The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan presented Family Health Center of Battle Creek with a $50,000 grant to improve oral and dental health for uninsured and underinsured expectant mothers and children in Calhoun County. More than 14 percent of people in Calhoun County have no health insurance. The innovation grant is one of five being awarded across the state by the Blue Cross Foundation and the Blue Cross Social Mission department to help Michigan-based safety net organizations enhance primary care and increase access to care and services for underserved populations. “Thanks to this grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Family Health Center can better address oral health early during a woman’s pregnancy, improving her overall health, pregnancy outcomes and the dental health of their children,” said Tera Wilson, director of Dental Services, Family Health Center of Battle Creek. “Better oral health is critical to families in our community because mother and child will have lower incidences of illnesses, less reliance on medications and reduced risk of chronic diseases. We are grateful for this innovation grant because it’s making a direct impact in our commitment to build a healthier community here in Battle Creek and across Calhoun County.” Family Health Center of Battle Creek is a federally-qualified health center delivering primary health care to underserved families and individuals in Calhoun County. In 2013, the center provided primary care and dental visits to more than 26,000 people. More than 500 pregnant women received medical treatment at the center in the last year. The Blue Cross Foundation is Blue Cross’s philanthropic affiliate and supports health care research and innovative health programs. “These grants will improve health care for local communities and give us a way to study and assess how we can work together across the private and public sectors to further strengthen health care delivery at the ground level,” said Audrey Harvey, vice president, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation. “Our innovation grants are a critical step toward improving our efforts to promote community-level health care services throughout Michigan. This is a forward-looking partnership and a real investment in a strong future for Michigan.” The five grants from the Blue Cross Foundation and Blue Cross, totaling $250,000, are being provided for up to two years to health centers that met several criteria. Recipients submitted winning proposals for how the innovation grants would help their programs and the families they serve. The Blue Cross Foundation has also hired an independent evaluator to monitor the results of the programs in the hopes of sharing lessons learned with other care providers across the state. “We applaud Family Health Center for doing outstanding work to get treatment to people who lack access to quality health care, and this innovation grant will help support the center’s important effort even further,” said Jeff Connolly, senior vice president, Large Group Business and president of West Michigan Operations for Blue Cross. “Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is committed to continuing our partnership with health centers like Family Health Center of Battle Creek because healthy communities benefit everyone and help reduce health care costs overall. While reforms are starting to make a positive difference in the early stages, Blue Cross is eager to work with local communities to meet outstanding health care needs.” State Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, said, “It is no surprise to me that the Family Health Center of Battle Creek was chosen as a leader in the oral health for expectant mothers and children pilot program. This will be another great tool at their disposal to help educate our community and improve health outcomes for the citizens they serve.” State Rep. Kate Segal, D-Battle Creek, said, “The Family Health Center of Battle Creek helps our community in so many ways, it is no surprise to see them receiving an award for expanding their reach. Thank you to the Blue Cross Foundation and Blue Cross for recognizing their great work in our community.” Blue Cross has provided more than $10 million to support safety net providers across Michigan since 2005 to help the uninsured. The grants have enabled safety net clinics to care for more than 60,000 people annually and accounted for more than one million patient medical visits. The grant was presented at the Health Center of Battle Creek on Friday, Nov. 21. For more information on Blue Cross’ programs, visit bcbsm.com. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, a nonprofit corporation, are independent licensees 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 bcbsm.com and MiBluesPerspectives.com.
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