It’s sad, but true. In Michigan, nearly 17 percent of adults with mental illness are uninsured and find it difficult to get the treatment they need.
To make matters worse, the disease puts them at risk for other chronic medical conditions.
To help alleviate some of the burden Covenant Community Care was presented with a $96,250 grant from a unique partnership between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, the Ethel and James Flinn Foundation and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Covenant Community Care is a faith-based, charitable, non-profit community health center serving the people of metro Detroit.
The grant will help patients with chronic diseases and behavioral health issues by providing home visits and individualized care plans. It is one of six integrated care grants, totaling $535,000, aimed to develop, enhance or expand programs to support uninsured and low-income patients coping with addiction and mental illness.
“Michigan residents who are underinsured or lack health insurance often depend on safety net providers to receive primary care,” says Lynda Rossi, executive vice president of strategy and public affairs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “This funding will help providers expand that care to identify and address mental health and substance abuse concerns, so patients get the full range of care they need in one setting. Grants like this support Blue Cross’ ongoing commitment to strengthening the safety net, which ultimately leads to improved long-term health and lower costs for all.”
More than 240,000 individuals in Wayne County are uninsured.
As a federally-qualified health center, Covenant Community Care offers integrated medical, dental and behavioral health care to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. It is dedicated to meeting the primary health care needs of individuals and families. This new grant funding will allow the clinic to provide patients with remote treatment and individualized care plans for those with chronic diseases and behavioral health issues.
The grants are designed to carefully measure and, eventually, model their success in other areas of need across the state, according to Audrey Harvey, vice president at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and executive director and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation.
Other safety net providers receiving the integrated care grants are:
- Baldwin Family Health Care in White Cloud was awarded $96,250 to address the shortage of mental health providers in the community. The program will give Baldwin Family Health Care patients the ability to work with a pharmacist to ensure appropriate use of mental health medications, and limit adverse effects.
- Catherine’s Health Center and Health Intervention Services in Grand Rapids were awarded $96,250 to develop a system of resource and staff sharing between two separate clinic locations to expand access to evidence-based treatment for depression, anxiety and substance use disorders.
- InterCare Community Health Network in Bangor was awarded $75,000 to hire a nurse to oversee a Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) program to combat opioid addiction in Berrien County.
- Mackinac Straits Health System in St. Ignace was awarded $75,000 to support a new program that will provide a holistic approach when treating individuals with addiction of mental illness by integrating medical and mental health care, crisis intervention, treatment services and transition back into the community.
- Munson Healthcare Boyne Area Health Center, a clinic operated by Munson Healthcare Charlevoix in Boyne City, was awarded $96,250 to hire a full-time behavioral health therapist to address behavioral health issues during patient’s primary care visits and ensure continuity in care between the therapist, patient’s psychiatrist and primary care physician.
“This public-private partnership is another great example of how foundations, Michigan-based companies and the state can team up to have a long-term, positive impact on the health of Michiganders,” says Matt Lori, innovations grant coordinator for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services . “Low-income Michigan residents who have limited health insurance or no coverage at all depend on these providers, and these grants support a new avenue for treatment.”
– Top photo: Audrey Harvey, vice president at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and executive director and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, presents the grant check.
– Photos courtesy of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan