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Blues give $1.2M in grants to expand health services

Karen Bouffard
The Detroit News

Two Detroit health clinics each have received $100,000 grants to help expand access to health care in the city.

The funding is part of more than $1.2 million awarded statewide by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and its foundation to increase access to medical and dental services for Michigan residents. The Blues are Michigan’s largest health insurer.

McAuley Health Center, a nurse-managed community health clinic located on the University of Detroit Mercy campus, will use its $100,000 grant to provide dermatology, endocrinology and podiatry services during a monthly clinic.

The grant will allow Wellness Plan Medical Centers in Detroit to use telemedicine to provide specialty services to their primary care patients. Specialists also will visit the clinics.

The Blues cited national data showing the need for medical specialty services almost doubled between 1999 and 2009, from 4.8 percent to 9.3 percent. The firm said there is a projected shortage of as many as 8,000 physicians for all specialties by 2020.

Fifty-two safety net health care organizations across Michigan received grants to increase access to primary care, specialty care or dental care. In Wayne County, $126,000 was awarded to eight additional Detroit clinics, including a $20,000 grant for medical services to Cabrini Clinic and $15,000 to St. Vincent de Paul Clinic for Dental Services.

Nearly $80,000 was granted to Oakland County clinics offering medical and dental services in Pontiac, Southfield and Ferndale.

“These health centers presented innovative proposals to address areas of real need in the community,” said Audrey Harvey, executive director and chief executive officer of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation.

“With our support, they will be able to increase the availability of specialty care for those in need and make a significant impact on the health outcomes and quality of life for underserved patients in Detroit.”