A Call For Change For All Americans

A Call For Change For All Americans

June 2, 2020 |Statement from Tom Van Coverden, President & CEO and Lathran J. Woodard, Board Chair of the National Association of Community Health Centers on the Death of George Floyd

Community Health Centers stand with all Americans condemning the horrific killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. We are distressed, angry and afraid – especially for the men and women of color in the nation who face harm and discrimination simply by going about their daily lives.  Because a 17 year-old girl bravely recorded this brutal murder at the hands of the police – no one – not even the most callous or indifferent – can now ignore what has been neglected and shunned aside in America for far too long.  Mr. Floyd’s death, and the scores of those who have suffered similar fates, sadly are a part of a historical legacy of injustice and racism that pervades and is ingrained in our society.

Born out of the civil rights and social justice movement of the 1960s, the nation’s Community Health Centers serve to this day as advocates for quality care and health equity for all.  As community-based health care providers to 30 million people in over 14,000 medically underserved communities across America, we are first-hand witnesses to the direct effect of violence, stress, physical and mental abuse on the health and well-being of our patients – people on the receiving end of racism and discrimination because of the color of their skin, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, income level or insurance status.

We as a nation must do more if we are to believe and hold true to the principles of our democracy.   And we must do it together.  We must usher in real change to protect and improve the lives of all people – from our local policing practices to our judicial and legal systems, to our educational institutions, to our health care systems. Most importantly, we must move forward public policies at local, state and national levels that reflect the true needs and priorities of a country in crisis.

Community Health Centers were created for and by the communities they serve. We are ready to work for real change. We are the catalyst for real change in this country; if not us, then who?

  

This health center is a Health Center Program grantee under 42 U.S.C. 254b, and a deemed Public Health Service employee under 42 U.S.C. 233(g)-(n).

Niles Community Health Center Expands Behavioral Health Team

Niles Community Health Center Expands Behavioral Health Team

Bette Spearritt, LMSW, CAADC, CCS

Saundra Mortenson, LMSW

Cassopolis, MI, May 6, 2020 – As the need for easy access to behavioral health services increases in southwest Michigan, Niles Community Health Center (NCHC) has welcomed two new therapists to its’ team: Bette Spearritt, LMSW, CAADC, CCS and Saundra Mortenson, LMSW.

Spearritt, a southwest Michigan native, received her Master of Social Work Degree from Grand Valley State University, and is a Certified Advanced Alcohol & Drug Counselor and Clinical Supervisor.  She will be fulfilling the role of Behavioral Health Substance Use Disorder Treatment Manager at NCHC.  “It was a unique opportunity to participate in creating a new program in the area where I feel passionate.  There is an extreme need to treat and support individuals suffering from substance use and addiction.  In the Niles area there are very limited services available to treat these medical conditions. Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a much needed service, and I am excited to be a part of the set up and implementation of this new program,” said Spearritt when asked why she decided to join the health center.  The Substance Use Disorder Treatment Program will be available to established Cassopolis Family Clinic Network (CFCN) patients later this year.    

Mortenson, also a native of southwest Michigan, received her Master of Social Work Degree from the University of Michigan and has joined the staff as a Behavioral Health Therapist.  “What I most enjoy about my job is the ability to work with patients to provide encouragement and the resources they need to live a healthy and happy life.  It’s especially rewarding to work with individuals who have experienced loss or trauma as they find their way again and discover or rediscover who they truly are,” said Mortenson.  

Niles Community Health Center Behavioral Health (NCHCBH) is located inside the new NCHC at 1951 Oak Street, Niles, MI.    Behavioral Health services are offered Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.  For more information or to schedule an appointment please call (269) 665-8800. 

About Cassopolis Family Clinic Network

Cassopolis Family Clinic Network is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, designated as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).  With locations in Cassopolis and Niles, CFCN provides quality affordable healthcare for the communities of Cass and southeast Berrien Counties.  For more information go to www.cassfamilyclinic.org.

This health center is a Health Center Program grantee under 42 U.S.C. 254b, and a deemed Public Health Service employee under 42 U.S.C. 233(g)-(n).

Health Center Receives $50,000 Grant for Telehealth Services

Cassopolis, MI, April 21, 2020 – Cassopolis Family Clinic Network (CFCN), a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) serving the communities of Cass and southeast Berrien Counties, has received a grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund in the amount of $50,000.  The grant was gifted to assist CFCN, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, in their efforts to implement telehealth services to reach more patients, allow current patients to remain in a secure environment for their appointment (especially for senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals), and allow for more frequent follow-up care.

“I speak for everyone at our organization in expressing our gratitude to the Health Fund for its generous support of our Health Center and the important work we are doing in the community,” says CFCN Chief Executive Officer, Mary Geegan Middleton.  “Offering telehealth services will allow our medical and behavioral health providers to care for their patients in the comfort of their home to keep them well and out of the emergency room for non-life threatening matters.”

With the opening of its’ new facility, Niles Community Health Center, and expanded medical staff, CFCN is well positioned to serve more people in southwest Michigan with primary care and behavioral health services.  While the Health Center accepts most insurances, CFCN offers a Sliding Fee Discount Program for individuals who are uninsured or underinsured – eligibility is based on household size and income.  Community Health Workers are available at each location to help patients enroll in Michigan Medicaid Healthcare Plans, the Sliding Fee Discount Program, and Health Insurance Marketplace Plans.  “Removing financial barriers for people seeking primary care services is our focus.  Providing the community with the care people need is our goal,” said Middleton.

About the Michigan Health Endowment Fund

The Michigan Health Endowment Fund works to improve the health and wellness of Michigan residents and reduce the cost of healthcare, with a special focus on children and seniors. You can find more information about the Health Fund at mihealthfund.org.

About Cassopolis Family Clinic Network

Cassopolis Family Clinic Network is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, designated as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).  With locations in Cassopolis and Niles, CFCN provides quality affordable healthcare for the communities of Cass and southeast Berrien Counties.  For more information go to www.cassfamilyclinic.org.

This health center is a Health Center Program grantee under 42 U.S.C. 254b, and a deemed Public Health Service employee under 42 U.S.C. 233(g)-(n).

Health Center Achieves Continued Low Birthweight Rate

Niles, MI, March 26, 2020 – Pregnancy is an exciting time as a woman enters into motherhood or is adding another member to her family, however, it can also be stressful. The key to a successful pregnancy and delivery is early prenatal care. Early prenatal care allows the healthcare provider to ensure the expectant mother has the latest information on suggested healthy behaviors, education on what to expect during and after pregnancy, and detection of early signs of potential complications that could result in low birthweight. Timely and adequate prenatal care not only creates a positive impact on infant health, but also plays a significant role in post-partum maternal health.

Cassopolis Family Clinic Network (CFCN), a Federally Qualified Health Center, began providing obstetrics and gynecology services in 2007 for women who were uninsured or covered by Michigan Medicaid. CFCN provides prenatal care which is the first and best step to increase chances of a healthy outcome for the mother and infant. CFCN has realized a low birthweight rate below state and national averages since the inception of obstetrical services. “Infants with low birthweight weigh less than 5 lbs., 8 oz. at time of birth. There are two subclasses of low birthweight: very low (less than 3 lbs., 9 oz.) and extremely low (less than 2 lbs., 3 oz.),” said Dr. Kenneth Kaufmann, CFCN OB/GYN provider. “A low birthweight newborn may be healthy even though his weight is below 5lbs., 8 oz. On the other hand, some low birthweight newborns may face serious health issues. Low birthweight is often a result of premature birth, meaning the newborn is welcomed into the world before 37 weeks of pregnancy.”

The current national low birthweight rate is 8.3%, and the rate for the state of Michigan is 8.5% (percentages based on 2018 data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Delivering 413 infants in 2019, CFCN remains at 5% of infants delivered weighing less than 5 lbs., 8 oz. – well below the state average. “We encourage mothers to seek prenatal care as soon as they find out they are pregnant. Seeking prenatal care within the 1st trimester (prior to 13 weeks gestation) and presenting for each scheduled visit is the key to ensure the pregnancy is on track to reach full term (39 – 41 weeks) and early detection for any issues that may arise. Patient education is a crucial part of prenatal care to inform the expectant mother on what to expect, warning signs to look for, and healthy habits for her and the newborn. It is due to our consistent communication with the expectant mother, proactive patient education, and collaboration with Bronson Maternal Fetal Medicine for high-risk pregnancies, we can attribute this continued achievement,” said Dr. Kaufmann.

Bronson Maternal Fetal Medicine in Kalamazoo is the only high-risk pregnancy center for southwestern Michigan and northern Indiana, caring for expectant mothers with complicated pregnancies. When the patients’ physician feels there is an issue that requires special expertise, the patient is referred to the Bronson specialist for consultation. As the mother and fetus are monitored, the patient, Bronson specialists and OB/GYN physician work together to develop a care plan achieve the best possible pregnancy outcome.

“I’m very proud of our dedicated medical, nursing, and support staff members who attend to every detail of prenatal care, delivery and follow-up care for our expectant mothers. Each birth is a little miracle,” said Mary Geegan Middleton, Chief Executive Officer.

In November of 2019, the Obstetrics and Gynecology practice moved into its’ new home and is now part of Niles Community Health Center. For more information or to schedule appointment, call (269) 683-0300.

About Cassopolis Family Clinic Network

Cassopolis Family Clinic Network is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, designated as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). With locations in Cassopolis and Niles, CFCN provides quality affordable healthcare for the communities of Cass and southeast Berrien Counties. For more information go to www.cassfamilyclinic.org.

This health center is a Health Center Program grantee under 42 U.S.C. 254b, and a deemed Public Health Service employee under 42 U.S.C. 233(g)-(n).

Health Center Receives $50,000 Grant to Expand Access to Integrated Healthcare

Health Center Receives $50,000 Grant to Expand Access to Integrated Healthcare 

Cassopolis, MI, February 25, 2020 – Cassopolis Family Clinic Network (CFCN), a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) serving the communities of Cass and southeast Berrien Counties, has received a $50,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM). The grant was awarded to assist CFCN in their efforts to expand access to integrated care at the new Niles Community Health Center (NCHC) facility.

BCBSM has a unique social mission and a commitment to improving the health of Michigan residents. Over the past 15 years, Blue Cross has invested more than $15 million in grants to increase access to affordable healthcare and improve health equity. The funding has helped provide free and low-cost medical, dental and mental healthcare services for uninsured and underinsured residents throughout the state.

“Supporting safety net providers who work with vulnerable patient populations is one of the ways Blue Cross fulfills our social mission and enhances the quality of care provided across Michigan communities,” said Lynda Rossi, Executive Vice President of Strategy, Government, and Public Affairs at BCBSM. “We know improving access to integrated medical, dental and mental healthcare is critical to improving health outcomes, addressing health disparities and lowering costs.”

NCHC opened its doors in 2014 just as the state of Michigan expanded Medicaid to nearly 670,000 low-income state residents. Most were people who had no regular source of healthcare and used the emergency room when they were sick. The Health Center provides primary care and support services for people who are covered by most commercial insurances, Medicare, Michigan Medicaid, and has a Sliding Fee Discount Program for those who are uninsured.

“I speak for everyone at our organization in expressing our gratitude to BCBSM for its generous support of our Health Center and the important work we are doing in the community,” says CFCN Chief Executive Officer, Mary Geegan Middleton. “The grant funds will be used to support the Substance Use Disorder Treatment Program at the new NCHC facility.”

The new 30,000 sq. ft. facility has allowed the Health Center to double medical capacity to care
for additional 3,200 patients, create a new home for its’ Obstetrics and Gynecology services, and
have an on-site pharmacy. The facility also has a behavioral health wing providing psychiatric
and therapeutic services for patients with mild to moderate behavioral health conditions and is
currently developing a Substance Use Disorder Treatment Program.

“CFCN plays an important role in our community by providing easy access to high-quality,
affordable healthcare at multiple locations. While our Health Center provides care for everyone
who walks through our doors, we are a safety net provider – caring for the area’s most vulnerable
population,” said Middleton.

About CFCN

Cassopolis Family Clinic Network is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, designated as a
Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). With locations in Cassopolis and Niles, CFCN
provides quality affordable healthcare for the communities of Cass and southeast Berrien
Counties. For more information go to www.cassfamilyclinic.org.

About BCBSM

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent
licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides health benefits to more
than 4.7 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michiganheadquartered
companies residing outside the state. The company has been committed to delivering affordable health care products through a broad variety of plans for businesses, individuals and seniors for more than 80 years. Beyond health care coverage, BCBSM supports impactful community initiatives and provides leadership in improving health care. For more company information, visit bcbsm.com and MIBluesPerspectives.com.

 

This health center is a Health Center Program grantee under 42 U.S.C. 254b, and a deemed Public Health Service employee under 42 U.S.C. 233(g)-(n).

Niles Community Health Center Opens On-Site Pharmacy

Niles Community Health Center Opens On-Site Pharmacy

Kevin Klipowicz, RPh Photo Credit: Ann Reiff/Studio 513 East

Niles, MI, February 17, 2020 – Niles Community Health Center (NCHC), owned and operated by Cassopolis Family Clinic Network (CFCN), is pleased to announce the opening of its’ on-site pharmacy at 1951 Oak Street, Niles. The pharmacy, open Monday – Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., is staffed by pharmacist Kevin Klipowicz, RPh.

“My favorite part of being a Pharmacist is working individually with each patient to build a relationship where they feel comfortable coming to me for medication recommendations and questions. Whether they need a good over-the-counter remedy, are concerned about possible interactions, or questions about a new prescription they are getting, I enjoy the opportunity to get to know them and earn their trust as their Pharmacist,” Klipowicz said.

Opened in November 2019, NCHC offers primary care, behavioral health, obstetrics and gynecology, healthcare enrollment assistance and pharmacy services. The addition of pharmacy is aligned with the Health Center’s integrated care model and Patient-Centered Medical Home designation. Patients have the convenience of filling their prescriptions in the same place they receive care. Having an on-site pharmacy is also expected to decrease waiting time, promote direct communication between the provider and the pharmacist, and improve patient safety by having a consulting pharmacist on staff. “One of the most exciting things about embarking on my career with CFCN, is the ability to help patients gain access to needed prescription medications through the 340B program. The program allows the Health Center to reduce the cost of prescription medications for patients who qualify. It was a daily occurrence at the retail pharmacy where I worked previously, that patients could not afford their medications. It was heart breaking to see patients turn away or ration their heart medication or insulin due to the cost,” said Klipowicz.

NCHC Pharmacy accepts most commercial insurances, Medicaid Healthcare Plans and Medicare. For individuals who are uninsured or underinsured, the Sliding Fee Discount Program is available to reduce the cost of healthcare services for those who qualify. For more information regarding Niles Community Health Center Pharmacy please call (269) 665-8900.

About Cassopolis Family Clinic Network

Cassopolis Family Clinic Network is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, designated as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).  With locations in Cassopolis and Niles, CFCN provides quality affordable healthcare for the communities of Cass and southeast Berrien Counties.  For more information go to www.cassfamilyclinic.org.

 

This health center is a Health Center Program grantee under 42 U.S.C. 254b, and a deemed Public Health Service employee under 42 U.S.C. 233(g)-(n).