County officially opens health center in city of Wayne

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Wayne County took a step toward a healthier community Tuesday with the official opening of a center designed to be a one-stop shop for comprehensive health services.

County Executive Warren Evans and other community leaders held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the facility, the Wayne Health Center.

“We really want to work with everyone in Wayne County to try to make access to health care here much better,” said Evans during a news conference before the ceremony. “I think this is a great step in that direction.”

Michigan’s most populous county was ranked last of Michigan’s 83 counties for health outcomes in a report released last week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Its rankings are based on things such as high school graduation rates, obesity, smoking, unemployment, access to healthy foods, the quality of air and water, income and teen births.

“We can argue about the data all we’d like to, but we’re somewhere down near the bottom,” Evans said. “That’s unacceptable and that’s something we need to do a better job with.”

Wayne County Commissioner Al Haidous, D-Wayne; Mouhanad Hammami, director of the Wayne County Health; Veterans & Community Wellness Department; and state Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland, joined Evans for the ceremony.

Located on Van Born at Venoy in Wayne, it’s a federally qualified health center created to meet the needs of western Wayne County residents.

Federally qualified health centers receive government grants to provide services to underserved areas or populations, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They also receive reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid.

The center in Wayne is Wayne County’s second such facility. It has another that offers the same services on Jos. Campau near Holbrook in Hamtramck.

Through a partnership with Beaumont Health, the center provides health care services for adults and children, primary care services, behavioral care services, prenatal care and OBGYN care. Beaumont doctors and resident physicians will attend to the center’s clients, officials said.

Next month, the center will also offer dental services through a partnership with the University of Detroit Mercy. Faculty from the university’s dental school will provide care at the center while teaching their students. The school also donated 12 dental chairs for dental suites at the county’s health centers in Wayne and Hamtramck, officials said.

The center accepts most health care insurance, and those who don’t have insurance are charged fees based on their income, Hammami said. It also has specialists who can help residents apply for insurance under the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid.

Hammami said the county used two $700,000 federal grants it won to renovate the building that houses the new, 25,000-square-foot center, which features eight examination rooms and four evaluation rooms. It also will have five dental suites once construction is completed.

The building had served as headquarters for the county health department, which is currently based in the Guardian Building in downtown Detroit.

Hammami said the grants also are helping the county pay for the center’s operation.

“Last week, the county health rankings were released and unfortunately, Wayne County was not ranked favorably,” he said. “Today is a step closer to changing those rankings.”

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