingham County clinics with $15,000 in grant funding each today to help underserved and uninsured families and individuals gain access to health care services. The clinics – Cristo Rey Community Center Health Clinic, Care Free Medical and Dental and His Healing Hands Urgent Care Center – treat more than 10,000 Ingham County residents annually with limited or no access to health care. According to County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, more than 36,000 Ingham County residents are uninsured. “Without these clinics, patients would delay and even forego treatment at great cost to themselves, their families and the health care system,” said Kim Kratz, senior health care analyst at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “That’s why they’re so vital.” 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 safety net clinics to care for more than 60,000 people annually and have accounted for more than one million patient medical visits. The 2014 grants can be applied to daily operations and enrollment assistance for the Healthy Michigan Plan. “Cristo Rey Clinic, our staff and volunteers are very grateful to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for their ongoing commitment to support clinics like ours, including the families and individuals we serve,” said Joe Garcia, executive director of Cristo Rey Community Center Health Clinic. “Cristo Rey served 2,300 people in 2013 and received 10,300 visits. This grant will help us reach our goal of increasing our practice 10 percent. We help more than 800 people with substance abuse, domestic violence and parenting programs. We leverage $1.2 million in free medication through the prescription assistance program and we offer bilingual Spanish and English help for people to enroll in the health care marketplace. This grant will help us serve even more people.” Dr. Barry Saltman of Care Free Medical and Dental said, “At Care Free Medical and Dental Clinic, we hear of people who don’t treat an excruciating dental or physical emergency for months because they have to choose between medication and groceries – these are the realities for many families in our community. In 2013 alone, we treated 5,500 patients and received 10,000 primary care, dental, behavioral and optometry care visits. We serve thousands of people in our community and this generous grant will help us help even more people and strengthen our community here in mid-Michigan.” “Every year, these clinics see and treat thousands of people who have nowhere else to go for important health care needs for their family,” said Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing. “These clinics provide care and treatment with compassion and dignity and, by doing so; they are also helping all of us here in the Lansing area and across Michigan. Thank you to Blue Cross for your support of the Lansing community and for ensuring our neighbors stay healthy.” “This money is a strong investment in our community, and exemplify why our area is so special,” said state Rep. Andy Shor, D-Lansing. “The mission of these clinics reflects one of the most cherished values of our community: neighbor helping neighbor, and people looking out for each other, even when times are hard. Thank you to both the clinics staffs and volunteers, and Blue Cross Blue Shield, for all they do to continue to reach out to families in need.” The Strengthening the Safety Net grants were presented to the clinics on Monday, Oct. 20, at Cristo Rey Health Clinic in Lansing. For more information on Blue Cross’ Strengthening the Safety Net program, visit Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.4 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside the state. For more company information, visit and
MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association