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Raising the Voices of Michigan's Medically Under-served

PHOTO: Community Health Centers employ more than 3,000 people in Michigan, and serve more than a half-million patients. Courtesy of MPCA.
PHOTO: Community Health Centers employ more than 3,000 people in Michigan, and serve more than a half-million patients. Courtesy of MPCA.
November 26, 2012

LANSING, Mich. - Community Health Center leaders are in Washington this week, raising the voices of Michiganders who need medical care, and helping others from around the country to make sure that those who need access to health care are protected from federal budget-ctters.

The federal government has already sent Michigan nearly $47 million to fund Community Health Centers, and Kim Sibilsky, the executive director of the Michigan Primary Health Care Association, says she wants Congress to understand that the money has been well spent.

She says it provides primary care for more than a half-million low-income or uninsured Michiganders who could have wound up in emergency rooms.

"If you serve people earlier in primary care and keep them from going in through the emergency rooms, you can save money."

According to Sibilsky,the health centers also provide prenatal, pediatric, dental, and behavioral health care, all in one location, in communities that need it most.

She says Community Health Centers in Michigan have already saved the Medicaid program millions of dollars.

"We were able to document that we saved Michigan Medicaid over $44 per beneficiary per month, which translated to $28 million a year."

According to the National Association of Community Health Centers, care at health centers costs less than $2 per patient per day. Sibilsky adds the centers also create jobs, and says more than than 3000 people work at health centers around Michigan.

The Affordable Care Act is expected to double the number of patients served in Community Health Centers. This year alone, the federal government has funded more than 200 new centers nationwide.

Michigan CHC information is at www.nachc.org and at healthreform.kff.org.

Mary Anne Meyers, Public News Service - MI