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News Archive: 2013
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Michigan Health Centers Receive New Funding to Help Uninsured Americans Gain Affordable Health Coverage

December 12, 2013 | Yesterday the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $58 million in funding to support 1,157 Health Centers across the country working to enroll uninsured Americans in health insurance coverage options made available by the Affordable Care Act.

"Having more opportunities for face-to-face enrollment assistance from trusted resources at local health centers means that more people will get the help they need to sign up by the end of the open enrollment period on March 31, 2014,” said Mary Wakefield, PhD, RN, Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration.

In Michigan, 31 Health Centers will use $2.01 million in additional funds to expand their outreach and enrollment programs to accommodate more Michiganders who are seeking assistance to learn about new options and enroll in health insurance plans. This funding will enable Michigan Health Centers designated as Certified Application Counselor organizations to better meet immediate needs by expanding hours of available assistance and recruiting additional temporary outreach and enrollment assisters to help enroll currently uninsured Michigan residents.

"We appreciate the increased investment to help continue building strong outreach and enrollment programs at Health Centers in Michigan. This attests to the high-quality level of customer service they are already providing to uninsured individuals and families across the state,” said Kim Sibilsky, Chief Executive Officer, Michigan Primary Care Association. "As experts in the field, Michigan Health Centers will use the additional funding to bolster outreach and enrollment staff, and increase the hours they are available, to assist even more people who are most in need of affordable care through the Health Insurance Marketplace.”

Michiganders who need assistance in learning more about their options and enrolling in coverage are encouraged to contact their local Health Center. They are also encouraged to text "InfoMI” to 69866 to receive text message updates about health insurance coverage options or to locate an assister in their area.

To read the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services press release about yesterday’s funding announcement, please click here.


HHS Announces it Will Issue Funding Opportunity to Help Health Centers Establish or Expand Behavioral Health Services

December 10, 2013 | The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it plans to issue a $50 million funding opportunity announcement to help Health Centers establish or expand behavioral health services for people living with mental illness, and drug and alcohol problems. Community Health Centers will be able to use these new funds, made available through the Affordable Care Act, for efforts such as hiring new mental health and substance use disorder professionals, adding mental health and substance use disorder services, and employing team-based models of care. It is estimated these awards will support behavioral health expansion in approximately 200 existing Health Centers nationwide.

For more information about basic signs of mental health problems, how to talk about mental health, and how to find help, please visit www.mentalhealth.gov.

To read the full press release, please click here.


MPCA Announces Michigan Health Centers Selected to Participate in Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net Initiative

December 5, 2013 | Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA) is pleased to announce that, through a technical review of proposals, Baldwin Family Health Care, The Wellness Plan Medical Centers, Traverse Health Clinic, and Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center have been selected to participate in the Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net Initiative through funding from the DentaQuest Foundation. These four Health Centers will receive in-depth technical assistance from Safety Net Solutions (SNS) over the next two years to assist in making improvements in their organizations’ dental programs.

"MPCA is appreciative of the support from the DentaQuest Foundation to address challenges that Health Centers, as safety net providers, face in providing comprehensive primary and preventive health care services. Through participation in the Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net Initiative, these Michigan Health Centers will receive invaluable assistance in strengthening and enhancing their oral health services so they are prepared to care for the ever-growing number of people seeking care,” said Diane Rydahl, RDA, Clinical Specialist, MPCA.

Dental programs that have partnered with SNS in the past and have successfully implemented practice enhancement strategies have seen tremendous improvements in oral health outcomes, access, and finances. This is the second year of funding that MPCA has received from the DentaQuest Foundation to provide resource to support oral health activities among Michigan Health Centers through the Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net Initiative. The following Michigan Health Centers participated in the first year of MPCA’s Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net Initiative through funding from the DentaQuest Foundation: Alcona Health Centers, Cassopolis Family Clinic, Covenant Community Care, Thunder Bay Community Health Service, InterCare Community Health Network.

About DentaQuest Foundation
The DentaQuest Foundation was established in 2000 with a mission to support and promote optimal oral health. The Foundation collaborates with partners in communities across the United States, connecting key stakeholders, raising awareness, and supporting solutions. It invests in programs and initiatives that positively impact public policy that supports improved oral health; increased public and private funding for oral health initiatives; improvement in the delivery of oral health care and prevention; and expanded community engagement on oral health issues. For more information, please visit www.dentaquestfoundation.org.


Rural Safety Net Providers, Hospitals Invited to Participate in Health IT Funding Workshop December 5

November 25, 2013 | With support from Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Michigan Primary Care Association is participating with the Michigan State Office of Rural Development, Michigan Center for Rural Health, M-CEITA, Michigan Health Information Network, and Hospital Council of East Central Michigan to launch a rural health information technology (IT) funding initiative in Michigan. The goal of the initiative is to expand funding for rural health IT to rural hospitals, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) in Michigan to address a broad range of funding needs, including mobile health, Telehealth, and electronic health record technology.

Leadership at rural hospitals, FQHCs, and RHCs in Michigan are invited to participate in a one-day Michigan Health IT Funding Workshop on December 5, 2013, at Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. This free, interactive workshop will bring together IT experts and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/USDA funding partners to link rural safety net providers and hospitals with funding programs to help them invest in the technology to invest in the their health systems. Click here for the agenda and registration form. Click here to register online.

In order to maximize the workshop’s effectiveness, each attendee is encouraged to complete a Healthcare Facility Needs Survey for each facility they represent. Completed surveys should be returned to the Michigan Center for Rural Health via email (crystal.barter@hc.msu.edu) or fax (517.432.0007). The survey is also available online.


MPCA, NACHC Submit Comments on CMS' Proposed Medicare PPS Rule

November 22, 2013 | Last week MPCA submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the proposed rule establishing a Medicare Prospective Payment System (PPS) for Federally Qualified Health Centers. The proposed rule, published in the Federal Register on September 23, would establish methodology and payment rates for a prospective payment system (PPS) for FQHC services under Medicare Part B beginning October 1, 2014, in compliance with the statutory requirement of the Affordable Care Act. The comments addressed a range of issues raised by Michigan Health Centers and NACHC including PPS payment rate calculation, same-day visits, charge parity, future payment inflation factors, the PPS implementation schedule, and Medicare billing concerns. When CMS issues the final PPS rule MPCA will provide further guidance for Michigan Health Centers on implementation next steps.

Click here to read MPCA's comments. Click here to read NACHC's comments.


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Awards Funding to Expand Access to Care at Nine New Health Center Sites in Michigan

November 7, 2013 | Today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $150 million in funding under the Affordable Care Act to support 236 new Health Center sites across the country, expanding access to health care to more than 1.25 million additional patients nationwide.

Fiscal Year 2014 New Access Point grants totaling $6,251,320 are awarded to nine organizations in Michigan: Cherry Street Health Services (Grand Rapids), Community Mental Health Services of St. Joseph County (Centreville), Covenant Community Care (Detroit), Detroit Central City Community Mental Health (Detroit), Health Delivery, Inc. (Saginaw), Cassopolis Family Clinic (Cassopolis), MyCare Health Center (Mount Clemens), Traverse Health Clinic (Traverse City), and Western Wayne Family Health Centers (Inkster). With this funding these organizations will be able to provide care to a proposed additional 42,210 Michigan residents.

Michigan Health Centers are currently health care homes for more than 600,000 people across the state. Health care teams at over 230 Michigan Health Center sites provide medical, dental, and behavioral health care services, regardless of insurance status or income level. Health Center staff also help patients overcome barriers to accessing care by providing support services such as transportation and translation. Outreach and enrollment assisters are also helping connect uninsured residents with new affordable health insurance coverage options.

"This tremendous investment to bring new Health Centers to Michigan is greatly appreciated. Not only will it help ensure more Michigan residents have access to quality, affordable primary and preventive care, it will also create new jobs and boost local economies,” said Kim Sibilsky, Chief Executive Officer, Michigan Primary Care Association. "The Health Center mission is to ensure everyone can get the health care they need, where they need it and when they need it, and this new funding is one more step toward achieving that mission.”

Click here to read the HHS press release about the funding announcement.


THANK YOU for Signing & Circulating 'Fix the Cliff' Petition

November, 4, 2013 | At the close of the October 31 deadline, the online 'fix the cliff' petition had garnered 15,950 signatures, and 19,907 supporters had signed hardcopy petitions. That puts the total number of signatures at 35,857—over the 25,000 goal—and the number of signatures on hardcopies is still being tallied! The final total will be announced this week. Thank you to the 1,637 folks from Michigan who signed the petition in support of Health Centers, and to those who circulated the petition to ask others to sign. Exceeding the goal of collecting 25,000 signatures in October is expected to earn a response from the White House about how the Administration plans to fix the looming Health Center funding cliff. The next focus will be educating Congress about the need to fix the cliff—so NACHC is asking that we continue collecting petition signatures well into the new year and that Health Centers plan to present hard copies to their Members of Congress at a later date. This is similar to the petition drive NACHC spearheaded through the Campaign for America’s Health Centers back in 2011-2012 to protect Health Center funding. Michigan Health Centers generated a tremendous number of signatures and then presented them to their Members of Congress while in Washington, DC, for the Policy & Issues Forum that year. We can do it again!!


Governor Snyder Proclaims November Hire a Veteran Month

November 1, 2013 | Governor Rick Snyder has declared November as Hire a Veteran Month in Michigan and announced a series of upcoming career fairs for veterans taking place in Wyoming (Nov. 4), Ishpeming (Nov. 5), Lansing (Nov. 6), Saginaw (Nov. 7), and Detroit (Nov. 8). He urges Michigan employers to consider veterans when making hiring decisions and help returning veterans make the transition from military service to employment. You may recall that in October 2011, President Obama challenged HRSA-supported Health Centers across the nation to hire 8,000 veterans by 2014—approximately 1 veteran per Health Center site. Earlier this year NACHC produced three fact sheets that showcase the opportunities for employment at Health Centers. These documents were produced as part of a joint initiative between the White House, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and NACHC. MPCA's Workforce Development Specialist, Kimberly Benjamin, is available to assist Health Centers with their recruitment and retention needs.


CMS Hosting Special Open Door Forum on Medicare PPS Proposed Rule

November 1, 2013 | The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is hosting a special open door forum conference call next Monday, November 4, 2013, at 2-3 pm ET to discuss Proposed Rule CMS-1443-P: Medicare Prospective Payment System for Federally Qualified Health Centers. The proposed rule, published in the Federal Register on September 23, would establish methodology and payment rates for a prospective payment system (PPS) for FQHC services under Medicare Part B beginning October 1, 2014, in compliance with the statutory requirement of the Affordable Care Act. Click here for more information about the proposed rule, including the open door forum call-in number and instructions for submitting comments.


MPCA's CEO Serving on Michigan's Public Health Code Review Advisory Committee

October 25, 2013 | In his 2011 health and wellness message, Governor Rick Snyder called on the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) to review the Public Health Code of Michigan—the regulatory framework for health care in our state. Since the Code was originally enacted 35 years ago, amendments and repeals have been passed to ensure it continues to protect the health and wellness of Michigan residents, but there has not been a review of the Code in its entirety. This past summer an Advisory Committee was assembled to begin the review and recommendation process, and MPCA's CEO Kim Sibilsky was selected to serve on the committee. The committee is currently accepting input from stakeholders and the public for improving the Public Health Code. The deadline for submitting comments is December 13, 2013. The committee will review and analyze the comments, prioritize areas of concern, and develop a set of recommendations as to which parts of the Public Health Code would benefit from a more in-depth review in the future. It will then present its recommendations to MDCH Director Haveman and Governor Snyder in Spring 2014. Click here for more information about the Public Health Code review project and to submit comments.


Deadline to Apply for Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net Initiative Extended to Oct. 31

October 21, 2013 | MPCA is pleased to have received a second year of funding from the DentaQuest Foundation to provide resource to support oral health activities among Michigan Health Centers through the Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net Initiative (SOHSN). We are accepting applications through October 31 from Michigan Health Centers interested in participating in this initiative designed to increase access to oral health care.

Through this funding, five Michigan Health Centers will receive in-depth practice management technical assistance from Safety Net Solutions (SNS) that is valued at $45,000. SNS will assess all aspects of the participating Health Centers’ dental programs, including operations and systems, finances, and quality. SNS consultants will make recommendations for practice improvement, and will partner with the Health Centers for 2 years to assist in making improvements in their dental programs. Dental programs that have partnered with SNS in the past and have successfully implemented practice enhancement strategies have seen tremendous improvements in oral health outcomes, access, and finances. Michigan Health Centers in the process of assessment and development of new dental programs are encouraged to participate.

Participating Michigan Health Centers will also receive additional benefits:

  • Complementary organizational membership ($350 value) to the National Network for Oral Health Access (NNOHA) for 2014
  • Access to a broad base of knowledge and expertise through multiple state Primary Care Associations, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), and NNOHA
  • Support from an active peer group of safety net dental programs also receiving technical assistance through the Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net Initiative

Selected participants will be expected not only to participate fully in the Safety Net Solutions assessment, but also to participate in larger group activities including:

  • Attend one in-person meeting (at the 2014 National Primary Oral Health Conference)
  • Participate in 5-6 webinars annually
  • Participate in the initiative evaluation process by completing two surveys throughout the year
  • Send Health Center dental director to participate in one focus group during the year
  • Share data and findings with MPCA

The technical assistance through SNS that participating Michigan Health Centers will receive is extensive and requires a commitment in time and resources from the Health Center. Only Health Centers that are able to demonstrate the following criteria will be considered for selection:

  • Ability to collect practice-related financial and operational data in a timely manner
  • Willingness to dedicate significant time to the project (including time collecting data as well as time making program improvements)
  • Willingness to designate a project leader that will accept responsibility for data collection and ensure project timelines and deliverables are met

The SOHSN initiative is a tremendous opportunity for growth and improvement of a Health Center’s dental program. Click here for the application. The application deadline has been extended until the end of October 2013. Applications are now due by October 31, 2013.


MPCA Launches Electronic Health Record/Electronic Dental Record User Groups

October 17, 2013 | With a strong focus on data driven quality, and the end goal of Meaningful Use (MU) and Quality Improvement (QI), MPCA's Michigan Quality Improvement Network (MQIN) recently launched peer-to-peer Electronic Health Record (EHR)/Electronic Dental Record (EDR) User Groups. Health Center clinicians, IT professionals, and administrators are encouraged to join the NextGen, SuccessEHS, eClinicalWorks, Dentrix, and/or QSi user groups to share information and troubleshoot challenges with their colleagues from Health Centers across the state who are using the same EHR/EDR. MQIN is proud to partner with DentaQuest Foundation and the MidWest Clinicians' Network in facilitating the user groups. For more information and to join, go to mpca.net/usergroups or contact Diane Rydahl at drydahl@mpca.net or 517.827.0486, or Faiyaz Syed at fsyed@mpca.net or 517.827.0887.


Michigan Health Centers Ready to Connect Individuals, Families with New Health Insurance Options

October 1, 2013 | As of today, October 1, Michigan’s new Health Insurance Marketplace is open, giving hundreds of thousands of state residents the opportunity to get health insurance coverage for themselves and their families. Having insurance coverage is a critical part of being able to access quality, coordinated health care that is affordable and timely.

"For nearly 50 years, Health Centers have served as health care homes for local communities by providing comprehensive primary and preventive care at a price that patients can afford. Now Health Centers that are also serving as Certified Application Counselor organizations are trained to help patients and local residents apply for newly-available health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace,” said Kim Sibilsky, Chief Executive Officer, Michigan Primary Care Association.

The Health Insurance Marketplace provides those who are uninsured, or who buy their own coverage, a new way to shop for and apply for health insurance. While the new Healthy Michigan plan – the state’s expanded Medicaid program – is not currently open for enrollment, it is expected to be available around April 1 of next year for the 450,000 or so working Michigan adults who qualify.

Michiganders who need assistance understanding and applying for the health insurance options now available are encouraged to contact their local Health Center for assistance. Michigan Health Centers trained as Certified Application Counselor organizations serve as local resources where their patients and fellow community members can get help understanding and applying for coverage.

"As always, the goal of Health Centers is 100% access to comprehensive, affordable, quality care. They, in collaboration with local, state, and national partners, are ready to connect individuals and families to insurance options that are best for them,” said Sibilsky.

To apply, individuals should visit www.healthcare.gov and review the application and coverage options in more detail. For more assistance, consumers can call the Marketplace’s health care hotline at 1.800.318.2596, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They can also contact their local Health Center and schedule an appointment for one-on-one application assistance.

MPCA Accepting Applications for Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net Initiative

September 26, 2013 | MPCA is pleased to have received a second year of funding from the DentaQuest Foundation to provide resource to support oral health activities among Michigan Health Centers through the Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net Initiative (SOHSN). We are accepting applications through October 18 from Michigan Health Centers interested in participating in this initiative designed to increase access to oral health care.

Through this funding, five Michigan Health Centers will receive in-depth practice management technical assistance from Safety Net Solutions (SNS) that is valued at $45,000. SNS will assess all aspects of the participating Health Centers’ dental programs, including operations and systems, finances, and quality. SNS consultants will make recommendations for practice improvement, and will partner with the Health Centers for 2 years to assist in making improvements in their dental programs. Dental programs that have partnered with SNS in the past and have successfully implemented practice enhancement strategies have seen tremendous improvements in oral health outcomes, access, and finances. Michigan Health Centers in the process of assessment and development of new dental programs are encouraged to participate.

Participating Michigan Health Centers will also receive additional benefits:

  • Complementary organizational membership ($350 value) to the National Network for Oral Health Access (NNOHA) for 2014
  • Access to a broad base of knowledge and expertise through multiple state Primary Care Associations, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), and NNOHA
  • Support from an active peer group of safety net dental programs also receiving technical assistance through the Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net Initiative

Selected participants will be expected not only to participate fully in the Safety Net Solutions assessment, but also to participate in larger group activities including:

  • Attend one in-person meeting (at the 2014 National Primary Oral Health Conference)
  • Participate in 5-6 webinars annually
  • Participate in the initiative evaluation process by completing two surveys throughout the year
  • Send Health Center dental director to participate in one focus group during the year
  • Share data and findings with MPCA

The technical assistance through SNS that participating Michigan Health Centers will receive is extensive and requires a commitment in time and resources from the Health Center. Only Health Centers that are able to demonstrate the following criteria will be considered for selection:

  • Ability to collect practice-related financial and operational data in a timely manner
  • Willingness to dedicate significant time to the project (including time collecting data as well as time making program improvements)
  • Willingness to designate a project leader that will accept responsibility for data collection and ensure project timelines and deliverables are met

The SOHSN initiative is a tremendous opportunity for growth and improvement of a Health Center’s dental program. Click here for the application. Applications are due by October 18, 2013.

 

Health Centers Across Michigan Helping to Increase Health Insurance Awareness and Enroll Newly Eligible

September 17, 2013 | In just two weeks, people across the country will begin to access affordable health insurance through the new health insurance marketplace, and Michigan’s Health Centers are training and preparing to help link Michigan residents with new coverage options.

More than 175 Health Center outreach and enrollment staff members are becoming Certified Application Counselors (CACs) to learn how best to assist their patients and community members in understanding the Marketplace and enrolling in a health plan; many already assist their patients with applications for Medicaid, CHIP, prescription assistance and more.

"The Affordable Care Act and Healthy Michigan Plan combined will help hundreds of thousands of our neighbors have a way to access health care they can afford,” said Michigan Primary Care Association CEO, Kim Sibilsky. "As they seek information about programs, they’ll turn to trusted sources in the community, and our Health Centers stand ready to be that trusted resource and provide hands-on assistance in the community.”

The Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010, provides tax credits for working individuals and establishes the Health Insurance Marketplace for consumers to buy private insurance. Health insurance plans in the Marketplace, which opens on October 1, are required to cover basic things like preventive care, maternity care, prescriptions, and emergency care, as well as other essential health benefits. The Healthy Michigan Plan, signed into law yesterday by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, reforms and expands Medicaid to Michiganders earning up to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. Coverage in both plans will begin in 2014.

Governor Snyder held a press conference yesterday to sign the legislation and recognize lawmakers and coalition members who worked on creating the plan and getting it passed by the Michigan legislature. Snyder said the thousands of people seeking care in emergency rooms often do so when a condition is out of control and more expensive to treat.

"Finally we had the opportunity to do something about it, to step up and say they deserved a better answer,” Snyder said.

Snyder said that the work wasn’t finished with just the passing of this legislation and it will take health care workers to make sure people are educated on their coverage options, understand their personal responsibilities and work toward wellness.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department awarded 31 Michigan Health Centers funds to hire nearly 70 new outreach and enrollment workers. Those workers, combined with the more than 100 already working at Health Centers across the state, are already helping their communities by promoting information on how to prepare for the impending health care changes. Trained Health Centers along with Navigators and other assisters will be listed on HealthCare.Gov so Michigan residents can access in-person help in their community.

"Our Health Center outreach and enrollment workers have spent the past several months creating outreach plans that will benefit their communities,” Sibilsky said. "As we work toward a healthier Michigan, people throughout the state can benefit from the teams on the ground at Health Centers – from education and enrollment assistance to clinical services.”

More information on the Insurance Marketplace can be found at www.healthcare.gov, and www.enrollamerica.org

 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Awards Funding for New Health
Center Delivery Site in Michigan, Expanding Access to Care

September 13, 2013 | Today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $67 million in funding to support 32 new Health Center delivery sites across the country and to expand access to care at existing Health Centers.

Among the Health Centers receiving New Access Point funding is Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center located in Marquette County of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. With this funding they will be able to provide care to 3,750 additional people in Houghton County, an area of the state that is significantly underserved and lacks an adequate number of primary care providers.

In addition to the $19 million in new access point funding made available by the Affordable Care Act, HHS awarded $48 million to nearly 1,200 of the nation’s Health Centers – including 32 Michigan Health Centers – to support their ongoing operations and quality improvement activities.

"Michigan Health Centers currently serve as health care homes for over 600,000 individuals across the state, yet too many of our fellow Michiganders still lack access to primary care. We are very appreciative of today’s investment that will help more of our neighbors be able to get the care they need when and where they need it,” said Kim Sibilsky, Chief Executive Officer, Michigan Primary Care Association.

Michigan Health Centers operate over 220 health care delivery sites in communities across the state, providing medical, dental, and behavioral health care regardless of insurance status or income level. They also help patients overcome barriers to accessing care by providing support services such as transportation, translation, and health insurance enrollment assistance.

 

MPCA Community HealthCorps Program Seeking Host Sites for Community Health Navigators

September 10, 2013 | The MPCA Community HealthCorps program is still seeking host sites for AmeriCorps members to serve as Community Health Navigators. Members will provide non-clinical support to individuals addressing barriers to access as determined by the host site. Barriers may include communication and information barriers, financial and enrollment barriers, and other systemic barriers. Organizations seeking to host AmeriCorps member(s) may apply by completing our online application no later than Friday, September 20, 2013. Our initial cohort of 20 members will be starting service October 16, 2013, with an additional 20 members to begin service at a later date. Click here for more information about the Community HealthCorps program.

 

MPCA Submits Comments on Draft PIN Regarding Health Center Budgeting & Accounting Requirements

September 6, 2013 | MPCA recently submitted comments to the Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) on Draft Policy Information Notice (PIN) 2013-01, Health Center Budgeting & Accounting Requirements. This PIN proposes new regulations regarding the expenditure of non-grant funds by Health Centers. MPCA consulted with national partners and Michigan's Health Centers to prepare the comments for consideration. Click here to read the comments in their entirety as submitted to BPHC.

 

Thank You to Supporters Who Advocated for Medicaid Expansion

September 6, 2013 | The road to legislative approval of Medicaid expansion in Michigan was long, and the perseverance of grassroots advocates cannot be understated. THANK YOU to everyone who called, emailed, and met with their state Legislators once, twice, and many more times to discuss the critical importance of expanding insurance coverage to those most in need. From the first action alert that MPCA sent to advocates in March asking them to take action, to the final action alert sent a week ago, over 1,400 individuals sent more than 2,550 emails to their state Legislators through MPCA's online advocacy center and many calls were made. Have you signed up on the MPCA website to receive action alerts through our advocacy center? If not, please sign up today. Telling your elected officials your opinion about issues and legislation impacting Health Centers and access to health care can make a difference, and collectively when we all send the same message that message is amplified. Again, thank you for your advocacy!

 

MPCA CEO's Response to Final Passage by State House of House Bill 4714 to Reform, Expand Medicaid

September 3, 2013 | The following statement is from Michigan Primary Care Association’s Chief Executive Officer Kim Sibilsky as it relates to the final passage of House Bill 4714 by the Michigan House on September 3, 2013.

Today, September 3 the Michigan House of Representatives voted to concur with the Senate version of House Bill 4714 passed last week, giving final and bi-partisan legislative approval to reform and expand Michigan’s Medicaid program.

Extending insurance coverage to those most in need is a monumental achievement for our state that will benefit more than 470,000 working adults who currently lack health coverage, as well as Michigan taxpayers and employers. Michigan Primary Care Association applauds Governor Snyder and the leadership of both houses for ensuring more Michigan residents have increased access to health care. We commend the state Legislature for thoroughly studying this critical issue to better understand the options available to Michigan for accomplishing this objective that will save Michigan lives and money.

Michigan’s Federally Qualified Health Centers stand ready and are eager to provide affordable, patient-centered primary and preventive care to those soon to be eligible for Medicaid, and to serve as their health care home. Currently, Health Centers serve over 600,000 Michigan residents, and their doors are open to all regardless of insurance status or income level.

Health Centers have joined with partners across the state in a coordinated effort to find and educate people who will become eligible for coverage, not only through Medicaid but through the health insurance marketplace, as well. Outreach and enrollment staff located in Michigan communities will provide hands-on enrollment assistance to connect Michiganders to affordable health insurance coverage that is right for them.

 

MPCA CEO's Response to Senate Passage of House Bill 4714 to Reform, Expand Medicaid

August 27, 2013 | The following statement is from Michigan Primary Care Association’s Chief Executive Officer Kim Sibilsky as it relates to the passage of House Bill 4714 by the Michigan Senate on August 27, 2013.

Michigan Primary Care Association commends the Michigan Senate for passing the Healthy Michigan Plan (HB 4714) to extend health insurance coverage to more low-income working adults who are currently uninsured in our state. By having coverage these individuals will benefit from increased access to primary and preventive health care, which, in turn, will generate healthier families, healthier communities, and a healthier Michigan.

This bipartisan vote is one more step toward ensuring all residents have access to affordable, patient-centered health care, and one that will produce economic benefits for Michigan taxpayers, employers, and the state budget for years to come. We urge the state House to concur with Senate-passed House Bill 4714 as soon as is possible so these benefits can be realized.

On behalf of Michigan’s Health Centers and the more than 600,000 patients they currently serve, thank you to Governor Rick Snyder and the Michigan Legislature for thoroughly studying this critical issue to better understand the options available to Michigan for increasing access to health care. Their actions to accomplish this objective will save Michigan lives and money.

 

Behavioral Health/Primary Care Integration Conference Sponsorship Opportunities Available

August 27, 2013 | MPCA is hosting the 3rd Behavioral Health/Primary Care Integration Conference on Wednesday, November 20, 2013, at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Sponsorships are now being accepted and we’re excited to announce that we will be able to provide an exhibit area this year. Click here for the Sponsorship Form. Also, the Save the Date is now online - the tentative agenda will be posted soon, so make sure to check back often for more details and watch for online registration to open in the near future.

 

Four Michigan Organizations Awarded HHS Navigator Grant Funding

August 15, 2013 | Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced on August 15 a total of $67 million in grant awards to 105 Navigator grant applicants in Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces. Navigators will serve as an in-person resource for those who want unbiased information about health insurance, and would like help in shopping for and enrolling in plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace beginning this fall, qualified health plans, and public programs including Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. Four organizations from Michigan are among the grantees: Community Bridges Management Inc., Arab Community Center for Economic & Social Services, American Indian Health & Family Services of Southeast Michigan, and Michigan Consumers for Healthcare. American Indian Health & Family Services of Southeast Michigan is a nonprofit health organization located in Detroit and an MPCA member. It will use the funds to host educational forums, develop publications, provide self-service kiosks, and hire expert personnel able to assist consumers. The Michigan Consumers for Healthcare network, which includes MPCA and several Michigan Health Centers, will provide services in 10 regions in the state and Tribal Health Centers to assist low-income, vulnerable populations.

 

Michigan Health Centers Celebrate National Health Center Week 2013

August 11, 2013 | Michigan Health Centers are marking National Health Center Week 2013 (NHCW) by hosting nearly 50 events across the state as part of a weeklong campaign (August 11-17) to raise awareness of the accomplishments of America’s Health Centers as local solutions for affordable and accessible health care. Read more

 

MPCA Recognizes Michigan Health Center Staff, Board Members, Partners for Exemplary Service

August 8, 2013 | During the 2013 MPCA Annual Conference (#MPCAC13) held August 4-6 at Crysal Mountain Resort, MPCA recognized Michigan Health Center staff, board members, and partners for exemplary service impacting patients. The awards breakfast is a tradition of the MPCA Annual Conference. Click here for a list of this year's award winners in the categories of legacy of leadership, board member of the year, clinician of the year, nursing leadership, advocate of the year, finance director of the year, peer leadership, distinguished service, and Michigan health care media. Thank you to all of the winners for their commitment and dedication!

 

New Board President and President-Elect Join MPCA's Board of Directors Executive Committee

August 8, 2013 | During the August 2013 meeting of the MPCA Board of Directors, President Anthony King handed the gavel over to the new President Joseph Ferguson of Advantage Health Centers, and the Board of Directors elected Denise Crawford of Family Health Center, Inc. as President-elect. Donald Simila of Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center was re-appointed as Treasurer. MPCA thanks Anthony King of The Wellness Plan Medical Centers for his guidance and leadership over the past four years, two years as president and two years as president-elect. Ferguson, Crawford, and Simila join the other members of the executive committee: Mary Middleton of Cassopolis Family Clinic as Secretary, Marcia Gibbard of East Jordan Family Health Center as Health Center Board Member Committee Chair, and David Brown of Family Medical Center of Michigan as Health Center Board Member Committee Chair-elect.

 

MPCA Honors MDCH Director James Haveman for Leadership in Improving Health of Michigan Residents

August 8, 2013 | Each year MPCA presents its premier Legacy of Leadership Award to an individual whose tremendous leadership has significantly impacted Michigan Health Center patients, the medically underserved, and local communities. During the MPCA Annual Conference held August 4-6, 2013, at Crystal Mountain Resort, MPCA recognized Michigan Department of Community Health Director James Haveman with the 2013 Legacy of Leadership Award. Read more

 

Senate Committee Passes Healthy Michigan Plan, Advancing it to Full Senate

August 1, 2013 | After hearing two days of testimony this week, on July 31st the Senate Government Operations Committee passed the Senate substitute for HB 4714, the House-passed Healthy Michigan plan that calls for expanding and reforming Michigan’s Medicaid Program. The committee also passed two alternative plans for extending insurance coverage to more low-income working adults - one proposed by Senator Bruce Caswell (R-Hillsdale) called the Low-Income Health Plan, and one proposed by Senator Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) called the Patient Centered Care Act.

Senator Caswell’s plan proposes to cover only individuals with incomes below 100% of poverty, leaving those with incomes above 100% of poverty to get insurance through the health insurance marketplace. Enrollees would have to pay a premium between $5 and $20 a month and the benefits would provide ambulatory care, hospital coverage up to a cap of $35,000, pharmaceutical, mental health and substance abuse coverage, and specified outpatient hospital procedures. All of these benefits would be entirely state funded. Senator Caswell estimates that it will cost $210 per person per month.

Senator Colbeck’s plan sets up a health savings account for ALL Medicaid beneficiaries, not just the expansion population, to which the state would contribute funds. Beneficiaries would purchase a managed care product that would be licensed by the state to offer primary care and preventive services. They would also buy catastrophic coverage to cover excessive other expenses.

MPCA, along with other partners including the Michigan Department of Community Health, supports the Healthy Michigan Plan (HB 4714) and opposes the two alternative plans proposed by Senators Caswell and Colbeck. HB 4714 provides tremendous opportunities to save the state money while improving individual and population health, while the other two bills do not. Click here for the benefits of HB 4714.

All three bills now head to the full Senate for consideration. The Senate has two options – pass one of the three proposals and defeat the other two OR pass all three proposals and send them back to the House to decide which one to pass. In any event, our advocacy work must continue. All legislators will be back in their districts until the end of August, so if you see them at events or out in your community, please urge them to pass HB 4714. Click here for talking points. Watch for an action alert coming from MPCA to your email inbox before the Senate re-convenes on August 27 and be ready to call and email your Senator in support of HB 4714 one more time.

 

Senate Workgroup Releases Medicaid Reform and Expansion Proposal

July 25, 2013 | On July 24, the Senate’s bipartisan Healthy Michigan Workgroup, led by Chair Roger Kahn (R-Saginaw), announced its recommendations for expanding and reforming Michigan’s Medicaid program in a substitute bill for the House-passed HB 4714. The substitute bill (S-7) retains provisions from the House-passed bill and adds more accountability for the state, beneficiaries, and health care providers to save money, improve health, and reduce health care costs. Like the House plan, the substitute bill will require two waivers from the federal government, and it includes language allowing the state to opt out of Medicaid expansion, but not the reforms, should it choose to do so in the future.

The Senate Government Operations Committee, chaired by Majority Leader Randy Richardville, is expected to hear testimony on the substitute bill July 29-30. MPCA’s director of state policy, Doug Paterson, is prepared to testify in support of the substitute bill on behalf of MPCA and Michigan Health Centers because it:

  • Extends insurance coverage to many working adults who work in low-wage jobs and whose employers do not provide health insurance
  • Uses private sector insurance products that provide incentives for both consumers and health care providers to limit unnecessary services and costs and improve health outcomes
  • Expects persons covered by Medicaid to participate in the cost of their care
  • Takes advantage of federal revenues that are available to Michigan that will add $2 billion annually to the state budget, add $53 billion to the Michigan economy over the next 15 years, and add as many as 18,000 Michigan jobs
  • Helps hospitals, especially those in rural and underserved areas, to avoid cutbacks and closures due to uncompensated costs
  • Decreases health insurance premiums that currently subsidize the uninsured through cost shifting
  • Offers reasonably price insurance to persons who otherwise cannot afford it
  • Aims to improve the health of our state’s population that now ranks 37th nationally

The full Senate is also scheduled to meet the week of July 28, but it is unlikely that a vote on any legislation will take place until the end of August. Please continue to contact your state Senator to urge him/her to pass the substitute for HB 4714 when it comes to the Senate floor, to extend health insurance coverage to more of our low-income working neighbors across the state.

 

Ask Your Members of Congress to Co-sponsor FTCA Legislation

July 24, 2013 | Companion legislation introduced in the U.S. House and Senate – HR2703 and S955, respectively – would amend the Public Health Service Act to extend Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) malpractice coverage to all qualified health care professionals who volunteer at Health Centers. With 60 million Americans lacking access to care, this significant legislation is a no-cost solution for overcoming barriers currently preventing doctors and other health care workers from volunteering services at Health Centers. It would ultimately help Health Centers keep up with the increasing and overwhelming demand for their services. There are currently 14 co-sponsors of the House bill and 5 co-sponsors of the Senate bill (none from Michigan). More co-sponsors are needed to show strong bipartisan support for the legislation! Click here to encourage your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator to co-sponsor the Family Health Care Accessibility Act of 2013 in their chamber (HR2703 in the House and S955 in the Senate).

 

MPCA Welcomes New Clinical Team Member and Other Staff Transitions

July 19, 2013 | MPCA is pleased to welcome a new staff member, Katherine M. Voss, MPH, who will coordinate education and technical assistance for the Michigan Quality Improvement Network (MQIN). MPCA staff member Faiyaz Syed, MD, MPH, has transitioned into the role of Clinical Process Improvement Specialist for MQIN from the role of Clinical Program Specialist. His work now focuses on MQIN technical assistance, clinical services, shortage designations, and community health needs assessments. MPCA staff member Brittany Beard has transitioned into the role of Program Specialist from the role of Health Access Specialist. Her work now focuses on supporting programmatic activities, behavioral health, proposal development, monitoring grants and contracts, and serving as the Behavioral Health Network liasion. MPCA staff member Natasha Robinson, MS, is transitioning into the role of Program Specialist from the role of Communications Specialist. Her work will focus on providing educational support to the outreach and enrollment program, providing technical assistance to the Health Centers' outreach and enrollment staff, developing and maintaining resources, and serving as the Outreach & Enrollment Network staff liaison. Check out MPCA's staff page for contact information and details.

 

31 Michigan Health Centers Awarded Funds to Assist Consumers with ACA Health Insurance Enrollment

July 10, 2013 | Nearly 70 new outreach and enrollment workers will be hired at Michigan Health Centers to help enroll 100,000 uninsured Michiganders in health insurance programs, and the Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA) will receive funding to support those efforts.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funded 31 Health Centers across the state with awards ranging from $59,000 to $269,056. The Health Centers plan to hire 69 new outreach and enrollment staff and assist nearly 100,000 people with enrollment into affordable health insurance programs. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said the supplemental funding, issued by HRSA, complements and aligns with other federal efforts, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services-funded Navigator Program.

"Health Centers already are a hub in their communities for providing comprehensive primary and preventive health care, connecting residents to local resources, and much more,” said MPCA Chief Executive Officer Kim Sibilsky. "We are pleased that Michigan Health Centers will be able to hire so many outreach and enrollment workers who will infuse their local communities with hands-on help to educate Michiganders about the Affordable Care Act and to enroll them in affordable health care coverage. MPCA is also glad to receive supplemental funds to support and coordinate outreach and enrollment efforts at the Health Centers.”

MPCA will receive $139,564 in supplemental funding from HRSA to ensure that Health Centers have timely and necessary information about their state’s consumer assistance training requirements and rollout of new affordable insurance options; coordinate Health Center outreach and enrollment activities with other consumer assistance efforts in the state; provide technical assistance and training on effective Health Center outreach and enrollment strategies; and monitor successes and barriers to health center outreach and enrollment activities.

The Health Center’s trained application assisters will help consumers with enrollment in Medicaid, MI Child, and Health Insurance Marketplace plans. More than 100 Health Center staff across the state already assist Michiganders access health coverage. Nationally, 1,159 Health Centers were awarded $150 million in supplemental funding.

"Having trained, face-to-face assistance in enrollment from trusted resources at local Health Centers means that more people will get the help they need,” said HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield, PhD, RN.

Genesee Community Health Center Chief Executive Officer Tim Lawther said they are thrilled to receive nearly $62,000 to help Flint’s most vulnerable residents enroll in health insurance programs like Medicaid and the new Health Insurance Marketplace.

"Over 90 percent of our patients without any health insurance will qualify for this expanded care under the Affordable Care Act, and we expect to help at least 9,000 of our most at-risk neighbors get connected to the help they need so that their families can lead better, healthier lives,” Lawther said.

Visit http://1.usa.gov/12r2chQ for a chart that lists the Health Centers receiving funds.

 

Thousands Left Without Health Coverage after Senate Fails to Vote on Michigan Medicaid Expansion

June 20, 2013 | The following statement can be attributed to Michigan Primary Care Association’s Chief Executive Officer Kim Sibilsky as it relates to House Bill 4714 not being passed by the Michigan Senate on June 20, 2013.

The Michigan Senate this week had an opportunity to grant access to affordable health care coverage to nearly half a million of our working neighbors most in need. The legislation, House Bill 4714, moved to the Senate for action after passage with bi-partisan support in the House on June 13, 2013. But Michigan’s Senators failed to act on this tremendous opportunity, and are headed for their summer vacation while many of their constituents face hard choices when it comes to finding affordable health care or going without.

Michigan Primary Care Association, along with a coalition of partners, has advocated for the state to pass a law that will lower health care costs, protect taxpayers and employers, generate jobs and economic benefits for Michigan, provide access to insurance for thousands of uninsured Michigan workers, and ultimately improve the health of our state. We appreciate Governor Rick Snyder’s leadership and desire to see the same thing. However, we are disappointed in the Senate’s failure to act on and pass HB 4714 before leaving for recess this summer. We support the Governor’s call to take a vote, not a vacation.

Health Centers see new patients every day with serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and asthma, -- conditions that have gone untreated and would have been much less serious and less expensive to treat had they sought care earlier through a medical home. Medicaid coverage would provide people with affordable coverage to allow them to seek care, improve their quality of life and save money. Michigan’s Health Centers will continue to work with the Governor and the legislature to achieve the goal of assuring more affordable access to health care for Michigan residents.

 

MPCA Community HealthCorps Program Expecting an Increase in Members for 2013-14

June 20, 2013 | The MPCA Community HealthCorps program's AmeriCorps grant for 2013-14 has been approved with an initial start up of 20 members. Also, when the State of Michigan receives supplemental funds, which they have applied for, the Community HealthCorps program has been approved to receive an additional 20 members for a total of 40 members serving during the 2013-14 program year. This is an increase of 15 members over the previous years’ service.

John Taylor, Director of the Community HealthCorps program, said:

"This increase in members is a reflection of the great work that our current AmeriCorps members have been doing through their service in Michigan. This year, our members have exceeded many of our performance goals as they serve our communities by helping to build a healthier Michigan. Already in 2012-13 AmeriCorps members have impacted 12,147 individuals, and many of these members will continue serving through March 2014. During the upcoming program year, we will be building on our success by strengthening core areas to ensure that we select the highest quality candidates for maximum benefit to our Health Centers. Health Centers will be pleased to know that many elements of our program are being completely revamped in order to better connect AmeriCorps members to the direction our centers are moving. Our new grant is very specific as far as the use of AmeriCorps members, with member roles defined specifically to meet the needs of our Community Health Centers.”

Application guidelines will be released on Thursday, August 1, 2013 to all of MPCA’s member Health Centers with a tentative launch date for new members on September 16, 2013.

 

MPCA Welcomes Wayne County Healthy Communities as a New Member

June 20, 2013 | Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA)—the membership association representing Health Center organizations and other community-based providers in Michigan—welcomes Wayne County Healthy Communities (WCHC) as its newest member.

Wayne County Healthy Communities is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that opened earlier this year in Hamtramck to serve Wayne County residents. The Health Center celebrated its grand opening on February 14.

Wayne County Healthy Communities’ services and programs include primary health care, pediatric medicine, adult medicine, prenatal care, pediatric dentistry, behavioral health, and WIC services. The Health Center is the only one in Hamtramck that serves residents regardless of their insurance or ability to pay. Wayne County Healthy Communities is open Monday through Friday and appointments can be made by calling 313.365.1362.

Today, MPCA is the voice for 35 Health Center organizations and other community-based providers in Michigan. These organizations provide comprehensive, affordable, accessible, quality primary and preventive health care for over 600,000 Michigan residents at more than 200 sites located in both rural and urban communities across the state each year.

 

Michigan House Passage of Michigan Medicaid Expansion, Reform Legislation

June 14, 2013 | After months of debate and advocacy by MPCA and many of our partners, the State House of Representatives voted on Thursday, June 13, 2013, to pass House Bill 4714, legislation that will extend Medicaid coverage to an additional 450,000 Michigan residents of Michigan with incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. The bill passed on a vote of 76- 31, with all but one Democrat voting Yes, as well as 28 of the 59 Republicans voting Yes. The bill now goes to the Senate for their consideration the week of June 17, 2013. Michigan Primary Care Association’s Chief Executive Officer Kim Sibilsky issued the following statement in response to the passage of House Bill 4714 by the Michigan House of Representatives on June 13, 2013.

"Late last night, the Michigan House of Representatives took a historic vote to pass legislation that would extend health insurance coverage to more of our working neighbors most in need. We commend the hard work and careful consideration that led to bi-partisan passage of HB 4714, and we are pleased to see our elected officials support this legislation that will lower health care costs, protect taxpayers and employers, generate jobs and economic benefits for Michigan, provide access to insurance for thousands of uninsured Michigan workers, and ultimately improve the health of our state. We look forward to working with state leaders in the coming days and weeks to pass and implement this critical legislation that will save Michigan lives and money."

It is expected that there will be fierce opposition to the bill in the Senate and advocacy is more important than ever from people supporting the bill. It is absolutely crucial the each and every Senator hear from as many people as possible next week before the vote. Click here to contact your State Senator TODAY and ask for his/her support of HB 4714.

 

 

The News section of Michigan Primary Care Association's website offers a quick view of the latest local, state, and national news headlines impacting Health Centers and pertaining to primary and preventive care, as well as overall health issues.

 

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