DETROIT, August 19, 2021 – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan today announced its 17th annual Strengthening the Safety Net program recipients. Forty-nine Michigan clinics were granted awards, totaling $904,500, to continue providing free or low-cost medical, dental and behavioral health services to uninsured or vulnerable Michigan residents. Since 2005, the Strengthening the Safety Net grant program has awarded more than $17 million to clinics throughout Michigan. Program data shows nearly 59,000 vulnerable residents will be patients of these facilities this year, more than half of whom are uninsured. “As we continue forging a path toward equitable health care in Michigan, the Strengthening the Safety Net program remains one of the most impactful grant programs aimed at improving care within vulnerable communities,” said Ken Hayward, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan vice president and special assistant to the president for Community Relations. “By increasing access to care and eliminating barriers for the uninsured and underinsured, we can further move the needle toward better health outcomes for everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status. Blue Cross commends each clinic’s work and dedication improving the health of Michigan’s citizens and communities.” Grantees have agreed to provide patient navigation as a regular function of care. Patient navigators are focused on providing patient assistance with obtaining Healthy Michigan Plan or other coverage, education and assistance with obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine, and referrals to behavioral health care providers and food assistance. Grantee leaders were also required to participate in unconscious bias education and encouraged staff and volunteers to also complete training. Clinics that provide free or low-cost medical, dental, mental health, vision and specialty care services were invited to apply for a Strengthening the Safety Net grant to support operations or expand services. In addition to the over $900,000 in grants from Blue Cross, health care organizations offering primary care services received $190,000 in matched funding. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is the single largest private funder of Michigan’s free clinics. An overview of this year’s organizations receiving Strengthening the Safety Net grants is below. The following health care homes, or clinics, offer services for at least 30 hours per week, were awarded up to $25,000 each:
The following clinics, which provide urgent and episodic care and treat more than 100 uninsured or underinsured patients each year, were awarded up to $15,000 each:
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 health benefits to more than 4.7 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies residing outside the state. The company has been committed to delivering affordable health care products through a broad variety of plans for businesses, individuals and seniors for more than 80 years. Beyond health care coverage, BCBSM supports impactful community initiatives and provides leadership in improving health care. For more information, visit bcbsm.com and MiBluesPerspectives.com.