InterCare Family Health Network Helps Benton Harbor Community

LANSING–InterCare Family Health Network hosted a successful blood lead testing event on Saturday, Nov. 20, for City of Benton Harbor residents.

Although blood lead tests cannot reveal if a person was exposed to lead in the past, testing is particularly important for young children and pregnant persons because exposure to lead early in life has been shown to cause problems with learning, behavior, hearing and growth. For individuals who have elevated blood lead levels, the goals are to identify the source of lead, stop the lead exposure and to talk with their doctor to discuss any other tests or follow-up that might be needed.

Children less than 6 years old with an elevated blood lead level are offered nurse case management through the Berrien County Health Department, which includes a home visit with a registered nurse.

In addition, in an effort to provide city residents with additional access to safe, clean drinking water, InterCare purchased and had bottled water available for test participants. Staff also provided COVID-19 vaccinations and booster doses as well as flu shots during the event.

Blood lead testing for children also was being offered through the WIC program and the Berrien County Health Department.

Free bottled water continues to be provided by Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and local, paid residents as City of Benton Harbor residents are being encouraged to use bottled water for cooking, drinking, brushing teeth, rinsing foods and mixing powdered infant formula.

To arrange water delivery to homebound or residents without transportation in the city of Benton Harbor, contact 211, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Phones that cannot contact 211 should contact 844-875-9211.

The five-day bottled water pickup continues this week:

Monday, Nov. 22

  • Southwest Community Action Agency, 331 Miller Street, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Self-service)
  • Abundant Life Church of God, 693 Columbus Avenue, noon – 2 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 23

  • Abundant Life Church of God, 693 Columbus Avenue, noon – 2 p.m.
  • Ebenezer Baptist Church, 214 E. Britain Avenue, 4 – 6 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 24

  • Southwest Community Action Agency, 331 Miller Street, 3 – 6 p.m., (Water loaded into vehicles by volunteers)
  • Brotherhood of All Nations, 1286 Monroe Street, 4 – 6 p.m.

The ongoing response in Benton Harbor includes the city, Berrien County Health Department, local community organizations, MDHHS and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. This action is part of an accelerated, across-the-board effort to reduce the risk of exposure to lead in drinking water while the city replaces all lead service lines.

Additional dates and locations for bottled water pick up will be added to make sure community needs are met. Information will be posted on

To ensure the continued success of bottled water distribution locations in Benton Harbor and to recognize the city residents who have been stepping up to donate their time and talent, the State of Michigan has partnered with local agencies to pay city residents who work at state-supported bottled water distribution sites. Individuals who want to serve as community ambassadors to help distribute water should connect with an established distribution site. Individuals or groups who want to serve as unpaid volunteers can sign up  on the United Way’s online platform .

MDHHS is engaging in a long-term effort to eliminate lead action level exceedances, educate communities on the effects of lead in drinking water, and remove lead service lines. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called for the  replacement of lead service lines in Benton Harbor in 18 months and the Whitmer-Gilchrist Administration has provided just under $20 million to Benton Harbor to speed up their service line replacement timeline.

There is no cost to City of Benton Harbor residents for lead service line replacement. To assist with assuring the work can be completed as soon as possible, residents are encouraged to complete the  Water Service Line Replacement Agreement  available online. Contractors cannot begin work on any property without property owner authorization. Completed forms can be returned to Abonmarche, 95 West Main Street, Benton Harbor, MI 49022 or emailed to  [email protected].

These efforts also include recently approved funds to remove lead from homes in the city. Families living in Benton Harbor can apply for this service by filling out and mailing in an application that is available online.  Residents also can call 866-691-5323 to obtain information.

For questions about lead, MDHHS can be reached at 866-691-5323 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

–MDHHS Office of Public Information

Family Health Care Welcomes Two New Providers

BALDWIN – Having providers that are compassionate patient advocates is essential to helping Family Health Care (FHC) achieve its mission. That’s why FHC is pleased to announce the additions of Marisa Gariglio, Family Nurse Practitioner, to its Big Rapids Health Center and Alexander Warnsholz, Physician Assistant, to its Baldwin Health Center.

Marisa has worked as a registered nurse and nurse practitioner in rural health care settings over the last 10 years. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Ferris State University and her Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner at Oakland University.

“Being at Family Health Care is a great opportunity to meet the needs of patients and the community,” said Marisa. “I look forward to being a part of the future growth of the Big Rapids Health Center while building relationships with coworkers, patients, and the community.”

Alexander completed his Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science at Michigan Technological University and his Master of Health Science in Physician Assistant Studies at South College in Knoxville, TN. Since 2016, Alexander has provided outpatient care as a Physician Assistant to residents in Mason, Manistee, and the surrounding counties.

“I am excited to be part of the patient-centered medical team providing care to encompass all of the community’s needs,” said Alexander. “I feel FHC’s mission and my practice goals align very well. I am delighted to be granted this opportunity to join the team in Baldwin.”

Patients can schedule appointments with Marisa and Alexander for various medical concerns, including annual physicals, sick visits, chronic disease management, minor procedures, and acute care visits. Along with medical services, FHC strives to provide quality, affordable access to behavioral health, dental, pharmacy, laboratory, and radiology services.

Marisa provides medical care services at FHC’s Big Rapids Health Center located at 730 Water Tower Road in Big Rapids. To schedule an appointment, call (231) 527-7150.

Alexander provides medical care at FHC’s Baldwin Health Center located at 1615 Michigan Avenue in Baldwin. To schedule an appointment, call (231) 745-4624.

For more information on Family Health Care, visit

–Travis Kroll, Family Health Care External Relations

Bridge Michigan: Could COVID pills help turn the pandemic tide in Michigan?

DETROIT–The Michigan Primary Care Association member Western Wayne Family Health Centers has been noted in a recent feature story by Michigan Health Watch section staff writer Robin Erb.

To read her story “Could COVID pills help turn the pandemic tide in Michigan?”, please click on the link below:

A single pill to fight COVID — that’s the promise the Food and Drug Administration will consider this month when its advisers weigh the evidence of the first of two antiviral drugs that manufacturers say stop coronavirus before it takes hold. READ FULL STORY

Bridge photo by Elaine Cromie

MPCA/ACCESS Expand Healthcare Enrollment Services with Navigator Grant

LANSING–The Michigan Primary Care Association and ACCESS announced on Wednesday a new development in their effort to lead affordable healthcare enrollment for vulnerable populations across Michigan.

This year, in addition to offering free healthcare enrollment services, ACCESS – along with MPCA and 10 other partner organizations – will help ensure that healthcare navigator services are expanded throughout the entire state, to reach uninsured and underinsured Michiganders in all 83 counties. Services will include outreach, education and enrollment efforts, with an aim to reach underserved communities and minority populations including MENA (Middle Eastern and North African) Michiganders. The goal is to enroll and re-enroll over 42,000 Michiganders, statewide, in health insurance coverage.

“Health centers have long been on the frontline of equitable access to healthcare, and this initiative is a natural fit with that mission,” Anne Scott, MPCA health center operations officer, said. “Michigan health centers are ready to serve their communities across the state with health care coverage enrollment services.”

 MPCA’s navigator project partner listings: Alcona Health Center, Family Health Care, Center for Family Health, Community Health and Social Services (CHASS) Center, Hamilton Community Health Network, InterCare Community Health Network, Isabella Citizens for Health, Inc., Northwest Michigan Health Services, Inc., Thunder Bay Community Health Service and Traverse Health Clinic.

Since its first Navigator award during 2014, ACCESS has enrolled or re-enrolled 43,000 Michiganders in health insurance. During the 2020-2021 program year, more than 7,000 individuals were assisted. This includes assisting more than 2,453 with Health Insurance Exchange applications, more than 2,545 with Healthy Michigan Medicaid Plan applications and providing over 2,000 clients with education, case management or re-enrollment.

Grounded in a grassroots commitment to empowerment, ACCESS is the largest Arab American community nonprofit in the U.S., with a 50-year history of nonprofit excellence. Guided by our vision of a just and equitable society, with the full participation of Arab Americans, we empower communities in Southeast Michigan to improve their economic, social and cultural well-being through an extensive network of health, education, employment and social services programming. Our mission extends nationally through our highly esteemed institutions—the Arab American National Museum (AANM), the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP) and The National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC)—which are focused on making an impact through advocacy, the arts and philanthropy. For more information, visit

MPCA is the voice of 39 community health centers and four Native American health service providers that provide primary and preventive health care to more than 715,000 patients in rural and urban communities across Michigan. We advocate to influence and advance health policy in Lansing and Washington, D.C., foster collaboration among health centers and with external partners, and support health centers in the continuous pursuit of high-quality, patient-centered services. Learn more by downloadingour MPCA fact sheet!

Packard Health to Expand Services in a Long-Needed New Location

ANN ARBOR–Packard Health has been a touchstone in Washtenaw County since 1973, offering health care services on a sliding scale to anyone who needs them. But the organization had long outgrown its original space at 3174 Packard Rd., in Ann Arbor.

“The space crunch became really acute in the two years before COVID hit,” says Dr. Ray Rion, Packard Health’s executive director. “We had people literally working in closets. The conference room became the workspace for five or six staff. The building was constructed in the ’70s. Things have changed a lot since then.”

Now, thanks to an $8 million capital campaign launched in 2018, the health center has moved its main office to 2650 Carpenter Rd. in Pittsfield Township. Formerly the site of a AAA branch, Packard Health purchased the building in 2019, just before the pandemic hit. Construction to transform the space from an open layout into one that includes exam rooms and private offices began in early 2021, and the new location opened its doors to patients in August.

The new site has allowed Packard Health to expand its services. In addition to space for primary care, there’s now an on-site lab so that patients can give blood draws right in the office, as well as space for a potential pharmacy. And there is more room for behavioral health and addiction treatment — the need for which has skyrocketed during the pandemic, says Rion.

In 2015, Packard Health became a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).

“It really stabilized our operating performance, and it enabled us to fundraise around expansion and capital projects,” Rion says.

FQHCs can provide dental care, notes Rion, which is something Packard Health will consider down the road as well.

Part of the capital campaign includes a nearly $3 million real estate gift from Dick and Norma Sarns — a building on Venture Drive in Ann Arbor that now serves as Packard Health’s administrative headquarters. The next phase of the organization’s expansion will involve adding behavioral health and primary health care services at that site. In the future, Rion hopes to offer wellness services too, like nutritional support and exercise programs.

Rion stresses that Washtenaw County is “extremely lucky” to have two excellent health systems, but that many people still “fall through the cracks” when it comes to health care.

“It may be economic, or it may be that they don’t have insurance. It may be that they are struggling with a constellation of social and medical factors that make it difficult for them to access services in a more standard practice,” says Rion.

In Rion’s words, the mission of Packard Health has always been “trying to meet people where they are.”

“To me the crux is serving people who don’t fit in well with health systems, or get good services through health systems,” he says. “That’s really what our place in the community is.”

–Jeanne Hodesh, Ann Arbor-based freelance writer for ConcentrateMedia

MyCare Health Center Welcomes David Macon, DO

CENTER LINE — MyCare Health Center, a Macomb County based Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), is excited to welcome David Macon, DO, to their practitioner family. Dr. Macon is a board certified Family Medicine physician who is committed to serving those living in southeast Michigan. He received his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, and completed his family medicine residency within the Henry Ford Health System. Dr. Macon sees patients at all ages and enjoys working collaboratively with them to meet their health care goals.

Karen Wood, MyCare’s chief executive officer, stated, “We are pleased to have Dr. Macon join our team! He will be a wonderful addition to our MyCare family.”

As a FQHC and first responder, MyCare provides high quality primary and preventative health care to all regardless of their ability to pay. MyCare currently operates clinics in Mount Clemens, Clinton Township, and Center Line. The integrated services include; routine medical care for adults, children and infants; dentistry, Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), behavioral health, laboratory services, women’s health services along with other supportive services aimed to improve the health and wellness of the community. To help prevent the risk of spreading COVID-19, clinics continue to encourage patients to call ahead if they feel they are symptomatic. If it is determined that a patient presents COVID-19 symptoms and requires testing, the patient would be tested in the clinic before their appointment.

MyCare continues to offer COVID-19 rapid and PCR (send off) testing at their Center Line and Mount Clemens clinics by appointment. Appointments are also being scheduled for individuals seeking a vaccine. MyCare offers the Moderna vaccine currently approved for all individuals 18 years and older. Two doses are required 28 days apart.

Dr. Macon has begun seeing new and existing patients at the MyCare Health Center clinic in Center Line located at 6900 E. 10 Mile Road. To make an appointment, please call 586-756-7777.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number H80CS26572 from the Public Health Service ACT, Title III, Section 330 for $1,878,869.00 total with 69% financed with nongovernmental sources. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

–Erika DeLange, MyCare Health Center

Quality: Always A Team Approach at Hamilton Community Health Centers

FLINT–In the last few decades, we have seen a change when it comes to health care and how patients and their doctors work together. Years ago, the doctor would tell patients, “Take two of these and call me in the morning.” Thankfully, those days are gone and today patients are involved in their own healthcare and work with their medical provider to achieve better clinical outcomes. The approach is turning into a team effort.

However, the team effort does not begin in the exam room. Here at Hamilton Community Health Network the team effort begins with our Quality Improvement team. Did you know the Quality Improvement team is instrumental in making sure Hamilton is reaching our high standard of care? In fact, just recently we received accreditation from the Joint Commission for Hamilton’s Behavioral Health program accreditation. This follows Hamilton’s Gold seal accreditation with high recommendations from the Joint Commission received just a few months prior. The Gold Seal accreditation is a symbol of quality that reflects a health care organization’s commitment to providing safe and quality patient care.

What does this all mean for our patients? A high-quality, patient-centered approach, and a healthcare team that goes beyond the exam room to assure our patients receive the best care possible.

Kim Warden is Hamilton’s Quality Improvement Director who works behind the scenes when it comes to patient care, but you can often see her on television representing Hamilton. A nurse by trade, Kim’s focus is on achieving better clinical outcomes for our patients. Every day her team, comprised of community health educators and a quality improvement coordinator, work to determine the best patient-centered health improvement strategy that will assist patients in improving their health.

“Just like your quality of health starts before entering a doctor’s office, quality care starts before the exam room,” explained Kim. “Your quality healthcare begins before you even enter Hamilton’s doors and is everyone’s responsibility. Everything we do is linked to quality of care – from proper handwashing, available services to meet patient needs, to tracking patient health outcomes all play a part in making sure Hamilton’s healthcare is above par.”

For the most part, patients do not even realize there is a huge force behind the clinics making sure everything is exceeding standards. Rather, patients know the end results of Quality’s work – high standard healthcare. Patients may also hear about the medical studies Quality is involved with – such as the University of Michigan colorectal cancer study or the cervical cancer study we are currently partnering on. Patients may get phone calls from the team’s community health educators reminding them of any gaps in care they may have. But usually, the Quality Improvement team are the behind-the-scenes experts who work to make sure Hamilton patients are receiving the highest standard of care possible.

–Hamilton Community Health Network

CHASS Family Vaccination Month Nears End

DETROIT–The CHASS Center COVID-19 Family Vaccination campaign will end this Saturday, July 3. All individuals, including ages 12-and-up, getting a COVID-19 vaccine at CHASS Center, will receive a $15 gift card and will be entered in the drawing to win one of five grand prizes, including a family membership to Greenfield Village at the Henry Ford Museum!

Learn more about the Family Vaccination campaign:

–Courtesy CHASS Center Communications

MyCare Health Center Welcomes Christine Allor, FNP-C

CENTER LINE, Mich. — MyCare Health Center, a Macomb County based Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), is excited to welcome Christine Allor, FNP-C, to their practitioner family. Christine is a Family Nurse Practitioner and is board certified through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Prior to becoming a nurse practitioner, she worked as a registered nurse in the ICU at St. John’s Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit. She specializes in internal and family medicine and has a special interest in diabetes management.

When asked about joining MyCare Health Center, Christine stated, “I am happy to be here! I look forward to providing quality, holistic, and compassionate care using evidence-based practice for all ages.”

Karen Wood, MyCare’s chief executive officer, stated, “We are pleased to have Christine join our team! She will be a great addition to our MyCare family.”

As a Federally Qualified Health Center and first responder, MyCare provides high quality primary and preventative health care to all regardless of their ability to pay. MyCare currently operates a clinic in Mount Clemens and Center Line. The integrated services include; routine medical care for adults, children and infants; dentistry, Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), behavioral health, podiatry, laboratory services, women’s health services along with other supportive services aimed to improve the health and wellness of the community. To help prevent the risk of spreading COVID-19, clinics continue to encourage patients to call ahead if they feel they are symptomatic. If it is determined that a patient presents COVID-19 symptoms and requires testing, the patient would be tested in the clinic before their appointment. Walk-in COVID-19 vaccines are also available at all locations. MyCare offers the Moderna vaccine currently approved for all individuals 18 years and older. Two doses are required 28 days apart.

Christine has begun seeing new and existing patients at the MyCare Health Center clinic in Mount Clemens located at 18 Market Street, Suite C. To make an appointment, please call 586-783-2222.

–Courtesy Erika DeLange, Community Engagement Manager, MyCare Health Center

Health Care Champions for 2021 Honored in Jackson

JACKSON – Eight individuals were honored during the Virtual Awards Program held by the Center for Family Health. This is the seventh award event, and first to be held virtually. The Center for Family Health is celebrating 30 years of serving the community this year and the awards program is one of the ways they are celebrating that milestone.

Steven Hogwood, owner of McDonalds received the Georgia Fojtasek Lifetime Health Advocacy Award. Hogwood sits on several community boards including the Center for Family Health. He was recognized for his efforts to promote healthcare for all in the community.

The Social Justice and Health Advocacy Champion (non-elected official) went to Bart and Karen Hawley for their leadership in promoting healthcare through JTV. They have especially taken up the mantle to educate the community around COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.

Gary and Peggy Swartzlander were awarded the CFH Ambassador Award. Both Gary and Peggy volunteer for the Center and are committed to constantly asking what more they can do.

A special partnership award around COVID-19 was presented to Pastor James L. Hines of Lily Missionary Baptist Church. COVID-19 has dominated our life during the past year and half. Pastor Hines has encouraged both his parishioners and the community to get vaccinated so that we can all get back to some sense of normality.

Two staff members of the Center were also recognized for their work. Nate Nimtz received the Health Advocacy Award while Summer Gannon received the Exemplary Customer Service Award. Both individuals received their respective awards for their direct work with patients and exemplifying high standards and professionalism.

“These awards recognize community members and staff who are doing good work to increase access to healthcare,” stated Molly Kaser, CEO and President of the Center for Family Health. “This pandemic has shown that we need to lean on each other more and provide the necessary support for all community members. That is what we do here, and I am so proud of our partners, community supporters and employees who embrace this work. Congratulations to all of the award recipients.” The award program can be viewed by clicking the button below.

Click on link for awards program.

–Center for Family Health