Alcona Health Centers (AHC) has been accredited by The Joint Commission. It is a Federally Qualified health Center (FQHC). Its network of health care and dental clinics is situated in northeastern Michigan in Alcona, Alpena, and Iosco counties, and in northwestern Michigan in Emmet County. It is a designated Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH), an approach to providing comprehensive primary care for children, youth, and adults. AHC is planning for the expansion and renovation of its Alpena Services site; renovation and reconfiguration of 17,200 square feet, and a 3,200 square feet addition extending from the southwest side of the existing building. Dental operatories will be increased from five to eight. It will also provide for the expansion of the CLIA waived medical lab, space for nurses’ stations, consolidation of pharmacy services, and add a suite for a child advocacy center—the only one in Northeast Michigan. The project will also include needed upgrades to plumbing, HVAC, electrical, media systems, the installation of a generator and three windmills improving operational efficiencies and reducing energy consumption. It will also provide improved patient flow and system of care efficiencies.
- Location: 1185 US-23 North, Alpena, MI 49707
- Contact: Chris Baumgardner, Executive Director | 989.736.3020 x9868; Cynthia Swise, Administrative Operations Director | 989.736.9867
- Project Cost: $3.7 million
- Size: 17,200 sq. ft. renovated; 3,200 new construction; 1 floor
Meeting Community Need, Increasing Access, Expanding Services
Annually, over 10,000 AHC patients present with chronic disease. The Alpena service area has one of the highest percentages of elderly in the state at 20% versus 13% of Michigan. Having one of the most depressed economies in the state, available health care resources are limited, particularly for the poor and uninsured, and nearly three quarters (74%) of the AHC population has income below 200% of the federal poverty level; primarily the poor and working poor without benefits. Over half of AHC patients are either uninsured or depend on Medicaid for health benefits. The expansion of this facility will allow for the expansion of capacity of existing services including chronic care management utilizing the Wagner Chronic Care Model within the context of the patient centered medical home, delivering team based care with self-management support.
Reaching Special Populations
ACH intends to provide expanded services to help abused children for a 21 county area, in cooperation with the Northeast Michigan Children’s Behavioral Health Initiate. AHC’s facility expansion will provide a child advocacy center including forensic exam, interview and observation rooms in the Alpena building. Prior to AHC’s involvement interviews were done in police suspect interrogation rooms. The AHC also has large numbers of medically underserved patients with incomes below 200% of poverty with limited or no benefits. It provides care to all regardless of ability to pay via a sliding fee scale discount program adjusting fees to patients’ family size and income. It also provides case management, assisting patients in their qualification for benefits.
AHC has a large population with chronic diseases and conditions. In response it provides comprehensive primary care employing a number of quality programs including the Wagner Chronic Disease Model; team-based care of the Person-Centered Medical Home; patient self-management support and quality programs included in its relationship with HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration and local public health.
Program Innovation / Model of Delivery
AHC is a Health Center funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration. It utilizes the Health Center model of providing comprehensive, quality primary care in federally designated medically underserved areas (MUAs) and to medically underserved populations (MUAs). It utilizes a unique delivery model. It is a nonprofit corporation governed by a community board of directors, the majority of which are patients of the Health Center. It utilizes a team-based, comprehensive approach to care. It provides enabling services to enable access and effective use of its services to improve outcomes, including case management and benefit assistance, self-management support, transportation assistance, and more. AHCs’ and FQHCs’ model clearly was the template for the patient centered medical home (PCMH). It is also certified as a patient centered medical home.
Community Collaboration / Service Integration
As noted above, AHC is a community organization that works in concert with other organizations and agencies. It has over a 25 year relationship with Alpena Regional Medical Center. It is part of the local Human Services Collaboration Council and the Northeast Michigan Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative. It has collaborations with Northeast Michigan Community Services Agency, Northeast Michigan Community Mental Health, Thunder Bay Community Health Services, Alpena Department of Human Services, District Health Department #4 and others.
Innovation in Design
Three windmills will be erected for power generation, reducing demand on the power grid. Planned design features and upgrades will also reduce building energy consumption. The renovation of the existing structure and new construction will be done in accordance with green/sustainable design principles.
Impact on Social Determinants of Health
- Contribution to job creation: As is true of most Health Centers in rural communities, AHC is an economic anchor in its community providing 210 stable, well-paying jobs with benefits. This project will generate several construction jobs and one full-time and one part-time job.
- Increased access to healthy food: AHC plans dedicated staff to provide regularly scheduled primary care group appointments to educate patients in healthy eating and lifestyle practices. These are relatively low cost approaches that improve health and reduce dependence on medication therapy for many conditions.
- Integration with, contribution to community development: Improved transit options – AHC also provides transportation assistance to patients in need.
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