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Detroit Central City to open integrated health center for under- and uninsured

Detroit Central City Community Health, Inc. is working on a new health center in on the ground floor of its offices at Woodward and Peterboro in Midtown.
DCC has applied to become a federally-qualified health center through Health Resources and Services Administration (HERSA). It has been a couple of years since HERSA has opened up applications for that status and will only award about 25 organizations (out of over 400 applicants) nationwide the status. "We're going forward as if we're going to be designated as federally-operated," says Jane Damren, Director of Integrated Health Initiatives at DCC.
The 900-square-foot health center on Woodward will give priority to DCC clients, which includes the homeless, residents of DCC-operated public housing, and the mentally ill, though a federally-qualified health center is open to anyone uninsured or underinsured. "There is a huge need for primary health care (in this special population) that is not being addressed to date," Damren says. "We know in medically underserved populations it's very difficult for those individuals to overcome the stigma of mental illness or homelessness to try to obtain the services that we take for granted as primary care."
Initially they hope to serve 500 in the first year with a goal of 2,500 by the end of the third year. If they receive federally-qualified status, they project a reach of 4,500 patients by the end of their third year. As they are able to penetrate the community and establish a patient base, they would also like to move into a larger storefront on the Peterboro side of their building.
Federally-qualified health centers receive an annual grant of $650,000, which covers the cost of the uninsured patient population, and also receive enhanced Medicaid reimbursement. Right now about 40 percent of the DCC's clientele start without any insurance. Case managers work to get them enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid. Damren realistically hopes for the center to get "lookalike" status, which they will be eligible to apply for after 12 months of operation and which will enable them to receive enhanced Medicaid.
Damren hopes to have the health center open in 2014.
Source: Jane Damren, Director of Integrated Health Initiatives at DCC
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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Nicole Rupersburg is a former Detroiter now in Las Vegas who regularly writes about food, drink, and urban innovators. You can follow her on Instagram @eatsdrinksandleaves and Twitter @ruperstarski.
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