Baldwin Health Center
Baldwin Family Health Care (BFHC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) Federally Qualified Health Center founded in 1967, providing primary medical, dental, and behavioral health care, and enabling services. The organization serves four rural counties spanning 2,542 square miles in West Michigan. BFHC has five primary care service sites, located in Baldwin (Lake County), White Cloud and Grant (Newaygo County), Cadillac (Wexford County), and McBain (Missaukee County). BFHC also operates three School-Based Health Centers serving students at Baldwin, White Cloud, and Grant public schools. The service area population is 107,096, with a target population of residents with income levels below 200% of poverty (43.7% of the population), the underinsured, and uninsured.
In response to identified need for expanded services, and to eliminate serious congestion, BFHC is planning for a new facility that is three times the size of the current facility, which is 40 years old. The new 38,000 square foot facility located in Baldwin, Michigan, will house medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, and administrative services. Office space also will be provided for West Michigan Community Mental Health Services, expanding upon an innovative behavioral health partnership. BFHC’s space will consist of 15 medical exam rooms for primary care; 3 specialty clinic rooms; 2 urgent care treatment rooms; 13 dental operatories; 4 rooms for integrated behavioral health care; 340B pharmacy; lab; x-ray, mammography and ultrasound; care management and community health providers; and space for provider and staff work stations, operational support functions, and administrative services. It will also include 5,000 square feet for community mental health offices. A wellness center is also planned. The Health Center will be constructed on vacant land adjacent to the current facility, which will be demolished and replaced with space for parking.
- Location: Baldwin Health Center, 1615 Michigan Avenue, Baldwin, MI 49304
- Contact: Kathy Sather, President & CEO, 231.745.2743; Russ Kolski, RN 231.834.9787
- Project Cost: $9 million
- Size: 38,000 sq. ft.; 1 floor
- Start Date: April 1, 2014
Meeting Community Need, Increasing Access, Expanding Services
There is no room at the present Baldwin Health Center to add new medical providers or to expand services, nor does the building permit efficient utilization of resources, impeding workflow, despite multiple facility reconfiguration projects over the years. Baldwin staff serves more than 6,100 unduplicated medical, dental, and behavioral health patients in just 12,000 square feet of available space. There are too few exam rooms to meet current standards. Only three rooms can accommodate a patient in a wheelchair. Having been constructed prior to the use of electronic health records (EHRs), rooms are inadequate for use of present technology. The locations of x-ray and the lab impede workflow. There is inadequate and poorly placed space for care managers, pharmacy services, behavioral health services, dental billing, patient education, group meetings, and administrative services. Many offices and patient care areas are not ADA-compliant. Patient areas are too small, and building mechanical functions are insufficient.
With 38,000 square feet of space, including 27,000 square feet dedicated to the care of patients, the new facility will be designed to improve upon current needs while anticipating future growth. It will improve access, provide room for provider and service expansion, and permit full integration of primary care and behavioral health services on-site. Access for new patients is especially critical with the anticipated increase of more than 1,000 patients newly eligible for Medicaid. Patient registration will be centralized for a single point of entry. Expanded services will include obstetrics, women’s health, chronic disease management, integrated behavioral health, a drive-through pharmacy, a Medicaid eligibility office, health education, navigation, medication management, and a community center that will encourage year-round activity for families. A space lease arrangement will be implemented for the offices of the local community mental health agency. The building will be fully ADA-compliant. The new Health Center also will serve as a symbol for community transformation, from a “poor man’s clinic” to a state-of-the-art Health Center geared to changing the way rural health care is accessed and delivered.
Reaching Special Populations
Individuals from many high-risk populations live in Lake County, with large percentages of seniors, individuals living in poverty, and those who are suffering from obesity, diabetes, substance use, and/or other unhealthy behaviors. The Health Center is located adjacent to Hollister Manor, Lake County’s only public housing. The county’s senior population exceeds 26%, more than 10 percentage points higher than the state average. More than half of Lake County’s population, where Baldwin is located, live below the poverty level; more than 90% of the school district’s children are eligible for free and reduced-price lunches. Lake County, known for its recreational activities, sees its population quadruple during the spring and summer. This places additional stress on walk-in and urgent care services, since the Health Center is the only source for primary care services in a 40-mile radius. The nearest hospital emergency room is more than 20 miles away.
Program Innovation / Model of Delivery
Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) principles and full integration of behavioral health and primary care are essential elements of BFHC’s care delivery model. The patient care area will be designed around work pods to accommodate a multidisciplinary team—primary care provider, behavioral health care professional, health coach, and care manager. The work space of behavioral health professionals and care managers will be embedded in the medical corridors for improved access to primary care providers, support staff, and patients. The building will be hard-wired for current and future uses of technology, such as Telehealth. New space will make possible needed improvements in patient education.
Community Collaboration / Service Integration
BFHC is committed to actively collaborating with community partners and to reaching out to those in need. Active partnerships have been formed with the Local District 10 Health Department, 5CAP Head Start program, and the three Spectrum Health hospitals in adjacent counties for direct patient care and wrap around services. BFHC now partners with the local community mental health agency for supervision of its behavioral health staff. The new facility will include office space leased to community mental health, strengthening an already positive collaborative relationship. The new facility will also allow BFHC to expand its work with agencies that serve area seniors through a new community room and community wellness center.
Innovation in Design
Construction will be completed following Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) principles. Measures will be implemented to lessen the consumption of water, such as the use of low-flow wash basins and toilets. The overall efficiency of this building will significantly lower energy consumption. Systems will be commissioned to establish a measurable usage of energy and effectively take steps to lessen consumption for the life-cycle of the building. Preference will be given to construction materials with high recycled content. An air quality management plan will be implemented.
Impact on Social Determinants of Health
The new facility will allow BFHC to make an immediate, positive impact on the health disparities caused by poverty and lack of access to needed health care services. The expansion of its one-stop model of care—primary care, pharmacy services, behavioral health care, dental care, benefit enrollment assistance, care management, education, and exercise classes under one roof—will greatly improve access. New health initiatives targeted to those with low incomes will enhance the safety net of health services for the poor. New initiatives in education and support programs will improve self-management of issues that lead to cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
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