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A Word From The CEO

Celebrating National Health Center Week 2018

Cassopolis, MI, August 10, 2018– Federally Qualified Health Centers, also known as Community Health Centers, serve over 27 million people throughout the United States and its territories.  Each Community Health Center is governed locally by a volunteer Board of Directors, of which at least half are people who personally use Health Center services.  That’s unique because they have first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to be a patient at a Health Center.

Health Centers are unique because of the business model and Health Center program requirements. Administered by Health Resources and Service Administration’s Bureau of Primary Health Care, each Health Center is required to directly provide, pay for or contract for a core set of services.  Beyond the basics of primary care (including obstetrical care), behavioral health, oral health, pharmacy services, patient education and outreach/enrollment services, Health Centers can also offer additional services that are responsive to the needs of their communities.  This integrated approach to healthcare services is good for patients, and, it seems, is inspirational to Health Center staff members!

Providing healthcare services anywhere is hard work, no matter what the role, no matter what setting.  Health Center staff members are dedicated, mission-driven people who do their very best every day to improve someone else’s life.  They see people of all ages. People with insurance who have private transportation and financial resources to obtain the services and healthcare equipment or products they need. People who have nothing but the change in their pocket – no insurance, no job, no transportation, and very limited ability to provide for themselves or their family.  People who are healthy, and people who have multiple chronic diseases. People who look forward to the future, and people who have lost hope.

I recently asked several staff members, “Why do you choose to work here?”  These were some of the responses.

Amy, dental hygienist, said she “loves public health”.  It makes her day to see someone smile a big, tooth-revealing smile after having their teeth cleaned for the first time in years.  She appreciates the integration of services under one roof, because many people who are not already medical patients need to get medical care for diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease.  “We have been able to catch significant health problems and get people into medical care which has literally saved their lives.”

Vicki, behavioral health therapist, said “The integration of services under one roof is why I came to work here.  It’s such a great model to have so many services available to patients in one setting.”  Staff refer patients to each other for services.  For example, behavioral health refers to Community Health Workers who provide people with a wealth of information on how to get transportation, food, insurance coverage, help with utilities, how to navigate the complex healthcare system, and much more.   She also is grateful for the close working relationship between medical providers and the behavioral health team.

Bonnie, RN, says she works here because “It’s close to home, and I love my co-workers and the people we care for.”  She too, mentioned that having the Community Health Workers has been such a blessing and support for people who have so many needs.  She also appreciates the willingness of the behavioral health team to answer nurses’ questions, so they in turn can help patients who need psychiatry and therapy.

Patty, RN, said she appreciates having the ability to get people into the different services all provided under one roof.  She especially appreciates our nurse who provides education for patients who have diabetes. “She has the time to teach them about diabetes, and how to properly use their insulin.”

Mphasa, Family Nurse Practitioner, said she is grateful for having so many support services right here to help our patients.  It makes her very difficult job easier, knowing she has plenty of support. “The Community Health Workers are very helpful.”

Alicia, Certified Medical Assistant, said she loves working here because of the tremendous support the Registered Nurses give the Medical Assistants.  She said, “You don’t find that in many places.”

As I stated before, providing healthcare services anywhere is hard work, no matter what the role, no matter what setting.  There are dedicated people working in hospitals, outpatient medical practices, specialty care, nursing homes, and other places.  They deserve our thanks and gratitude for their dedication to the healing profession.

In recognition of National Health Center Week, I want to shine the spotlight on all of the dedicated men and women who choose to work at our Health Center sites in Cassopolis and Niles, and thank each of them, as unique individuals, for contributing in their own special way to improving the lives of the people we serve.

Mary Geegan Middleton, CEO

Cassopolis Family Clinic Network