PONTIAC, Feb. 5, 2016 – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan today awarded $180,000 in grants aimed at helping homeless and uninsured individuals in Oakland County obtain health care services and treatment, including behavioral health support. The grants were presented at Oakland Integrated Healthcare Network in Pontiac. Homelessness causes significant barriers to accessing appropriate health care, and Metro Detroit has the highest homeless population in the state. The homeless face higher rates of chronic disease – like hypertension and diabetes – and shorter life expectancy. While the Affordable Care Act expanded health care coverage for millions of Americans, coverage gaps still exist, and many Oakland County residents are still uninsured or underinsured. Oakland Integrated Healthcare Network (OIHN) will use a $100,000 grant from Blue Cross to help homeless individuals in the community obtain primary care and substance abuse services. OIHN will also develop an integrated behavioral health program at its Orchard Lake Center location, and expects to treat more than 150 patients during the program’s first year. OIHN currently serves more than 4,600 patients annually. In addition to OIHN, Blue Cross awarded grants to the following five Oakland County clinics to provide medical, dental and behavioral health services to nearly 4,000 uninsured and underinsured people in the region. According to a Tri-County survey, nearly 30 percent of patients currently served by these clinics say they would have gone without care had the safety net program not existed.
- Centro Multicultural La Familia in Pontiac received $20,000
- Mercy Place in Pontiac received $20,000
- Dr. Gary Burnstein Community Health Clinic in Pontiac received $15,000
- Tri-County Dental at Jewish Vocational Services in Southfield received $15,000
- FernCare Free Clinic in Ferndale received $9,700
“For the last decade, Blue Cross has partnered with community clinics across the state to ensure everyone in Michigan has access to high-quality health care, regardless of their financial situation,” said Lynda Rossi, executive vice president of Strategy and Public Affairs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “The hard-working health professionals, staff and volunteers at these Oakland County clinics are making a tremendous impact by serving those most in need in the community and we’re honored to support them in their efforts.” OIHN CEO Deb Brinson said, “Oakland Integrated Healthcare Network is grateful to Blue Cross for this grant, which will allow our terrific staff and volunteers to continue serving thousands of people in the Pontiac area who have nowhere to turn for basic health care needs. By helping all residents in Pontiac stay healthier, we can improve the overall well-being of our entire community.” “Grants like those Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan are awarding today can help thousands of people across Oakland County get the help and support they need for a wide range of health care needs,” said House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel of Auburn Hills. “Ultimately, these are the kinds of partnerships that can help families in our communities stay healthier.” State Sen. Jim Marleau of Lake Orion said, “Oakland County communities applaud Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for its support and for empowering people by providing greater access to health care options. We are fortunate to have terrific health centers and clinics with dedicated staff and volunteers who are helping improve health in our communities, and their work will be amplified with these grants.”
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 4.5 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. Photo credit: theilr Flickr (main), MIBluesPerspectives (group photo)