DETROIT, Oct. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- For the eighth consecutive year, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has awarded more than $1 million in grants to support 50 Michigan clinics that help provide health care services to uninsured Michigan residents. Through its "Strengthening the Safety Net" program, BCBSM continues its commitment of increasing access and quality care to the uninsured and underinsured.
"The Blues are committed to improving access to care for all Michigan residents. As part of our ongoing social mission, our free clinic grant program continues to play a crucial role in Michigan's health care system, by providing quality health care to the uninsured, serving as a safety net for people who need it the most," said Lynda Rossi, BCBSM senior vice president of Public Affairs and chief of staff. "The outstanding care and variety of health care services provided by these nonprofit clinics help reduce the need for expensive emergency room care and often afford patients with valuable health education and chronic disease management."
The Blues have provided more than $8 million in grants through the "Strengthening the Safety Net" grant program since 2005. The grants serve to help free clinics with daily operations and enhance the services they offer. In the past year, Blues' funding helped clinics provide more than 140,000 patient visits.
Of this year's applicants, 50 free clinics qualified for noncompetitive grants of $15,000 to be used for continuing existing operations, extending operating hours or adding health care services. Eight of those clinics were also awarded competitive grants of up to $50,000 for identifying clear gaps in safety net coverage and outlining plans to address those gaps in a creative and sustainable way."More and more of Michigan's residents have found themselves without insurance and unable to access the proper health care services they need," said William Brazier, executive director of Detroit-based St. Vincent de Paul, a recipient this year of both competitive and noncompetitive grants for its dental clinic. "We are proud to partner with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan to provide free critical dental assistance to those who would otherwise go without proper care. We provide preventive dental hygiene services, education, fillings, extractions, dentures and more. For more than 125 years, St. Vincent de Paul has been committed to assisting those in need in our region and the Blue Cross "Strengthening the Safety Net" program has enabled us to grow our capacity to provide dental clinic services each year. Last year alone, we treated more than 6,000 patients and, with the newly awarded $65,000 in grant funding, we plan to expand our services to help even more of our neighbors in need of vital dental care." The following is a listing of the free clinics that received grants from the Blues this year: