U.P. clinics receive grant money

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan giving more than $1 million in grants to support what company officials call ‘safety net clinics’ across Michigan, including two in the Upper Peninsula.

“Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is proud to support clinics, health professionals and volunteers across Michigan who are dedicated to helping every single family in their communities get the care and treatment they need to be healthy,” said Kim Kratz, BCBSM senior health care analyst. “Safety net clinics provide access to care for tens of thousands of vulnerable, uninsured Michigan residents and without these clinics, patients would delay and even forego care at great cost to themselves, their families and the health care system. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is honored to continue our partnership with these clinics to continue building a healthier Michigan together.”

BCBSM has provided over $9 million in grants through its Strengthening the Safety Net program since 2005.  This year’s grants range from $10,000 to $20,000 per clinic and will be allocated to assist clinics with daily operations, while enhancing the services they offer.

This year, clinics receiving the safety net grants from BCBSM could use a portion of their funding, maximum of $10,000, to help people apply for and enroll in affordable health insurance on the new Health Insurance Marketplace, or enroll in an expanded Medicaid program that will begin coverage on April 1, 2014. Clinics receiving these funds will certify at least one member or volunteer at the clinic to help patients learn about and potentially apply for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program or a plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace. The clinics will also help newly insured patients transition from the free clinic to a new primary care clinic and find additional services and support.

“The new federal health care law is complicated and the Blues are excited to work with frontline healthcare providers to help more Michigan families easily get health insurance coverage, and the grant funds dedicated to navigation help the people navigate the process,” said Kratz.

The Upper Michigan safety net clinics that received grants from the BCBSM in 2013 are the Care Free Dental of Dickinson and Florence, Inc.  in Iron Mountain and the Medical Care Access Coalition, Inc. in Marquette.