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/

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

(UPDATED) MPCA Continues Support of MDHHS “We Treat Hepatitis C” Initiative

LANSING–The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recently launched the We Treat Hep C Initiative to eliminate hepatitis C and improve access to hepatitis C treatment among Michigan Medicaid and Healthy Michigan Plan beneficiaries. As part of the We Treat Hep C Initiative, Michigan Medicaid removed the prescriber requirement. As a result, all providers with prescriptive authority are now able to prescribe hepatitis C treatment. 

To support Michigan’s efforts to eliminate hepatitis C, AbbVie is hosting two webinars: one will explore hepatitis C treatment in the rapidly changing Medicaid landscape, and the second will feature discussions on caring for women with hepatitis C. Presentations and discussions will be led by Elaine Engelsman, DNP, FNP-BC. The dates, times and registration links are listed below:

Wednesday, June 30–Exploring HCV Treatment in the Rapidly Changing Medicaid Landscape (12:15 p.m.) Flyer Info I Register

Thursday, July 22–Caring for Women with HCV (12:15 p.m.) Flyer Info I Register

MDHHS Invites Public Comment on Title V Block Grant Application

LANSING–The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) invites the public to comment on the Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Services Block Grant application.

Title V of the Social Security Act of 1935, as amended, provides funding to states to improve the health of mothers, infants and children, including children with special health care needs. Michigan’s Title V application is for services from Oct. 1, 2021 to Sept. 30, 2022, and includes a report on activities and services provided in fiscal year (FY) 2020.

Title V state action plans address the following priority areas for the current five-year cycle (FY 2021-2025) to improve the health of the MCH population in Michigan:

  • Low-risk cesarean delivery.
  • Breastfeeding.
  • Infant safe sleep.
  • Bullying.
  • Transition for youth with special health care needs to adult health care.
  • Preventive dental visits for women and children.
  • Childhood lead poisoning prevention.
  • Immunizations for children and adolescents.
  • Medical care and treatment for children with special health care needs.
  • Pregnancy intention.
  • Developmental, behavioral and mental health services.

These MCH priorities address needs across five federally identified population domains: women/maternal health, perinatal/infant health, child health, adolescent health and children with special health care needs.

The Title V draft application and annual report are available online. MDHHS welcomes comments on the application by 5 p.m. on June 30. Comments can be submitted to [email protected].


HHS Announces ARP Funds for Construction and Renovation Projects at CHCs

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) this week is announcing the availability of $1 billion for Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)-Health Center Program funded health centers to support major construction and renovation projects across the country. The funding builds on President Biden’s commitment to ensuring equity in access to COVID-19 response efforts and high quality primary health care services.

Health centers that receive this funding will be able to use it for COVID-19 related capital needs and to construct new facilities, renovate and expand existing facilities, and purchase new equipment.

“As the pandemic has made clear, modernizing the physical infrastructure of many of our country’s health centers is long overdue,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “This latest American Rescue Plan funding will enable these vital community institutions that serve some of our most vulnerable populations to build state-of-the-art facilities to be better prepared to address COVID-19 and many other public health challenges.”

All of the nation’s nearly 1,400 HRSA-funded health centers will be eligible for these funds that will help expand their capacity to provide primary and preventive health care services to medically underserved populations and communities, which are often disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

“HRSA-funded health centers have adapted to the evolving needs in their communities throughout the pandemic,” said HRSA Acting Administrator Diana Espinosa. “This historic influx of funding for infrastructure improvements will allow them to continue the critical work of connecting underserved patients and communities with high-quality health care.”

Applications are due in HRSA’s Electronic Handbooks by 5:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, June 24, 2021. Visit the ARP-Capital technical assistance webpage for award submission guidance, technical assistance information, and other resources.

Michigan Seeking Vendors to Provide Mobile Vaccination Services

LANSING–To help improve COVID-19 vaccination access for high-risk populations and settings across Michigan, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) have issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to conduct mobile vaccination services.

“Settings where numerous people live or work in close proximity to one another present a high risk for spread of COVID-19 and require more flexible vaccination services,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “Providing mobile vaccination services will help ensure these high-risk individuals have access to the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine and help the state reach its goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders ages 16 and older and quickly as possible.”

Six site or setting types are included in the RFP:

  1. Homebound vaccinations
  2. Community-based mobile clinics
  3. Neighborhood testing sites
  4. Seasonal agricultural workers
  5. Shelters, transient communities, other vulnerable populations
  6. Medium to large vaccination sites

Bidders will be required to schedule appointments and manage all logistics involved in providing mobile vaccinations. Bidders have the ability to bid on one or more regions in the state to provide any of the six sites or setting types. The regions are based on State of Michigan Prosperity Regions and include:

  • Region 1 (Upper Peninsula)
  • Region 2 (Northwest)
  • Region 3 (Northeast)
  • Region 4 (West Michigan)
  • Region 5 (East Central)
  • Region 6 (East Michigan)
  • Region 7 (South Central)
  • Region 8 (Southwest)
  • Region 9 (Southeast Michigan)
  • Region 10 (Detroit Metro)

Awards will be based on the ability to provide services to one or more of the six site types and multiple awards may be issued. Contractors will also be responsible for rapid response to provide vaccinations (and potentially testing) at locations and community locations when COVID-19 outbreaks occur. Vaccinations are expected to serve on average 2,000 to 6,000 individuals per day statewide, across as few as one or as many as 15+ locations.

Bids are due Wednesday, May 12 by 3 p.m. RFP No. 210000001690 is posted on the SIGMA Vendor Self-Service at

Michigan residents seeking more information about the COVID-19 vaccine can visit Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at and

–MDHHS website

HHS Expands COVID-19 Vaccine to All Community Health Centers

WASHINGTON, D.C.–U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra today announced that all HRSA-funded health centers and Health Center Program look-alikes (LALs) will now be invited to participate in the Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program. These health centers will have the opportunity to join the program as soon as they are ready, increasing the total number of health centers that have been invited to 1,470 nationwide. This expansion will be made through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This expansion of the Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program is part of President Biden’s commitment to ensuring that all of the nation’s underserved communities and those disproportionately affected by COVID-19 are equitably vaccinated. This voluntary program started on February 9 with 250 select health centers, then expanded on March 11 to invite an additional 700 health centers. For this phase, an additional 520 health centers that operate over 2,500 service delivery sites are now eligible to participate. Approximately 70 percent of those who have received a vaccine through the program are racial or ethnic minorities.

“Increasing access to vaccines among those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic is critical. By adding to the number of community health centers participating in this program, we will help make sure shots are getting to those who need them most,” said Secretary Becerra. “The medical professionals at these local health centers already have trusted relationships in these communities, and this expansion will ensure every community health center in the country can be a part of our vaccination effort.”

HRSA-funded health centers are community-based and patient-directed organizations that deliver affordable, accessible, quality, and cost-effective primary health care to nearly 30 million patients each year. Over 91 percent of health center patients are individuals or families living at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines and nearly 63 percent are racial or ethnic minorities. Health centers across the nation are playing vital roles in supporting local community responses to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

To view a list of the health centers participating in or invited to join the program please visit:

To locate a HRSA-funded health center, visit:

HHS Announces More Than 500,000 Have Enrolled in Marketplace Coverage

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Recently, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announced that more than half a million consumers have already signed up for health insurance through as a result of the Biden Administration’s Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. The SEP, along with the additional financial assistance afforded by the American Rescue Plan (ARP), offers the opportunity for individuals and families to take advantage of significantly reduced premiums, increased savings, and quality, affordable health coverage through the Marketplaces using the federal platform.

The report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which covers plan selections from February 15 to March 31, also shows gains in enrollment among historically uninsured communities, including Black consumers and Americans near the poverty level. Of applicants who identified a race, 17 percent identified as Black – compared to about 11 percent in both 2020 and 2019 during the same time period. Among consumers requesting financial assistance, 41 percent report being at or slightly above the federal poverty level, compared to 38 percent in 2020 and 33 percent in 2019.

Nearly 15 million Americans who currently lack health insurance, and many current enrollees, are eligible to receive additional financial support in obtaining Marketplace coverage as part of the ARP. An average of four out of five consumers currently enrolled in Marketplace coverage can now find a plan for $10 or less per month after financial assistance.

Click here for complete HHS news release.

The 2021 SEP is available to consumers in the 36 states with Marketplaces that use the platform through August 15, 2021.

For more information on the March enrollment report, visit:

For more information about the Health Insurance Marketplace®1, visit:

For more information about the American Rescue Plan and the Health Insurance Marketplace®, visit:

Community Health Center Doctors on COVID-19, Health Equity and Vaccines

BETHESDA, Md.–In a new video, Community Health Center physicians from around the country reflect on their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic – a year in which the inequalities and racism in health care were glaringly exposed. Produced by the South Carolina Primary Health Care Association, this 6-minute video captures how health centers pivoted their operations quickly to respond to COVID-19 and underscores the importance of protecting yourself, family and friends by getting vaccinated.

“You have a choice, but your best choice is to take the vaccine,” says Dr. Faith Polkey of Beaufort Jasper Hampton Comprehensive Health Services in South Carolina.

Watch the video

The video features the following health center physicians:

Dr. Faith Polkey, MD, MPH – Beaufort Jasper Hampton Comprehensive Health Services, Inc.

Dr. Dan Miller, MD – Sun River Health Care, Inc.

Dr. Felix Valbuena, MD, FAAFP – The Community Health and Social Services Center, Inc. 

Dr. Kim Chang, MD, MPH  – Asian Health Services, Inc.