Grant Funding in Action: Southfield Clinic Expands Services for Uninsured

Pollum

This guest post is from Tamella Pollum, lead, Community Health for St. John Providence Health System and the lead for the St. Vincent de Paul Health Center. Pollum is an expert in community-based care access and has a passion for developing new models of care for the uninsured and underinsured.

At St. Vincent de Paul Health Center in Southfield, we help people who have nowhere else to turn. We see patients like Cary Marshall every day. Cary came to the Health Center to get treatment for hypertension, and it was discovered he also had uncontrolled diabetes.

Unable to afford medications, we provided him with access to very low-cost diabetes supplies (blood glucose meter, test strips, lancets) as well as insulin and syringes. We gave him information on things like nutrition, self monitoring, foot care and exercise. In addition, we referred Cary to an ophthalmologist to provide screenings for eye disease, a common issue for diabetics.

Currently, Mr. Marshall’s diabetes is controlled, his condition is stabilized and his health improving. “This place saved my life by providing me with the prescriptions and medical services I need to survive,” he said.

Our ability to provide for people like Cary Marshall is expanding. Last December, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan awarded our health center a two-year grant totaling $300,000 to increase specialty and primary care for local residents. Partnering with BCBSM helps us increase outreach to the uninsured adults in northwest Detroit and southern Oakland County.

The funding helps us:

  • Increase our ability to serve more patients who are in need of free medications. This is especially helpful to our patients who have chronic conditions and require ongoing medications.
  • Fund the acquisition of hardware, software and training to transition to an electronic medical record (EMR) system. This will allow us to better track patient health goals and status and measure the quality of the care they are receiving.
  • Provide telemedicine to patients in need of specialty care consultation through a secure Internet connection. This is a timely and cost-effective way to connect uninsured persons with specialty care.

The St. Vincent de Paul Health Center provides high quality primary care to uninsured adults with chronic diseases, low-cost medical visits, access to free diagnostics, low-cost and free medication, and access to free specialty care. We have a number of physicians and nurse practitioners who volunteer their time to see our patients.

We are excited to grow the capacity of our health center and pharmacy program, which improves the lives of individuals. Our updated technology will also reduce errors and costs. We are also thankful for the Blues’ commitment to the safety net by ensuring everyone has access to quality health care services.

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