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Media Inquiries

MPCA is happy to provide interviews, quotes, and background information to members of the media researching, writing, and producing reports about Michigan Health Centers, the health care safety net, and other community-based health and access to health care topics.

Media Contact:

Dana Lawrence, Director of Communications & Grassroots Advocacy

MPCA in the News  |  2014

Obamacare's Sign-up Period is Ending - Here's How Enroll America is Getting Ready
The Washington Post Wonkblog, February 14, 2014


MPCA Press Releases  |  2014

2013 Archives  |  2012 Archives

MPCA Welcomes New Interim CEO, Dennis LitosOpen in a New Window

The Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA), the voice for health centers and other community-based providers in Michigan, welcomes Dennis Litos as the new interim CEO. Litos replaces Loretta V. Bush, who has assumed the CEO position for Authority Health. 


“I am excited to lead the MPCA through this transition period to ensure continuity for employees, health center members, and external agencies we partner with,” said Litos.


Litos joins MPCA with 23 years of CEO leadership in the health care industry, including health systems, insurance, and clinically integrated networks.


“Dennis’ extensive experience in health care administration and familiarity with the association makes him the ideal person to lead MPCA during this transition,” said Brenda Coughlin, Great Lakes Bay Health Centers CEO and MPCA board president. “His knowledge will grow our mission, serve our members, and help Michigan health centers provide the best possible care to their patients.”


MPCA Annual Award Presented to Sen. Shirkey for Dental Therapist LegislationOpen in a New Window


Center for Family Health CEO Molly Kaser with Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey.


Today the Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA) presented Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R–Clarklake) with the Champion for the Medically Underserved Award for his sponsorship of and advocacy for Senate Bill 541.


“Having coverage for dental services doesn’t guarantee care, especially if you’re a Medicaid beneficiary,” said Molly Kaser, Center for Family Health’s chief executive officer and MPCA’s board president-elect. “Health centers know we should use every evidence-based model of care at our disposal to ensure our communities get access to care they need. We’re grateful for Sen. Shirkey’s willingness to explore innovative solutions to these massive coverage gaps.”


Only 10 percent of licensed dentists in Michigan provide services to Medicaid beneficiaries, and 76 of Michigan’s 83 counties have at least one dental shortage area. Although Michigan’s community health centers have stepped in to fill the gaps, especially for patients on Medicaid, the need for care is still greater than their capacity to provide it.


As one way to address the problem, Sen. Shirkey introduced Senate Bill 541, which was signed into law on Dec. 28, 2018. The bill allows for the licensure of dental therapists, midlevel providers who can perform routine dental care, such as cleanings and fillings, under the supervision of a dentist. The bill also requires that half of a dental therapist’s patients be low income, disabled, or uninsured.


“I am honored and humbled to receive this award from the Michigan Primary Care Association,” said Sen. Shirkey. “The licensure of dental therapists is an excellent example of how we were able to solve a problem by finding solutions within our existing systems. Oral health care is an important part of maintaining overall health and well-being. This legislation provides for the necessary expansion of critical services to underserved areas. I appreciate the recognition for finding commonsense solutions to lingering problems.”


This award, given annually during the MPCA’s Legislative Forum, recognizes leaders for their work in promoting and protecting affordable, quality health care for medically underserved populations in Michigan.


Delta Dental Foundation Grant Extends Successful Program for Underserved Pregnant WomenOpen in a New Window

A statewide community outreach pilot program for pregnant women in high-risk populations and run by University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry will continue and expand, thanks to a $630,000 grant from the Delta Dental Foundation (DDF).
Michigan Initiative for Maternal and Infant Oral Health (MIMOH), which started in 2017 with a nearly million-dollar grant from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, integrates a dental checkup into the mother’s scheduled obstetrician appointment, making it more convenient for her to address oral health needs during pregnancy. 
“To improve the oral health outcomes for high-risk infants and young children we need to start looking at ways we can improve the perinatal oral health of the mother,” said Divesh Byrappagari, director of dental public health and outreach at Detroit Mercy Dental. Infants are also at higher risk of developing tooth decay if mothers have poor oral hygiene during and after pregnancy, he added.
MIMOH is modeled after a program Grace Health in Battle Creek has run for four years. Pilot sites were found through a partnership with the Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA). In addition to Grace Health, they are Covenant Community Care in Detroit, Great Lakes Bay Health Center in Bay City, Ingham Community Health Center in Lansing, InterCare Community Health Network in Benton Harbor, Muskegon Family Care in Muskegon and Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center in Hancock. Through the grant, the sites were given funding to hire a dental hygienist who provided preventive dental care, oral health instructions and referrals to dentists for long-term care in a dental chair in their obstetrician’s office. 
“This program provides critical access to dental services for many people who otherwise wouldn’t obtain it,” said Jen Anderson, MPCA spokesperson. “For many Medicaid beneficiaries, community health centers are the only places they can go to receive dental care. By connecting pregnant patients to a hygienist during their prenatal visit, it’s easier to help them — and their children — form the habits that promote good oral and overall health.”
At the end of the first year of this project, three of the sites Ingham Community, Grace Health, and InterCare — became self-sufficient and will continue the project without grant funding. The new funding from DDF and the initial MDHHS grant will help clinics currently in the project continue.  
As the primary investigator on the project, Byrappagari oversees the program and collects outcomes data for research purposes. He says preliminary data shows bacterial loads were lower in the pregnant women who received dental care and dental hygiene instruction. 

In this second year of the program, Detroit Mercy Dental faculty and students, led by Byrappagari will collect more data, including whether patients actually followed up by going to dentists to whom they were referred and the impact on early childhood preventable infectious diseases.  
“This is a very positive outcome,” Byrappagari said. 
“This program will fill a major need, allowing expectant mothers to receive dental care during one of the most critical life stages,” said Delta Dental Foundation Executive Director Holli Seabury. “Proper oral hygiene is important during pregnancy because hormonal changes can increase the risk of developing gum disease which, in turn, can affect the health of the developing baby. By promoting prenatal oral health education and dental appointments, we can help pregnant women avoid an adverse birth outcome and help them to have a healthy, full-term baby.”


World AIDS Day Asks: Do You Know Your Status?Open in a New Window

If there were a way to help more people learn about their HIV status and get faster treatment, wouldn’t you support it?


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), routine testing could reduce new HIV infections by more than 30 percent every year if all infected individuals learned their HIV status, received treatment, and changed their behavior patterns. Evidence-based policy updates can help Michigan get there.


In 2001, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) emphasized prevention services for HIV-infected persons and recommended policies for diagnosing HIV infections earlier to help more people become aware of their infection status and get clinical and prevention services. To do that, IOM and other health professionals have encouraged adoption of routine HIV testing in all health care settings. The CDC agrees with this approach. Twelve years ago, the CDC recommended routinized HIV screening in all adolescents and adults between the ages of 13 and 64, regardless of their risk factors.


The benefits are multifold.


Routinized testing can help increase diagnoses of HIV infection, destigmatize the testing process, link clinical care with prevention, and ensure immediate access to clinical care for persons with newly identified HIV infection. Plus, proper adherence to antiretroviral therapy can help people living with HIV achieve an undetectable viral load. When that occurs for at least six months, the risk of transferring the virus to a person who does not have it is negligible to nonexistent. In fact, nearly half of all people living with HIV in the United States cannot transmit HIV to any other person. Health care professionals refer to this state as “undetectable = untransmittable” (U=U). 


Because HIV disproportionately affects communities and populations served by community health centers, it’s on us to lead the way when it comes to early detection and early treatment. Both are critical to reducing rates of transmission and decreasing the risk of comorbidities, such as hepatitis C.



 Many of Michigan’s health centers have been making a concerted effort to routinize testing for HIV — and are leveraging technology to do it. At Great Lakes Bay Health Centers, CDC guidelines on routine HIV testing are integrated into the electronic medical record (EMR). If the EMR shows that a person hasn’t been tested within the guidelines, the provider will be notified during that patient’s next visit. Other health centers, such as Genesee Community Health Center and Traverse Health Clinic, alleviate cost concerns by providing free HIV testing.


“Getting to zero isn’t just about checking a box by testing once in a patient’s lifetime,” said Loretta V. Bush, MPCA chief executive officer, whose dedication to HIV education and prevention has been a lifelong mission. “True routinization requires consistent, semi-annual testing based on a patient’s risk factors, as well as ongoing, supportive care and education.”


Community health centers tackle that challenge head on by connecting more patients to comprehensive health and prevention services to reduce barriers to care. They also provide health education, food assistance, housing opportunities, and transportation — all in safe, culturally competent environments.


Routinized testing is the gateway to treatment, care, and prevention. This World AIDS Day, don’t just know your status — make a commitment to help your friends, family members, and patients know theirs, too.


Veterans Access Free Dental Care through Victors for Veterans ProgramOpen in a New Window

It started with a call to Congressman Jack Bergman’s office.

"It was a last resort, which turned out to be the best thing," said Barbara Willing. Willing turned to Congressman Bergman when the VA couldn't help her husband, Albert Raffaelle, even though his personal physician and neurologist said it was a medical emergency. Raffaelle was malnourished and had lost so much weight that his body had literally started shutting down. The reason? He couldn’t eat because he was missing so many teeth. "The VA sent me a list of dentists who help vets. I was saving up for dentures for my husband, but the cheapest I found was $2500 — a lot of money for folks on a fixed income."


Congressman Bergman’s VA liaison directed Willing and Raffaelle to a local community health center, Northwest Michigan Health Services, Inc. (NMHSI), and the Victors for Veterans program.

“When we first saw the patient, he was slumped over in a wheelchair. Just skin and bones,” said Jen Kerns, coordinator for the Victors for Veterans program at NMHSI. The patient, Albert Raffaelle, and his wife, Barbara Willing, were trying their best, but they clearly needed help. NMHSI and the Victors for Veterans program fitted Raffaelle with dentures and kept a close eye on his recovery.



Over the next few months, Raffaelle’s health improved. He gained weight. He looked better. And, he was able to leave his wheelchair behind.


"I cannot thank Victors for Veterans enough," Willing said 

Each veteran’s experiences and the challenges they face are different, but the need is the same.

Nationwide, more than 300,000 veterans seek care from a health center, and more than 13,000 veterans call a Michigan health center their primary care home. Community health centers can help veterans, especially in rural areas, access timely primary and preventive health care — including obstetric care, behavioral health, substance use disorder treatment, and dental services. 

The number of veterans seeking care at community health centers nationwide has increased by more than 55 percent from 2008 to 2016. This change is due in part to the passage of the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act in 2014, which allows eligible veterans to receive health care in their communities rather than at the VA. Unfortunately, dental care is often overlooked.

Access to affordable dental care is a huge challenge in Michigan. Seventy-seven out of Michigan’s 83 counties have at least one dental shortage area, leaving millions of residents without access to necessary oral care. For veterans, that access problem is compounded by difficulties obtaining dental benefits. According to the Wolverine Patriot Project, of the 723,000 veterans who live in Michigan, approximately 7 percent are homeless, and many do not qualify for dental benefits. The VA only provides full oral health care to veterans who are totally disabled, were former prisoners of war, and who have a service-connected dental disability or condition. As a result, many veterans go without necessary dental care. 

Victors for Veterans aims to change that.

“I get calls from the VA every week,” Kerns said. “They’re at a loss when they have these vets come in with so many dental issues. Caseworkers tell me these horrible dental stories and beg us to give their veteran a spot in our program. It’s extremely rewarding to be able to help them, but it’s also very sad that there’s so much need and these vets aren’t being taken care of.”

The program, a local satellite of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry’s Wolverine Patriot Project, is managed by NMHSI, a Federally Qualified Health Center. With the help of a grant from Delta Dental, local fundraising, and donations, NMHSI, in association with local dentists, provides free, compassionate dental care to approximately 60 veterans each year. Last year, NMHSI provided more than $85,000 in free dental care, and they have 37 veterans registered and waiting for the next program year to begin.

While veterans are on the Victors for Veterans waiting list, they also receive dental services at NMHSI’s regular dental clinic, where they receive discounted fees through their sliding fee scale program. They are also introduced to the full suite of services NMHSI provides, including primary and preventive health care, behavioral health services, and treatment for substance use disorders. 

“Each interaction with the Victors for Veterans program is an opportunity to connect veterans to the other health care services and resources we provide, including transportation assistance and social services,” said Heidi Britton, chief executive officer of NMHSI. “Last year, we provided care to more than 150 veterans.”

NMHSI took over the Victors for Veterans program in May of 2017 and hosts the program at their Traverse City location. It’s a great fit for the health center and the community. NMHSI is a teaching facility, and they already collaborate with the University of Michigan School of Dentistry to host fourth-year dental interns. 

“Access to dental care shouldn’t be a challenge for anyone in this country, and that’s especially true for the people who’ve served our nation,” Kerns said. “We’re proud of the work we’re doing through this program, and we’re honored to be able to give back to the veterans in our community.”



To learn more about NMHSI and the services they provide, visit



Managing Diabetes Doesn’t Stop at DiagnosisOpen in a New Window

Diabetes is quickly becoming the biggest epidemic of the twenty-first century. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 30 million Americans — nearly 10 percent of the U.S. population — had diabetes in 2015, and 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with new cases of diabetes each year. A full 25 percent of people don’t even know they have the disease or are at risk.


Working toward controlled diabetes has multiple benefits: healthier people, fewer complications, and lower costs. Complications of uncontrolled diabetes, such as peripheral neuropathy, cardiovascular disease, and kidney issues, are incredibly damaging and resource intensive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total medical costs and lost work and wages for those diagnosed with diabetes totals a staggering $245 billion every year.


But despite the severe and life threatening complications, Type 2 diabetes can often be prevented — and managed — through diet and exercise. That’s why self-management and education is so important to treating the disease and improving the quality of life for patients. Health centers across the country and in Michigan are approaching the epidemic in unique ways. CHASS Center, in Michigan, is a great example of what’s working. That’s because at the Community Health and Social Services (CHASS) Center, tackling diabetes is a team sport.


Since 2001, CHASS Center has implemented and tested a number of different diabetes interventions.


When a patient is first diagnosed, the care team activates a multipronged approach to not only treat the disease, but also to educate the patient on how to manage it. After working with their patients, providers immediately refer them to a community health worker. Community health workers are the frontline defense in the battle against diabetes, especially because physicians may only see a patient two times a year. They help patients create a personalized care plan based on the treatment goal, which includes patient preferences, educational materials, and a schedule for monthly check-ins and home visits, if necessary.


Deliana Ilarraza, a CHASS community health worker, meets with a patient.


But treatment and support doesn’t stop there. Because diabetes affects all aspects of one’s health, staying healthy means having access to behavioral health specialists who can mitigate stress and encourage healthy lifestyle choices, dentists who can prevent and treat oral health complications, and an onsite pharmacy where it’s easy to pick up medication and stay on track. In addition, these providers work together to identify previously undiagnosed patients with diabetes and connect them with care, providing warm handoffs from one specialty to another. When necessary, they also coordinate care and make referrals to the Henry Ford Health System, which works with CHASS Center to provide vouchers to patients in need.


There are challenges, though.


CHASS Center serves a predominantly Latinx population, which experiences unique cultural and language barriers to accessing care. To make it easier for those patients, 97 percent of CHASS Center’s staff is bilingual, and they provide text and voicemail reminders to their patients in their language of preference. Community health workers who are connected to patients with diabetes address health literacy challenges one-on-one, meeting patients where they are to ensure they understand their condition and their treatment.


CHASS Community Health Worker Deliana Ilarraza presents during a diabetes education class.  


Exercising and preparing nutritious foods are also key to managing diabetes, but may be difficult for patients based on their home and financial situation.


At CHASS, there’s an indoor track running through the building. It provides patients and providers alike the opportunity to exercise in a safe environment any time during business hours. They’ve offered yoga and Zumba classes, and they sponsor a 5K road race every year. Patients can learn about cooking nutritious foods through lecture series, workshops, and Cooking Matters demonstration classes, which are facilitated by the Henry Ford Health System Generations with Promise Program. And, to make it easier to find those healthful foods, CHASS Center hosts a Mercado, or farmers market, which provides access to fresh fruits and vegetables every Thursday during the summer. As an added benefit, the Mercado accepts WIC Project FRESH coupons.


All these services are in addition to a number of, grant-funded programs that have specifically addressed challenges for the diabetic population. As an example, a grant in 2013 let CHASS launch Fresh Prescription (Rx), which allows providers to “prescribe” food to patients with an A1C greater than or equal to nine. Prescriptions are “filled” in the CHASS Mercado. Fresh Rx just completed its sixth year. CHASS Center also relies on new technologies, such as electronic health records, to automate alerts that prompt providers to screen patients and schedule checkups.


By actively working across specialties, educating patients in a culturally appropriate way, and addressing patients’ social determinants of health, CHASS Center has made tremendous strides in identifying patients with diabetes and helping them manage their condition. In fact, between 2014 and 2016, CHASS Center decreased the number of patients with poorly controlled diabetes by nearly 15 percent, even as the number of patients with diabetes increased by 6.9 percent.


Dr. Felix Valbuena Jr., chief executive officer at CHASS Center, describes it as a work in progress. “While continuing all of our efforts to work as a team to control diabetes and its consequences, our ultimate goal is to increase efficient preventive efforts to decrease the chronic illness burden and improve the overall health and well-being of the community we serve,” he said. 


Community Health Centers Provide Early Detection and Screening Services for Breast CancerOpen in a New Window



October isn’t just decorative gourd season — it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month. The “go pink” initiative is one of the most successful awareness campaigns in existence, and for good reason. About one in every eight women will develop invasive breast cancer. In fact, for women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.


So what’s actually being done to help more women catch malignancies earlier?

Although breast cancer isn’t wholly preventable, we do know that maintaining a healthy weight, staying physically active, eating nutritious foods, limiting alcohol, quitting smoking, breastfeeding, and reducing the duration of hormone therapy can reduce someone’s risk. However, individuals in underserved communities often face a number of systemic challenges that may make it difficult, or even impossible, to manage their risks and access timely care. As a result, early screening and detection becomes incredibly important.

Fortunately, there’s a massive primary care network that’s specifically built to address the needs of the most vulnerable: America’s health centers. That’s where the Community Health Worker Cancer grant comes in. The grant, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and overseen by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), aims to help organizations increase breast and cervical cancer screening rates.

As part of that grant, MPCA works with quality improvement teams at Advantage Health Centers and Baldwin Family Care. Every two months, the MPCA team meets with each health center to obtain updates on their workflows and identify successes and areas of improvement. Both teams have been working hard on prevention through education and raising their screening rates with evidence-based interventions (EBIs), which include client reminders, provider reminders, reducing structural barriers, and provider assessment and feedback.

Client reminders include anything that will assist the patient in creating an appointment, showing up to their appointment, and maintaining contact between patient and provider for any follow-up that is necessary. Provider assessment and feedback focuses on clinic systems that track provider progress, such as an IT system that reports the percentage of the provider’s patients in the screening cohort who are eligible for screening against those patients who have received a screening in the last 12 months. Providers in one clinic would then be able to compare their report cards and share successes.

Reducing structural barriers encompasses any barrier to screening that a patient may face, such as language barriers, transportation issues, and accessibility to the health center. An example of reducing a barrier could be having translators available or having a driving service and/or bus passes available for those patients who cannot get to the clinic on their own.
Each health center chooses the EBIs that best suit their patient population, and they actively use health information technology, such as their electronic health records, to identify patients for screening. The results speak for themselves.

At Baldwin Family Care, breast cancer screening rates have increased by more than 10 percent in the last quarter. Their team uses their patient portal to send targeted follow-up requests and appointment reminders. Internally, their team maintains a whiteboard displaying each provider’s screening rates, which not only serves as provider assessment and feedback, but also promotes sustained awareness. Onsite mammography has also helped reduce transportation and scheduling barriers.

Because their patients have always faced transportation and language challenges, Advantage decided to work on reducing structural barriers. Their team has taken steps to bolster health education, improve screening availability, establish community partnerships, and help patients get to and from appointments. In addition, they’re piloting a text message system for client reminders, which will improve patient communications beyond the scope of the grant. Advantage started halfway through the grant year, which means they are still gathering data on program effectiveness, but there are more than 330 women are within the target age range (50–74) for the project.

The grant runs until Sept. 30, 2020, and will generate powerful lessons learned for other health centers hoping to increase screenings and help more patients access the care they need. To learn more contact Nina Lavi-Hoke at


Michigan Celebrates National Health Center Week 2018Open in a New Window

LANSING, Mich.—As part of National Health Center Week (NHCW), Michigan’s health centers are hosting more than 100 events — including health fairs, back-to-school celebrations, pop-ups, races, and picnics — throughout the state. The statewide celebration, officially proclaimed by Gov. Snyder, runs August 12–18 with the goal of raising awareness about the mission and accomplishments of Michigan’s 45 health centers.


“National Health Center Week is our favorite time of the year because it gives us the opportunity to showcase the incredible work community health centers do every day,” said Loretta V. Bush, chief executive officer, Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA). “What many people don’t know is that health centers look beyond the charts, not only to prevent illness, but also to address the factors that actually cause poor health, such as poverty, homelessness, substance use, mental illness, lack of nutrition, and unemployment.”


Community health centers are part of a nationwide network that serves more than 28 million Americans, a number that continues to grow along with the demand for affordable primary care. Community health centers have compiled a significant record of success that includes:


  • Producing $24 billion in annual health system savings;
  • Reducing unnecessary hospitalizations and visits to the emergency room;
  • Treating patients for a fraction of the average cost of one emergency room visit;
  • Maintaining patient satisfaction levels of nearly 100 percent;
  • Serving more than one in six Medicaid beneficiaries for less than two percent of the national Medicaid budget.
  • Lowering the cost of children’s primary care by approximately 35 percent.

Here in Michigan, health centers serve more than 700,000 patients at more than 300 sites throughout the state. About 54 percent of those patients rely on Medicaid to receive care. The heroes who work at health centers not only prevent illness and foster wellness among the most challenging populations; they also create innovative solutions to the most pressing health care issues in their communities.


“I can’t think of any other place where you can meet all your primary health needs under one roof and take cooking, exercise, and health education classes,” said Bush. “Community health centers also connect patients to social services, such as food, housing, or job assistance, as well as enabling services that help them access care, such as transportation or translation.”


Because of their long record of success in innovation, managing health care costs, and reducing chronic disease, health centers have a proud tradition of bipartisan support in Congress.


To learn more about NHCW and the events happening nationwide, please visit or follow the conversation using #NHCW18 on Twitter.


MPCA Rebrands: The Voice for Community Health CentersOpen in a New Window

by Loretta V. Bush


If you haven’t noticed already, the MPCA has a new look, and we couldn’t be more excited to share it with you.


We decided to embark on this rebranding journey as part of our 2017–2019 strategic plan, largely because our board had the vision to understand that as health policy and the delivery of care evolves, so must we. Ensuring the face of our association matches our mission helps us better support our members and positions us for the future of health care.


Our new logo and tagline is the direct result of six months of work with Güd Marketing — work that included gathering data from our members, our employees, and our community stakeholders. Because your input helps us shape and strengthen who we are and what we do, we used what we learned to drill down to the core of our association’s mission. Over and over again, we heard words such as “leader” and “advocate” and “model for the nation.” But, perhaps most importantly, we heard “voice.”


We are, and always will be, fierce advocates for quality, integrated care. That, combined with our compassion for people is what drives us to engage at every stage of the health care conversation. Our collective body of work, from technical assistance to grassroots advocacy, exists to help community health centers deliver comprehensive care and improve health for all.


Over the coming weeks, we’ll be rolling out this new logo on our website and in all of our printed and digital materials. But rebranding isn’t just about changing the logo, tagline, and colors. It’s about re-envisioning who you are, what you do, and why your work matters. It’s what you live every day.


Together, whether it’s in Washington, D.C., or Iron Mountain, we will speak with the power of a thousand voices to address the unique needs of the communities we serve.





ACEs Initiative Could Save Michigan's Youth, If We Let ItOpen in a New Window

by Loretta V. Bush, MSHA, CEO

Imagine: what if a 10-question assessment could add 20 years to a patient’s life?

The CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study has shown that exposure to adverse events in childhood — divorce, domestic violence, abuse, poverty, neglect — has a negative impact on a number of health metrics that follow these kids through life. It’s not necessarily because they’re engaging in risky behaviors, either. Traumatic stress in children triggers real changes in brain chemistry and architecture, DNA, physiology, and immune response. Children with four or more ACEs are 32 times more likely to have learning or behavior problems in school as kids with no ACEs. And, perhaps most shockingly, data suggest that people die 20 years sooner when they have six or more ACEs.

As the number of adverse childhood events increases, so do poor mental and physical health outcomes. These chronic conditions are expensive to treat, too. In fact, one-third of all health care costs in Michigan are directly related to high ACE scores. This data has significant implications for payment reform. As we move toward value-based care that prioritizes outcomes over encounters, we’ll be compelled to assess and address ACEs so that we reliably improve health outcomes — and therefore save money.

But we also need to turn our attention to the human costs.

If we know that ACEs have wide-ranging health and social consequences, we have a moral obligation to find ways to prevent or mitigate them. We — providers, social workers, parents, mentors, coaches, teachers, and friends — have the ability to help children build resilience and break cycles of generational trauma. We need a massive culture shift that focuses on “what happened to you?” versus “what’s wrong with you?”

That’s why the Michigan Association of Health Plans Foundation, thanks to funding from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, created the Michigan ACE Initiative. Their goal is to increase statewide awareness, develop a statewide coalition to recommend appropriate interventions and state policy, and shape Medicaid policy to better respond to ACEs. They’re training people who interact with kids on a regular basis to understand behaviors that exemplify ACEs and connect them to the medical, behavioral, and social supports they need in their communities.

I look at Michigan’s community health centers as the perfect places to start those 10-question ACEs screenings. Health centers are already providing the integrated care necessary, often all under one roof, to get children on the right track. If a member of the care team finds that a child has six or more ACEs and provides targeted interventions and wraparound services right away, we can help make sure that child doesn’t end up a statistic.

The MPCA is going to make this easier for you, too. At our annual conference this July, you’ll have an opportunity to learn about resources and training that will give you the tools you need to implement ACEs assessments in your health centers. This isn’t just another piece of paperwork or obligation — it’s an opportunity to reduce seven out of 10 leading causes of death, diminish disease before damage occurs, and ensure that Michiganders have every opportunity to live full, productive lives.

I hope you’ll watch the ACEs Initiative video and commit your teams to brighter, healthier futures for Michigan’s youth.



Bipartisan Legislation Seeks to Help Kids Succeed in the ClassroomOpen in a New Window

LANSING, Mich.—Dentists, dental hygienists, public health officials, children’s health and education leaders today urged the Legislature to pass a bipartisan bill aimed at improving the ability of Michigan children to succeed in the classroom by treating dental issues that are often painful, affect learning and cause kids to miss school.


Under HB 5241, all children starting kindergarten in Michigan would have a dental screening, in addition to the hearing and vision screenings that have been required for many decades. The bill is sponsored by 25 Republican and Democrat lawmakers and supported by a broad coalition of dentists, public health leaders, children’s health advocates, and public education organizations.


State lawmakers and supporters announced the legislation today at a news conference at Fairview STEM Magnet School in Lansing.


“Oral health and a child’s success in school are connected,” said state Rep. Scott VanSingel, R-Grant, lead sponsor of HB 5241. “Children nationwide miss 51 million hours of school per year due to oral health issues – many of which are preventable. HB 5241 can improve the ability of children to learn and succeed in school.”


While many children starting kindergarten in Michigan already have regular dental care, some children — especially those living in poverty — do not. VanSingel noted that in some areas of the state, as few as 25 percent of children have seen a dentist in the past year. In Detroit, the prevalence of dental disease in children is about 42 percent.


“For decades, children entering kindergarten in Michigan have received vision and hearing screenings to identify health issues that could impede learning,” said Anne Scott, executive director of Ingham Community Health Centers and deputy health officer for the Ingham County Health Department. “Those are preventative, proactive public policy measures that help to maximize a child’s ability to learn. A dental screening would have the same intent and affect.”


Grand Rapids dentist Dr. Debra Peters, president of the Michigan Dental Association, noted that tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease in the United States (five times more common than asthma). About 37 percent of children ages 6 to 9 have dental caries, but the number almost doubles, to 69 percent, for children living in poverty. “Nearly half of all children entering kindergarten have had a least one cavity, and 50 percent of first graders have dental decay,” Peters said. “A dental screening will help to identify oral health problems that can affect learning in at-risk children who are not accessing dental care before they start school.”


Jan Miller, RDH, president of the Michigan Dental Hygienists’ Association, said passage of HB 5241 would create a “common sense program and policy” that will improve the health status of thousands of Michigan children and their readiness for classroom success.


“Dental hygienists are proud to stand with dentists, public health leaders, public education leaders and a remarkable bipartisan group of state lawmakers to urge passage of a common sense program and policy that will benefit thousands of Michigan children for generations to come,” Miller said.


Under HB 5241, dental hygienists or dentists would provide dental screenings to an estimated 20,000 to 40,000 new kindergarten students in Michigan each year who do not have dental insurance. The program would be managed by the state Department of Health and Human Services and local public health agencies.


The House Fiscal Agency estimates annual costs for screening all eligible children at $1.6 million to $1.8 million. The funds would cover each screening, plus staff and program management at the state and county health departments. Assessments for most children on Medicaid will be covered by the state’s Healthy Kids Dental program, which covers nearly 1 million low-income children in all 83 counties.


In addition to strong bipartisan support in the Legislature, HB 5241 is supported by Delta Dental of Michigan, the Michigan Dental Association, Michigan Oral Health Coalition (with more than 120 members across the state), Michigan Dental Hygienists’ Association, Michigan Primary Care Association, Michigan Association for Local Public Health, My Community Dental Centers, and the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association. Some other organizations are in the process of finalizing their support with their boards and members.


A hearing on the bill is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 16 in the House Health Policy Committee in Room 519 of the House Office Building.


MPCA Presents Award to Sen. Proos for Criminal Justice Pilot ProgramOpen in a New Window

Today the Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA) presented Sen. John Proos (R–St. Joseph) with the Champion for the Medically Underserved Award. This award, given annually during the MPCA’s Legislative Forum, recognizes leaders for their work in promoting and protecting affordable, quality health care for medically underserved populations in Michigan.


“The justice-involved population is so often overlooked when it comes to access to health care and social services,” said Loretta V. Bush, Chief Executive Officer, MPCA. “Sen. Proos’ willingness to tackle recidivism by funding increased access to care through community partnerships is a step in the right direction.”


Recidivism is one of the primary drivers of increased state General Fund expenses for the state as it relates to the criminal justice-involved population. Research suggests that when returning residents have access to health care and social support services, they may be less likely to reoffend. Sen. Proos worked in conjunction with the MPCA to provide a budget appropriation (Section 406, FY17–18) designed to fund a pilot program to address these complicated issues and help returning residents get and stay healthy.


The pilot program, called Connection to Care, involves facilitated hand-offs from the Michigan Department of Corrections to the MPCA to ensure returning residents are connected to MyCare, a community health center, within seven days of release. At the health center, returning residents have access to medical, dental, behavioral, and substance use disorder services, as well as a health coach with lived experience. The health center also connects the returning resident with appropriate social services, such as Michigan Works! or food services, temporary and permanent supportive housing assistance, or transportation.


“It is truly an honor to receive this award from the Michigan Primary Care Association, which is doing so much to help increase access to comprehensive and affordable health care,” said Proos, (R–St. Joseph). “I am proud of the bipartisan criminal justice reforms that we enacted last year. At the heart of the reforms was a refocus on meaningful rehabilitation. As rehabilitated offenders reenter society, it benefits everyone to ensure that they are able to get coverage for medical care instead of using costly ER services.”


MPCA CEO Releases Statement on Health Center Program ReauthorizationOpen in a New Window

The Michigan Primary Care Association’s Chief Executive Officer, Loretta V. Bush, issued the following statement in response to the passage of a congressional budget deal that provides two more years of funding for community health centers:


“After more than four long months, Michigan’s 45 health centers and the 700,000 patients who rely on them can rest a little easier.


“Reauthorization of the Health Center Program is a testament not only to the power of bipartisanship, but also to the power of persistent, collective advocacy. This victory belongs to those tireless advocates, all of whom have been relentless champions for the underserved.


“The uncertainty this budgetary crisis created put the health and well-being of more than 100,000 Michigan patients in jeopardy as health centers were forced to consider layoffs, cutbacks, and closures. That’s a situation we hope to never find ourselves in again. We look forward to continuing to work with the Michigan congressional delegation and our community partners to ensure the Health Center Program remains strong and adequately funded — now, and in the future.


“We’re grateful that community health centers can get back to the business of doing what they do best: providing high-quality care to their patients, without interruptions.”


What is Integrated Data and What’s the Big Deal?Open in a New Window

In a world where patient outcomes are intrinsically linked to up and coming value-based payment reform with a heavy focus on reducing costs, health care providers have to look at communities — not just individuals. That means everyone needs data. Good clinical and social determinants data.

Successfully analyzing it can illuminate true gaps in care and identify trends that, once addressed, will help make health center operations more efficient and improve patients’ lives.

At health centers, collecting, documenting, and reporting on data is part of everyday life. It’s how payment is received and trends are monitored. And for years now, electronic health records (EHRs) have been the primary means at collecting data. As a data collection tool, EHRs are useful. However, their ability to provide useful, actionable reports on the fly or a user-friendly mechanism to validate data is limited.
That’s why integrated data is so important—and it’s why the Michigan Primary Care Association contracted with Azara to develop an integrated data system (IDS) that addresses the unique needs of Michigan’s health centers. The IDS combines data from a variety of sources within the EHR into a single, unified dashboard for the user, giving them the instant ability to view, filter, and validate data.

And here’s the critical part: that data can be used immediately. It’s actionable. It can help provide a needed service to a patient, such as following up on an out-of-range lab value, or suggest workflow changes within a health center. That data can even highlight places where health centers maximize their schedules to improve access to care, address patient utilization, and create economies of scale.

The IDS also demystifies data, helping users understand exactly what they’re looking at when they receive a report. There’s no confusion about where data are being pulled from or whether the data accurately capture the true quality of care. The IDS gives users the opportunity to see exactly what data elements make up a report, regardless of how big or small the patient population. As a result, reports from the system are more likely to be acted upon. This high-level view of specific data elements allows users to identify and focus on the people and populations with the poorest health outcomes and drill down to individual gaps in care.

Right now, 12 of Michigan’s health centers are using the IDS to transform the ways they provide care, and eight more have signed on to participate. The MPCA is excited about progress to date and plans to leverage positive results and experiences to build momentum in 2018.

After all, the future of population health is data driven.

For more information about how the IDS can benefit health centers and patients, contact Cheryl Gildner at You can also register for the Azara Annual conference, which will be held from April 30 to May 2 in Boston, Massachusetts.


Day of Demonstration Demands Congressional Action for Health CentersOpen in a New Window

Day of Demonstration Demands Congressional Action for Health Centers

Access to Care for 27 Million Health Center Patients at Risk


LANSING, Mich. — Today, as part of the Day of Demonstration for America’s Health Centers, representatives from Michigan’s community health centers are in Washington, D.C., to demand a long-term fix to the Health Center Funding Cliff. As part of this national day of action, advocates across Michigan and the nation are wearing red to demonstrate the urgency of the funding situation.


“We wear red to show our passion for the health center movement, the lifeblood of the primary care system in America,” said Loretta V. Bush, Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA) chief executive officer. “Health centers have been a bipartisan national solution to our nation’s health care challenges for more than 50 years. They reduce the cost of care across the health care system and improve health outcomes for some of our most vulnerable patients.”


Health centers have been waiting since Sept. 30, 2017, for Congress to fix the funding cliff that has resulted in a significant loss of federal funding. This extended lapse in funding has made it difficult for many health centers to operate, recruit and retain providers, sign contracts and leases, and plan for the future, putting 9 million patients, 50,000 jobs, and nearly 3,000 health center sites at risk. In Michigan alone, one in seven health center patients could lose access to the only health care provider in their area.


The next opportunity for Congress to renew Health Center Program funding, along with other critical health care extenders, is February 8, when Congress reconvenes for budget negotiations or a government spending package.


“While Congress delays, access to quality, affordable care for millions hangs in the balance,” said Dr. Brenda Coughlin, Great Lakes Bay Health Centers’ chief executive officer and MPCA board president. “And it’s not just about medical services, either. Every day we provide patient-centered care that includes social support, behavioral health care, dental care, pharmacy, health education, and treatment for substance use disorders. Congress literally cannot afford to wait.”


Hepatitis A Outbreak Requires Coordinated AttackOpen in a New Window

by Loretta V. Bush, MSHA, CEO


Southeast Michigan has been rocked by an explosion of hepatitis A (HAV) infections, and the outbreak has officially spread into Huron, Ingham, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Sanilac, St. Clair, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties. 

Since August 2016, there’ve been more than 495 cases, a massive increase over previous years in which the Detroit Health Department might record only one or two cases per month. The virus, which attacks the liver, can cause flu-like symptoms, liver damage, and other health issues, and it’s almost always serious. Eighty-four percent of the people who’ve gotten sick have been hospitalized, and 19 have died. To make treating and preventing the illness more complicated, symptoms may not manifest until two to six weeks after exposure. That leaves plenty of time for infected individuals to expose others before they even know that they’re ill.

Fortunately, education and vaccination are excellent prevention measures.

We know that some people carry additional risk factors for acquiring the disease, including people with a history of substance use, people who are homeless or in transient living, men who have sex with men, incarcerated individuals, food handlers, health care workers, and people with underlying liver disease. The challenge is identifying them.

That’s why universally screening patients for HAV risk factors is so important, especially at Michigan’s health centers. “This is an all hands on deck situation,” said Dr. Joneigh S. Khaldun, Executive Director and Health Officer for the Detroit Health Department. “Health centers have a major part to play in curbing this outbreak. They are seeing some of our most vulnerable patients, which puts them on the front lines.”

In Detroit, 50 percent of HAV cases are in individuals who are on Medicaid, a population to whom health centers overwhelmingly provide care. If a health center can identify an individual at risk (or a patient who simply wants to take preventive measures), they can offer vaccination. Universal screening also gives providers the opportunity to assess whether they believe a patient may have been exposed. If so, they have a 14-day window in which to vaccinate and have that vaccination be effective in preventing the disease. And for older or immunocompromised individuals, a second injection can provide additional protection.

You may be wondering why so many people are getting sick if a safe and effective vaccine exists. The HAV vaccine didn’t become a part of the routine childhood immunization schedule until 1994. As a result, many older adults haven’t been vaccinated, leaving them susceptible to illness. Only 13 percent of Michigan adults have received the HAV vaccine. For people over 40, the vaccination rate drops to less than 5 percent. When you consider that the average age of individuals who’ve contracted HAV since August 2016 is 42 years old, that’s a serious problem.

The more people we vaccinate, the more people we can prevent from getting sick. That’s called “herd immunity.” Herd immunity is how we’ve managed to protect most of the world from diseases such as measles, whooping cough, and polio. Once a large percentage of the population is effectively immune to an infection (through vaccination), it makes it harder for that infection to move through a community. Chains of transmission are broken. The probability that someone who is not immune will come into contact with an infectious individual goes way, way down.

There’s no good reason not to get on board. Federally Qualified Health Centers that are members of the Vaccines for Children Program or the Vaccine Replacement Program can deliver vaccinations to the uninsured and still receive coverage. They can also refer uninsured individuals to their local health department, which can also provide no-cost vaccinations. 

But beyond increasing vaccination rates, there are also two more important pieces of the prevention puzzle: proper hand hygiene and bathroom cleaning. Hepatitis A enters the body through a fecal-oral transmission route — and it can survive on surfaces for weeks. That makes thoroughly cleaning hands on a regular basis and using bleach to clean bathroom surfaces key components in disrupting transmission and helping prevent infection.

The Detroit Health Department is already responding by providing targeted vaccination efforts at homeless shelters, adult foster care homes, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers, but strongly recommends broader vaccination efforts — especially for health care workers who come in direct contact with patients. It’s also important to remind patients that even if they don’t know whether they’ve had the vaccine before, it’s perfectly safe to get it again.

Health centers are encouraged to report any suspected cases within 12 hours of discovery to the Detroit Health Department by calling 313.876.4000. You can also find out more at

Dr. Khaldun said it best: “We all have to come together to get ahead of this outbreak.”


Lack of HCV Testing Means a Losing BattleOpen in a New Window

by Loretta V. Bush, MSHA, CEO


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 3.9 million Americans are living with hepatitis C (HCV) — and many of them don’t know it. That’s because people can live with the virus for years before symptoms manifest, and by then, the virus may have led to complications such as cirrhosis or liver cancer. More than 50 percent of all liver cancer cases are HCV related.

So why aren’t more people getting tested and treated?

In the past, medical professionals recommended testing only for individuals within the so-called birth cohort (those born between 1945 and 1965) or those with certain risk factors, such as people who received blood transfusions, blood products, or organ donations before June 1992. But today, studies suggest that more than 90 percent of HCV transmission in developed countries, including the U.S., takes place through needle sharing and injection drug use. Between 2005 and 2015, the number of cases of chronic HCV in U.S. young adults increased by 302 percent, which loosely correlates to rise of the opioid epidemic.

It’s harder for many of those people to get care. Individuals with substance use disorders are often unfairly blamed for acquiring HCV (or HIV) and may even be seen as being “unworthy” of treatment. And unfortunately, some health care professionals are not immune from these value judgments.

This stigma, coupled with access to care challenges, is a massive barrier when it comes to diagnosing and treating the disease. A culture change is necessary to ensure that all physicians, especially those in underserved areas, can provide the care and treatment everyone rightfully deserves. Right now, only 16 percent of the people diagnosed with HCV are prescribed treatment.

We can’t win the war if we’re not even fighting the battle.

Fighting starts by routinizing and normalizing testing and treatment in primary care environments. In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended routinized HIV screening in all people aged 13–64 regardless of risk factors. By providing routine screenings at our community health centers, we can catch more people who are unaware of their status, link those people to care, and provide treatment. Routinization also helps to make HCV testing a matter of course, reducing stigma and encouraging people to get the care they need — without fear or shame.

There’s no excuse not to test. We have more tools than ever to increase our ability to provide HCV-related care. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is working hard to provide technical assistance for the implementation of the HCV screening tool, as well as the incorporation of testing reminders in the Electronic Health Record. In addition, MDHHS labs will accept blood samples and conduct the HCV antibody test and HCV RNA test free of charge for Michigan health centers.

We can look beyond the state for help, too. Michigan health centers can apply to be a part of Gilead’s FOCUS program, which was created to increase partnerships and make routine HIV/HCV screening a standard of medical care. As part of the program, Gilead will provide seed money to help augment electronic health records for testing triggers. To learn more, contact Monique Rucker, Regional Lead for Michigan and Ohio, by emailing or by calling 410.207.6701 before October 23, 2017.

There is a cure. We just have to deliver it.


Michigan Celebrates National Health Center Week 2017Open in a New Window

LANSING, Mich.—As part of National Health Center Week (NHCW), Michigan’s health centers are hosting more than 90 events — including health fairs, back-to-school celebrations, pop-ups, races, and picnics — throughout the state. The statewide celebration, officially proclaimed by Gov. Snyder, runs August 13–19 with the goal of raising awareness about the mission and accomplishments of Michigan’s 45 health centers.


“National Health Center Week is our favorite time of the year because it gives us the opportunity to showcase the incredible work community health centers do every day,” said Loretta V. Bush, chief executive officer, Michigan Primary Care Association. “Each health center is unique to its community, making it perfectly positioned to break down financial, geographic, linguistic, and cultural barriers their patients face.”


Community health centers in Michigan serve more than 650,000 people, a number that continues to grow along with the demand for affordable, high-quality primary care—including medical, dental, and behavioral health services. And, with more than 4,900 employees, health centers are economic engines in their communities, too. Michigan’s health centers have compiled a significant record of success that includes:


  • Helping to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and visits to the emergency room;
  • Treating patients for a fraction of the average cost of one emergency room visit;
  • Maintaining patient satisfaction levels of nearly 100 percent; 
  • Serving more than 20 percent of the state’s Medicaid beneficiaries for only 1.7 percent of the state’s Medicaid budget.


Health centers not only prevent illness and foster wellness among the most challenging populations; they also create innovative solutions to the most pressing health care issues in their communities. They reach beyond the walls of conventional medicine to address the social factors that can cause sickness, such as lack of nutrition, mental illness, homelessness and opioid addiction. Because of their long record of success in innovation, managing health care costs, and reducing chronic disease, health centers have a proud tradition of bipartisan support in Congress.


To learn more about NHCW and the events happening nationwide, please visit and follow the conversation using #NHCW17 on Twitter.


Better Care Act Wrong Choice for Michigan, AmericaOpen in a New Window

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Primary Care Association’s Chief Executive Officer, Loretta V. Bush, issued the following statement in response to the Congressional Budget Office’s scoring of the Better Care Act: 

“The Better Care Act is a deeply troubling piece of legislation that flies in the face of industry experts as well as the will of the American people. It doesn’t fix the Affordable Care Act. Instead, it largely focuses on dismantling the Medicaid program — the most successful, cost-effective and widely used benefit program in existence. The Congressional Budget Office makes it clear: if passed, the Better Care Act will harm millions of people. 

“If the health center movement has taught us anything, it’s that bipartisan solutions to our national health care challenge are possible. Congress must put people first and focus on strengthening access to preventive care and affordable coverage.”


MPCA Welcomes New Chief Operating OfficerOpen in a New Window

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA), the voice for health centers and other community-based providers in Michigan, welcomes Dan Thompson as the new chief operating officer. Thompson will provide operational leadership and help grow new partnerships with other statewide health care leaders. 


“I am excited to return to MPCA and continue the great work we do to help health centers deliver affordable and accessible care to everyone in Michigan,” Thompson said.


Thompson joins MPCA with more than 26 years of health care leadership in both the private and public sectors, including associations, health systems, and direct service providers. He has extensive experience in maximizing operational effectiveness, planning programs, and securing grant funding.


Most recently, Thompson served as business process owner at Jackson National Life where he was responsible for overseeing licensing and appointments for nearly 150,000 insurance brokers in North America. Prior to his tenure at Jackson National Life, Thompson held multiple leadership roles at Prima Civitas, the Michigan Nonprofit Association, and Spectrum Health. He also served as the MPCA’s chief operating officer between 1998 and 2001.


“We know Dan will be a great fit, largely because he was a key player in the organization,” said Loretta V. Bush, chief executive officer, MPCA. “Since then, Dan has only strengthened his portfolio. He’s bringing us experience and knowledge that will help us grow our mission, serve our members, and, ultimately, improve the health of Michigan residents.”


Thompson previously served on the Michigan Nurses Foundation Board of Directors, Grand Valley State University School of Public and Nonprofit Administration Advisory Board, Blue Cross Blue Shield West Michigan Region Community Advisory Council, and the Cherry Health Capital Campaign Cabinet.  


AHCA Passage Jeopardizes Care for All AmericansOpen in a New Window

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Primary Care Association’s Chief Executive Officer, Loretta V. Bush, issued the following statement in response to the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of the American Health Care Act:


“This bill is hardly what the American people were promised. In its current form, the American Health Care Act falls woefully short when it comes to protecting our most vulnerable populations, especially those covered by Medicaid and the Healthy Michigan Plan. It’s up to the U.S. Senate to focus on strengthening, not dismantling, access to preventive, affordable care. More than 24 million people, along with the clinicians who serve them, are depending on it.”


AHCA Threatens Coverage of Millions According to CBOOpen in a New Window

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Primary Care Association’s Chief Executive Officer, Loretta V. Bush, issued the following statement in response to the Congressional Budget Office’s scoring of the American Health Care Act: 

“Any plan that nearly doubles the number of uninsured individuals is deeply concerning. The Congressional Budget Office's review highlights the fact that more work is necessary to ensure the health care needs of millions are addressed. We strongly encourage Congress to reevaluate their approach and focus on strengthening access to preventive care and affordable coverage."



Champion for the Medically Underserved Award Presented to Senate Minority Leader Jim AnanichOpen in a New Window


LANSING, Mich. — Last night the Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA) presented Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D–Flint) with the Champion for the Medically Underserved Award. This award, given annually during the MPCA’s Legislative Forum, recognizes leaders for their work in promoting and protecting affordable, quality health care for medically underserved populations in Michigan.

“Although there are many leaders who deserve recognition for helping address the Flint water crisis, the MPCA is singling out Sen. Ananich for his bold action and unwavering dedication to his community,” said Loretta V. Bush, Chief Executive Officer, MPCA. “He’s tirelessly fought for state resources that will help keep Flint’s children healthy now and in the future. I know that his leadership will help ensure that no other Michigan residents will be faced with a public health crisis of this scale again. ”  
In late 2015, a study conducted by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha revealed elevated blood-lead levels in Flint’s children as a result of contaminated drinking water. Since then, Sen. Ananich has led the charge to obtain financial assistance for Flint residents. Importantly, that funding has not only been for water and filters, but also for infrastructure improvements, nutritious foods, and additional school nurses — all of which are crucial to mitigating long-term negative side effects. 
Sen. Ananich also served as a member of the Joint Select Committee on the Flint Water Emergency and has fought to hold all levels of government accountable for the crisis. Today, Sen. Ananich continues to work to establish policies that will help keep our water safer and protect future generations of Michigan’s children.
“I’m very honored to be receiving this acknowledgement from the Michigan Primary Care Association,” Sen. Ananich said. “At the height of the water crisis, many people came together to demand that Flint residents get the care they need, no matter the size of their paycheck.  The unfortunate reality is that, due to long-term effects of lead exposure, health concerns in Flint will continue long after the pipes are repaired. I will keep fighting every day for every resident to have access to quality health care.”



For more than 35 years, the Michigan Primary Care Association has been the voice for Health Centers and other community-based providers. MPCA is a leader in building a healthy society in which all residents have convenient and affordable access to quality health care. Today, 43 Michigan Health Center organizations provide quality, affordable, comprehensive primary and preventive care to 650,000 Michigan residents at 260 delivery sites across the state. MPCA’s mission is to promote, support, and develop comprehensive, accessible, and affordable quality community-based primary care services to everyone in Michigan. For more information, please visit



Michigan highlights American Diabetes Month, holds awareness event at CapitolOpen in a New Window

LANSING, Mich. – Throughout the month of November, Michigan has highlighted American Diabetes Month to raise awareness and help residents lead healthier lifestyles. In 2014, an estimated 10.4 percent of Michigan adults were diagnosed with diabetes. As part of the efforts to reduce the rate of diabetes and improve diabetes management, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is joining the Michigan Diabetes Partners in Action Coalition and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in hosting an event this Thursday, Nov. 17, from 9:30 to 10 a.m. in the Speaker’s Library, Room H252, of the State Capitol Building in Lansing, Mich.


This year’s theme for American Diabetes Month is This is Diabetes™ which salutes the 29 million Americans with diabetes and their loved ones as we raise awareness about this significant public health crisis.  The national campaign showcases real-life stories of friends, families and neighbors managing the day-to-day triumphs and challenges of diabetes. The ADA invites those with diabetes, their families and caregivers to share their story on social media using #ThisIsDiabetes.


While many are familiar with type 2 diabetes, prediabetes is a serious, lesser-known condition that often leads to type 2 diabetes.  Prediabetes affects nearly 2.6 million Michigan residents. People with prediabetes have higher than normal blood glucose (sugar) levels but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. For those with prediabetes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Diabetes Prevention Program can help reduce risk through modest weight loss and increased physical activity. Research shows that people at high risk for diabetes can lower their risk for type 2 diabetes by 58 percent by losing 5-7 percent of their body weight through healthier eating and 150 minutes of physical activity a week. 


For the more than 1 million Michiganders with diabetes, diabetes self-management education (DSME) continues to be the cornerstone of treatment. DSME assists with behavior change related to healthy eating, physical activity and self-monitoring.  DSME also provides the tools that help address the serious complications of diabetes such as heart attacks, strokes, blindness and kidney disease. 


The Capitol event this Thursday will include a talk by Candice Lee, MSA, of the MDHHS Arthritis Program, about a family member's struggle with diabetes in a talk titled Changing a Story’s End: Stopping One Family’s Tale of Diabetes. The public is invited and welcome to attend.  For more information, contact Gary Dougherty at


For a diabetes risk test and a list of Michigan Diabetes Prevention programs, visit,5885,7-339-71550_2955_2980_3168-136877--,00.html. More information about DSME and Michigan’s more than 90 DSME programs, can be found at



Source: Michigan Department of Health & Human Services


MDHHS issues RFPs to support individuals with developmental disabilitiesOpen in a New Window

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC) within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is issuing a request for proposal (RFP) for Leadership, Engagement and Advocacy Development (LEAD) to support individuals and families living with developmental disabilities.


The MDDC seeks an organization to develop a program that provides intensive training for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and parents of minor children with I/DD. The training will help individuals in Michigan learn to achieve systems change by being effective public policy advocates at the state and federal level. The program will also help individuals become leaders in the disability advocacy movement and in the public discussion of policies that impact their lives and roles in the community.


The RFP is open to private non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, and governmental agencies with demonstrated knowledge and understanding of, and commitment to, self-determination and community inclusion for people with developmental disabilities and their families.  The successful applicant for this RFP will be awarded up to $1,372,000 over a five-year grant period, and will ensure recruitment, participation and completion of participants from African-American, Latino, Asian-American, Arab-American, and Native American communities.


Only one application will be accepted from each applicant.  Applications, any related materials, and attachments must be submitted electronically using the DD Suite website by Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016. To apply for the LEAD grant or for detailed instructions on how to register for an account with DD Suite, visit the DD Suite website at


Any questions about the RFP or for technical assistance with the DD Suite website, please contact Tedra Jackson at 517-284-7294 or Questions about the RFP must be received by Monday, Dec. 12, 2016.  The MDDC will compile all relevant questions and answers and post these as well as any other clarifications or revisions to the initial RFP by Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, on the MDDC website.


For full RFP details and additional information about the MDDC and its programs, visit the Council’s website at 




Source: Michigan Department of Health & Human Services


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