A Word from the CEO

Mary Geegan Middleton, CEO

Celebrating National Health Center Week

August 13, 2017

By:  Mary Geegan Middleton, CEO

This week leaders at the local, state and national level will join communities in celebration of National Health Center Week 2017. Their messages and visits to health centers will demonstrate that not only is it possible to move beyond the partisan divide over health care, but to support and agree on a program vital to our communities and the nation’s public health.

Community Health Centers like ours, Cassopolis Family Clinic Network, are part of a national network that is the family doctor to more than 25 million Americans.  The program started more than 50 years ago as a small but bold demonstration project to provide health care in medically underserved areas.  Over the course of their existence, health centers have saved countless lives, reduced and prevented chronic disease in the most challenged of patients and provided patients with affordable options for care than a costly hospital emergency room.  Health centers have proven to be innovators in treating chronic disease and responding to national health crises, such as the opioid epidemic that kills 78 people in the U.S. every day.

There is little doubt that health centers have contributed significantly to cost savings for the American taxpayer.  In fact health centers save, on average, $2,371 (or 24%) in total spending per Medicaid patient when compared to other providers, according to a 2016 study published in the American Journal of Public Health. Yet, it is not sufficient to describe health centers as just another health care program. They are more than that.  They are problem-solvers that look beyond medical charts not only to prevent illness but also address the factors that actually cause poor health, such as homelessness, lack of nutrition, stress or unemployment.

Through decades and through bipartisan administrations Congress has consistently seen the value in growing the federal investment in the health center system of care.  Public investment is critical now more than ever. Right now a crisis looms with the scheduled expiration of a fund at the end of September that will result in a significant cut to the budget of every health center. Congress must act swiftly and extend funding and fix this funding cliff.  Why? Because at time when efforts to reform the health care system are moving forward, this is no time to turn our backs on people who depend on health centers for affordable care.

Health centers bring a unique and important perspective to the national conversation on health care.  We are proud that we can work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to strengthen and improve the availability of quality primary care and preventive services to everyone who needs it. Good health begins with primary care. Access to Community Health Centers is a prescription for the good health of our nation.

Cassopolis Family Clinic Earns National Recognition For Patient-Centered Care

Cassopolis Family Clinic Earns National Recognition For Patient-Centered Care

Washington, DC, June 19, 2017 – The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) today announced that Cassopolis Family Clinic of Cassopolis, MI has received NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition for using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long‐term, participative relationships.

The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home is a model of primary care that combines teamwork and information technology to improve care, improve patients’ experience of care and reduce costs. Medical homes foster ongoing partnerships between patients and their personal clinicians, instead of approaching care as the sum of episodic office visits. Each patient’s care is overseen by clinician-led care teams that coordinate treatment across the health care system. Research shows that medical homes can lead to higher quality and lower costs, and can improve patient and provider reported experiences of care.

“NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition raises the bar in defining high-quality care by emphasizing access, health information technology and coordinated care focused on patients,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. “Recognition shows that Cassopolis Family Clinic has the tools, systems and resources to provide its patients with the right care, at the right time.”

To earn recognition, which is valid for three years, Cassopolis Family Clinic demonstrated the ability to meet the program’s key elements, embodying characteristics of the medical home. NCQA standards aligned with the joint principles of the Patient-Centered Medical Home established with the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Osteopathic Association.
To find clinicians and their practices with NCQA PCMH Recognition, visit http://recognition.ncqa.org.

About NCQA
NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. NCQA’s Web site (ncqa.org) contains information to help consumers, employers and others make more informed health care choices.

A Word from the CEO

Mary Geegan Middleton, CEO

The Effects of AHCA on Community Health Centers

May 22, 2017

By: Mary Geegan Middleton, CEO

The waiting room of our health center, Cassopolis Family Clinic Network, is thousands of miles from the U.S. Capitol, but the deliberations under that dome to fix healthcare will have a direct impact on the patients in our waiting room.

Community Health Centers like ours bring a unique and important perspective to the national conversation on healthcare.  We are part of a nationwide network that started more than 50 years ago to provide quality primary care in places where doctors and services were scarce or non-existent.  Our health centers have since grown to serve as the family doctor to 25 million Americans in communities all over the country.  We have saved countless lives while using federal resources very efficiently.  We have reduced and prevented chronic disease for the most challenging patients and provided people with more affordable options for healthcare than a hospital emergency room.

There is little doubt that health centers have contributed significantly to cost savings for the American taxpayer.  In fact they save on average $2,371 (or 24%) in total spending per Medicaid patient when compared to other providers, according to a 2016 study published in the American Journal of Public Health. Yet, it is not sufficient to describe us as just another health care program. We are problem-solvers that look beyond medical charts, not only to prevent illness, but also to address the factors that actually cause poor health, such as homelessness, lack of nutrition, stress or unemployment.

For decades our health centers have earned bipartisan support. Yet, even such broad support may not be enough to ensure we can continue to serve people in need.

Proposals now being considered to block grant Medicaid and roll back states’ expansion of the program will put 6,676 Cassopolis Family Clinic Network patients at risk for losing their insurance protection. Typically when people have no insurance they will delay needed care and require more costly medical interventions as they get sick.  When that happens, we all pay a price.

Similarly, proposals to place the most vulnerable and sick patients into underfunded high-risk pools will cause our patients who are most in need of coverage to face the greatest challenge in affording it.

Both insurance coverage and access to care are vital to our nation’s health.  We are committed to working with all lawmakers – no matter on which side of the aisle they sit – to strengthen and improve our nation’s healthcare system.

CFCN Hires Medical Director

Dr. Genevieve Lankowicz

Cassopolis Family Clinic Network Hires Medical Director
Cassopolis, MI, May 4, 2017 – Genevieve Lankowicz, M.D., CPE has joined the medical staff of Cassopolis Family Clinic Network. Dr. Lankowicz will be seeing patients and will also serve as Medical Director.

Dr. Lankowicz, originally from Long Island, New York, received her Bachelor of Arts in Biology, Genetics and Development from Cornell University. She then continued her education to earn a Doctorate of Medicine from SUNY at Stony Brook School of Medicine in Stony Brook, New York. Dr. Lankowicz is currently working towards her Masters of Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and will graduate in 2018. Prior to her career at CFCN, Dr. Lankowicz was the Vice President of Medical Affairs for an Indiana based hospital system. “I know that physicians must participate as important decisions about the healthcare of our communities are being made. I chose to seek further education and training in management so that I could facilitate physician and provider leadership and be better able to partner with colleagues in administrative roles in order to achieve the best for patients and everyone working in healthcare,” says Lankowicz.

Dr. Lankowicz joined the Community Health Center in April. She will be seeing patients at Cassopolis Family Clinic (CFC). CFC is located at 261 M-62 North, Cassopolis. CFC provides primary care, behavioral health, pharmacy, dental and healthcare enrollment assistance services for those who are uninsured, underinsured, covered by Michigan Medicaid and Medicare along with most commercial insurances. CFC is open 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday thru Thursday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Saturday. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (269) 445-3874.

Cassopolis Family Clinic Network is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, designated as a Federally Qualified Health Center. For more information go to www.cassfamilyclinic.org.

Congressman Upton Visits Cassopolis Family Clinic

Congressman Upton Visits Cassopolis Family Clinic
Cassopolis, MI, April 19, 2017 – Cassopolis Family Clinic Network (CFCN) was honored to host a visit of Cassopolis Family Clinic (CFC) by Congressman Fred Upton on Tuesday, April 18. It was Congressman Upton’s first visit to the facility since its opening in November 2014. His visit included a tour of the health center, during which he met with CEO Mary Geegan Middleton, Board Chair Robert Feldman, Michigan Primary Care Association’s Policy and Government Affairs Manager Ryan Grinnell-Ackerman, COO Tammy Howard, and Medical Director Dr. Genevieve Lankowicz to discuss the importance of the Community Health Center program and affordable healthcare access for the residents of Cass and southeast Berrien Counties. CFCN, a Federally Qualified Health Center, provides primary care, behavioral health, dental, pharmacy, obstetrics and gynecology, and healthcare enrollment assistance services for people who are uninsured, covered by Michigan Medicaid and Medicare, along with most commercial insurances. With the uncertainty of the future of Community Health Center program funding, CFCN finds it important for local and state representatives to see firsthand the impact Community Health Centers have on the communities they serve. Congressman Upton expressed confidence that Community Health Centers currently and will continue to play a vital role in our community. “I’m going to continue to support Community Health Centers to ensure the people of this community and others have access to quality healthcare,” said Upton.
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.

Physician Joins Niles Community Health Center

Dr. Gina Smith

Physician Joins Niles Community Health Center
Cassopolis, MI, January 17, 2017 – Gina Smith, M.D. has joined the medical staff of Niles Community Health Center (NCHC).

Dr. Smith, originally from Kentwood, Michigan, received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. She then continued her education to earn a Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Michigan. Prior to her career at NCHC, Dr. Smith practiced at a Federally Qualified Health Center in Tustin, California. Familiar with the rural health center setting, Dr. Smith is excited to return to Michigan to provide primary care services to the patients of NCHC. “My strong commitment to community health and preventative healthcare gives me a unique set of skills that align with the mission of NCHC. Family medicine allows me to care for a variety of patients and conditions,” said Dr. Smith.

Dr. Smith began seeing patients this month at NCHC which is located at 24 North St. Joseph Avenue, Suite G, Niles, conveniently located across the street from Lakeland Hospital. NCHC provides primary care services for those who are uninsured, underinsured, covered by Michigan Medicaid and Medicare along with most commercial insurances. NCHC is open 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Friday. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (269) 262-4749.

Niles Community Health Center is owned and operated by Cassopolis Family Clinic Network. Cassopolis Family Clinic Network is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, designated as a Federally Qualified Health Center. For more information go to www.cassfamilyclinic.org or call (269) 445-3874.