CHEBOYGAN, Oct. 30, 2015 - Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan presented Northern Care Center with $10,000 in grant funding today to help underserved and uninsured northern Michigan families obtain medical care as part of Blue Cross’ statewide Strengthening the Safety Net grant program. “This generous support from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan will help us deliver much-needed health services and treatment to the families we serve here in Cheboygan County and improve the quality of life for many of our neighbors,” said Kim Faircloth, executive director of Northern Care Center. “Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, as well as many health care professionals and volunteers in the area, is helping us strengthen our efforts so nobody gets left behind as we work together to build a healthier community here in Northern Michigan.” The Strengthening the Safety Net grant will support Northern Care Center’s efforts to expand access to primary care. The center, a recipient of the grant annually since 2006, provides services to 400 uninsured and underinsured people a year, including primary care, pharmaceutical services and health insurance enrollment assistance. Northern Care Center also receives referrals from McLaren Northern Michigan in Petoskey to help recently released patients get free and low-cost medications, in addition to offering pharmaceutical assistance for the community.
Suzanne Miller Allen, director of Community Responsibility for Blue Cross, presented Kim Faircloth with a $10,000 grant at a Northern Care Center event attended by patients and State Senator Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “Clinics like Northern Care Center are doing outstanding work to make sure families in Northern Michigan get access to quality health care, including access to primary care and specialized services, that can save lives and support local communities,” said Suzanne Miller Allen, director of Community Responsibility at Blue Cross. “Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is committed to continuing our partnership with local clinics like Northern Care Center that are on the frontlines of this effort because we strongly believe in tackling one of the key challenges so many families face today, and that’s access to health care.” Seventeen percent of Cheboygan County’s 26,000 residents are uninsured, higher than the state average of 13 percent. Unemployment is also higher than the state average and 33 percent of children in the county live in poverty. According to Healthy People 2020, people with a regular source of health care have better health outcomes and fewer disparities in costs. “Northern Care Center meets a real need in our community,” said State Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “This grant is a real testament to the quality of the care they provide, and I am grateful to Blue Cross for their efforts in recognizing our community.” Said Rep. Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, said, “Blue Cross’ effort with this grant funding helps get Northern Michigan families the medical assistance they need, while addressing the rising costs of health care by helping make sure people have the care they need before expensive emergency care is needed.” Blue Cross has provided more than $11 million to support safety net providers across Michigan since the Strengthening the Safety Net grant program was created in 2005. The grants have enabled clinics to care for more than 60,000 people annually and have accounted for more than 1 million patient medical visits. The Strengthening the Safety Net grant was presented at Northern Care Center on Friday, Oct. 30. For more information on Blue Cross’s Strengthening the Safety Net program, visit bcbsm.com/safetynet. 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: Erik Przekop