Safety Net Resource Center Builds Assets to Improve Capacity to Deliver Health Care for Uninsured

Maintaining a current assessment of the health status and health services for the uninsured in Detroit and Wayne County has been complicated due to the absence of current, comprehensive information and other support services for safety net providers, announced Chris Allen, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Detroit Wayne County Health Authority.

“The Health Authority has been a catalyst in bringing together a collaboration of local and state health care providers and health officials to create our Safety Net Resource Center,” he said.

Among its services, the Center will compile an annual report on the state of care for the uninsured. The report will be created through collaboration between several state and local organizations that collect information on the uninsured and underinsured. It will also be a tool for attracting financial resources to support safety net providers.

The Center will not only have resources to prepare reports and conduct research that weren’t there before, it will also serve as a consultant to safety net providers. It will eliminate duplication, while strengthening the quality of the information through collaborative input. Special attention will be given to project areas such as the East Side Initiative.

Other objectives of the Center include:

· Foster collaboration between federally qualified health centers and Medicaid qualified health plans to expand access to primary care for Medicaid recipients.

· Provide a data resource on Medicaid and uninsured people in Wayne County that can be used for safety net planning and advocacy.

· Conduct demonstration projects on care of Medicaid and uninsured people that show the value of safety net health services.

· Develop mechanisms that attract financial resources for safety net providers that will ensure long term sustainability.

The strength of the Center is in the collaboration of its partners — something that hasn’t occurred often in Detroit health care delivery. Consensus building is a very important initial step toward achieving an effective partnership on information sharing.

Collaborating organizations include Voices of Detroit Initiative, United Way of Southeastern Michigan, Michigan Primary Care Association, Southeast Michigan Health Association, Greater Detroit Area Health Council, Michigan Department of Community Health, Wayne County and City of Detroit Health Department, and the Wayne County Patient Management System.