Blue Cross provides $904,500 to strengthen Michigan’s safety net

by Erica Stamatoulakis

| 3 min read

A medical clinic reception, receptionist talking to patient using face mask.
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:
Clinic NameCity
Baxter Community CenterGrand Rapids
Cabrini ClinicDetroit
Care Free MedicalLansing
City on a Hill MinistriesZeeland
Cristo Rey Family Health CenterLansing
Corktown Health ClinicDetroit
Dr. Gary Burnstein Community Health ClinicPontiac
Exalta HealthGrand Rapids
Fountain ClinicMarshall
Genesee County Free Medical ClinicFlint
His Healing HandsLansing
Holland Free Health ClinicHolland
Hope Medical ClinicYpsilanti
Love in Action of the Tri-CitiesGrand Haven
McLaren Macomb Medical Outreach ClinicClinton Twp.
People's Clinic for Better HealthPort Huron
Trinity Community CareShelby Township
VINA Community Dental CenterBrighton
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:
Clinic NameCity
ACC Community Health CenterDearborn
Arab Community Center for Economic & Social ServicesDearborn
Boyne Area Free ClinicBoyne City
Caring Heart Health ClinicMarlette
Cass ClinicDetroit
Central Michigan University Street MedicineSaginaw
Centro Multicultural La FamiliaPontiac
Dames and Knights of the Order of Malta Dental ClinicDetroit
Faith Works MedicalMonroe
FernCare Free ClinicFerndale
The Health Unit on Davidson Avenue - HUDA ClinicDetroit
Helen M. Nickless Volunteer ClinicEssexville
Hope House Free Medical ClinicBig Rapids
Hope Medical ClinicWestland
The Luke Project 52 ClinicDetroit
MAPI Charitable Clinic Michigan Association of Physicians of Indian DescentLathrup Village
Mel Trotter MinistriesGrand Rapids
Mercy PlacePontiac
Northern Care CenterCheboygan
Oasis of Hope CenterGrand Rapids
Ogemaw Hills Community of CaringWest Branch
Presbyterian Health Clinic of Branch CountyColdwater
Renewed Hope Health ClinicAllegan
Robert R. Frank Student-Run ClinicDetroit
St. Luke’s ClinicJackson
St. Peter's Free Clinic of Hillsdale County, Inc.Hillsdale
Stehouwer Free ClinicCadillac
Tri-County Dental HealthSouthfield
University of Michigan Student-Run Free ClinicPinckney
Wyandotte Clinic for the Working UninsuredWyandotte
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 and

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