Michigan Awarded an ‘A’

LANSING–The State of Michigan has been awarded top marks for its efforts to eliminate hepatitis C by the national Hep ElimiNATION project.

The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown Law, National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) and the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation (CHLPI) at Harvard Law School have launched Hep ElimiNATION, a project to assess nationwide viral hepatitis elimination progress and to guide jurisdictions towards development of a comprehensive plan to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030. To measure each state’s progress, NVHR and CHLPI developed a grading rubric used to score each state’s capacity to eliminate viral hepatitis. Michigan was awarded grade letter “A” for advancements that have been made towards hepatitis C elimination.

“Receiving an ‘A’ is great news, and we continue to offer tools to providers that will help us in eliminating hepatitis C in Michigan,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) chief medical executive. “We offer complimentary hepatitis C consultation for providers interested in treating hepatitis C, and we continue to look at areas to improve treating and preventing this disease.”

MDHHS published Michigan’s State Plan on Eliminating Hepatitis C in April 2021 to articulate MDHHS’ data-driven, evidence-based and culturally competent approach to eliminate hepatitis C in Michigan. MDHHS launched its We Treat Hep C Initiative on April 1, to expand access to hepatitis C treatment among Michigan Medicaid and Healthy Michigan Plan beneficiaries by removing prior authorization requirements for the hepatitis C medication, MAVYRET®. Michigan is one of only six states not requiring prior authorization.

Through the We Treat Hep C Initiative, treatment with MAVYRET is available to all Medicaid ($1 copay) and Healthy Michigan Plan (no copay) beneficiaries at little to no cost. Other direct-acting antivirals ($3 copay) will require prior authorization and will be approved only when MAVYRET is not clinically appropriate.

MDHHS has developed a website with Provider Resources, which includes frequently asked questions about the We Treat Hep C Initiative and hepatitis C treatment, hepatitis C clinical consultation programs, training webinars and resources and reference guides.

To help connect people with hepatitis C to a hepatitis C treatment provider, MDHHS has developed a Hepatitis C Treatment Provider Map which includes a listing of providers with hepatitis C treatment experience. While the listing is not a complete list of all hepatitis C treatment providers in the state of Michigan, it serves as a valuable resource for individuals looking for hepatitis C testing or treatment.

Visit Michigan.gov/WeTreatHepC for more information on hepatitis C testing and treatment.

For any questions regarding hepatitis C, please contact the MDHHS Viral Hepatitis Unit at [email protected].


Open Enrollment Deadline Drawing Near

LANSING–The Michigan Primary Care Association and ACCESS remind Michigan residents that open enrollment ends on January 15, 2022 – and in conjunction with their partners, they remain ready to assist anyone who still needs to sign up for affordable healthcare, especially those within vulnerable populations across Michigan. With a few days remaining in the open enrollment period, it’s important to act now.

“Michigan Community Health Centers are dedicated to increasing access to healthcare in their communities. This partnership with ACCESS through the Navigator Grant is powerful extension of that commitment to link people in need to coverage and services,” said Anne Scott, Health Center Operations Officer at the MPCA, which represents 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.”

Thanks to the Navigator Grant, in addition to offering free healthcare enrollment services, MPCA – along with ACCESS and 22 other partner organizations (see below for full list) – are ensuring that healthcare Navigator services are available throughout the state, to reach uninsured and underinsured Michiganders in all 83 counties. Services include outreach, education, and enrollment efforts, with an aim to reach underserved communities and minority populations, including low-income and medically underserved urban and rural Michiganders. The goal is to enroll and re-enroll over 42,000 Michiganders statewide in health insurance coverage.

Navigator Project Partner List:

  • Alcona Health Center
  • Association of Chinese Americans
  • Family Health Care
  • Catherine’s Health Center
  • Center for Family Health
  • Centro Multicultural La Familia
  • Community Health Access Coalition
  • Community Health and Social Services (CHASS) Center
  • Community Welfare Services of Metro Detroit
  • Friends of Parkside
  • Hamilton Community Health Network
  • HUDA Clinic
  • InterCare Community Health Network
  • Isabella Citizens for Health, Inc.
  • Jewish Family Service of Metro Detroit
  • Michigan 2-1-1
  • Michigan Primary Care Association
  • Northwest Michigan Health Services, Inc.
  • Refugee Development Center
  • Ruth Ellis Center
  • Thunder Bay Community Health Service
  • Traverse Health Clinic
  • Washtenaw Health Plan

 (Editor’s note: MPCA members that are participating are indicated in italics)


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 provided healthcare education and assistance. This included 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.

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 BridgeMi.com 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, Member Health Centers Featured in BridgeMI

GRAND RAPIDSThe Michigan Primary Care Association and its member community health centers were featured Wednesday in a story published by Bridge Michigan in the news organization’s Michigan Health Watch section. (Bridge photo courtesy Daytona Niles)

To read the feature story “Child COVID vaccines are available in Michigan. Now comes the hard part” penned by BridgeMI.com staff writers Robin Erb and Ron French, please click on the link below: The decision to vaccinate 7-year-old Brittish Conaway against COVID pivoted on Dr. Jenny Bush’s choice of words.

“When she gets sick,” the doctor explained to the girl’s mom, “her sugar levels plummet. And that’s where things like metabolic strokes happen.”

Brittish has complex health problems stemming from a genetic metabolic condition. Contracting COVID-19 would likely make those problems worse. Better to watch for mild side effects from the vaccine than chance life-threatening complications from COVID that could last a week or more, Bush advised.


AbbVie Hosting New Training Opportunity on Sept. 14

LANSING–A new training opportunity focused on the Evolution of Hepatitis C Management will be hosted by AbbVie on Tuesday, Sept. 14, from 12:15 – 12:45 p.m. Participants will learn about the World Health Organization’s 2030 goal and current progress, the evolution of the provider landscape, and impactful models of hepatitis C management.

Please click the button below to register for the training. Register here: https://clinical-care.org/event/evolution-of-hepatitis-c-management

Learning objectives include:

•The World Health Organization’s 2030 goal and current progress

•The evolution of the provider landscape

•Impactful models of hepatitis C management

Questions? Contact the MDHHS Viral Hepatitis Unit at [email protected]/Michigan.gov/WeTreatHepC

MPCA Receives Gov. Whitmer Proclamation on #NHCW21

LANSING–Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a proclamation marking August 8-14 as National Health Center Week 2021.

“Community health centers are at the forefront of fighting emerging healthcare crises in our state, including the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Whitmer. “Our community health centers have supported testing and treatment for COVID patients while continuing everyday operations through extraordinarily difficult circumstances. These centers provide affordable, comprehensive care to underserved communities across Michigan and our state is grateful for the hope and healing they provide to countless communities every day.”

”The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has continually challenged Michiganders in all facets of life,” said Dennis Litos, CEO of the Michigan Primary Care Association. “Our community health centers have done yeoman’s work in helping us navigate through COVID-19 by providing testing, vaccine administration and quality health care for all. The MPCA is very grateful for the leadership of Governor Whitmer and MDHHS in supporting our health centers and our citizens throughout the pandemic.”

Health Center Week offers the opportunity to celebrate Michigan’s health center organizations and all those responsible for their continued success and growth. Health centers are a critical element of the health system, serving both rural and urban communities, often providing the only accessible and dependable source of primary care in their communities.

Click on the link to view the proclamation. For more information on #NHCW21, please click here.

White House Issues Proclamation on Eve of NHCW21

BETHESDA, Md.–President Joe Biden praised the work of community health centers in the fight against COVID in a White House Proclamation issued today in advance of National Health Center Week 2021. President Biden said, “Today, health centers are one of the largest health care providers in the country and provide high-quality affordable, accessible, and value-based primary health care services to 29 million Americans each year — approximately 1 in 11 people across the country. They have also been a vital part of our Nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the course of National Health Center Week, we recognize the importance of federally-supported health centers and the role they play as a beacon of strength, service, and care in our communities.”

The President singled out the work of health centers as they continue efforts to vaccinate and build trust in the COVID vaccine amid the upsurge of the Delta variant. He said, “Our Nation’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is stronger because of our health centers, and the tireless, dedicated health center employees who continue to deliver critical services such as COVID-19 testing, treatment, and prevention services on the front lines. As we ramped up the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines over the past several months, health centers, through the Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program, have vaccinated and built vaccine confidence in millions of Americans from hard-hit and high-risk communities.”

“We’re deeply appreciative of the President’s recognition of health centers’ efforts on the frontlines of COVID these past 18 months,” said NACHC President and CEO Tom Van Coverden. “We could not have carried out this task without his Administration’s support and partnership.”

The White House Proclamation comes as health centers across the nation prepare to mark  National Health Center Week 2021 (August 8-14), a weeklong celebration of the program that began over 55 years ago as part of Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty.  Events across the country include community vaccination events, health fairs and visits to health center sites by local and national leaders.

–National Association of Community Health Centers

MPCA and UofM Partner on a Learning Collaborative to “Catch Up on Cancer Screening”

LANSING–The Michigan Primary Care Association and University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center are launching a learning collaborative to help health centers and patients catch-up on cancer screenings. The goal of the collaborative is to support peer-to-peer learning among health center teams to identify and share best practices to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on delivery of breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings.

The MPCA value transformation team, including Candy Vertalka and Amy Zarr, will lead and organize collaborative activities. The collaborative will provide resources tailored to specific MPCA health centers including 1) an enhanced data dashboard to track catch-up in cancer screenings, 2) implementation toolkit to support evidence-based interventions, and 3) personalized support for practice change. By participating in this learning collaborative, health centers teams will support each other in implementation of specific strategies to increase cancer screenings and develop greater general capacity for practice change. Additional partners include the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (Cancer Control) and American Cancer Society.

“Health center teams have done a heroic job to continue delivery of high quality health care throughout the pandemic. Some impacts, like a decrease in cancer screening, were unavoidable,” said Amber Desgranges, MPCA’s Grant Program Officer. “It’s time to think about how to catch-up and this collaborative is a great way for our health center teams to learn from each other what really works.”

Save the Date for Thursday, Sept. 16, from Noon to 1 p.m. to hear more about the “Catch-Up on Cancer Screening” Learning Collaborative and how this can support your health center’s quality efforts.

Register in advance for this meeting:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

For questions, please contact:

Theresa Quaderer, M.A.
Integrated Health Program Manager
517.827.088 (Office)
[email protected]


Lawrence An, MD
Assistant Director for Cancer Prevention and Screening
UM Rogel Cancer Center
[email protected]

VP Thanks MPCA Community Health Centers in Detroit Visit

DETROIT–During her first visit to the state of Michigan, Vice President Kamala Harris was recently in Detroit, where she visited community members, elected officials and supporters.

CHASS Center Chief Executive OfficerDr. Felix Valbuena, Jr., and VP Harris shared a moment where he personally thanked her for supporting community health centers. She thanked him for the work of Michigan Primary Care Association-member CHCs and stated that the Biden Administration will continue to support the work of CHCs. (Dr. Valbuena is in the second facing row, second from left, wearing an open collar and sportscoat while holding a phone.)

Read the MLIVE Vice President Kamala Harris talks vaccines and voting rights in first Michigan visit” story by Malachi Barrett by clicking on the link. (Photo credit: Nicole Hester/MLIVE.com)

HRSA Announces Coverage of 5+ Million Claims for COVID Vaccinations for Uninsured Individuals

ROCKVILLE, Md.–Recently, Health Resources and Services Administration is announcing that the HRSA COVID-19 Claims Reimbursement to Health Care Providers and Facilities for Testing, Treatment, and Vaccine Administration for the Uninsured (Uninsured Program) has paid over 5 million claims to health care providers for administering COVID-19 vaccines to uninsured individuals.

“We know that Black, Latino, and Native American people are more likely to be uninsured. The Uninsured Program is a key tool for ensuring everyone has access to COVID-19 vaccines and that cost is not a barrier for individuals or health care providers,” said Acting HRSA Administrator Diana Espinosa. “Regardless of insurance or citizenship status, we want everyone living in the United States to be able to get vaccinated as soon as possible so we can defeat this pandemic.”

This important milestone reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. There are approximately 29 million uninsured individuals living in the United States. Communities of color have been especially hard-hit by both the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic downturn.

The Uninsured Program allows anyone without health insurance, no matter their immigration status, to receive their COVID-19 vaccines for free by reimbursing providers for the cost of administering the vaccine. The program also covers COVID-19 testing and treatment claims for individuals without health insurance. HRSA also recently launched the COVID-19 Coverage Assistance Fund, which covers the costs of administering COVID-19 vaccines to underinsured patients – those enrolled in health plans that either do not cover vaccination fees or cover them with patient cost-sharing.

Learn more about the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program.

–HRSA Office of Communications