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Forty-Two Free Clinics Across State Share $1 Million in Grants From Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Grants help clinics deliver care to 90,000 uninsured residents

DETROIT, May 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Forty-two free clinics in Michigan that provide low- or no-cost health care to 90,000 uninsured people will share $1 million in grants from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The grants bring the Blues' total support to free clinics to $4 million since 2005.

Supporting free clinics is part of the Blues' unique social mission to provide affordable health care and improve access to health care for the people of Michigan.

Six new free clinics have sprung up in the state since 2005, thanks in part to Blues grants, including two that expect to open this year in Brighton and Manistee. Grant dollars also have helped clinics meet urgent needs, such as purchasing medications, while allowing others to expand services like dental care.

"New clinic start-ups were high on our priority list for funding," said Lynda Rossi, Blues vice president of public policy and social mission. "And with research providing increasing evidence of the linkage between good oral health and general health, clinics that wanted to begin providing dental services also were given high priority. Many clinics also needed funding just to sustain their current operations.

"We are proud to partner with the Free Clinics of Michigan along with their volunteer physicians, dentists and other health care professionals who provide primary medical and dental care to those who need it most. These clinics deliver vital services to Michigan residents who otherwise might not have access to them."

Joyce Hardy, president of the Free Clinics of Michigan and manager of the Helen M. Nickless Volunteer Clinic in Essexville, said: "The demand is growing every month. These are people who are not getting preventive care and are delaying much needed treatment for life-threatening illnesses. The free clinics are very appreciative of the financial support given by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan which helps ensure that we can continue to care for the uninsured in our areas."

Some of the 42 free clinics also serve residents of neighboring counties. Clinics receiving grants this year are:

Southeast Michigan - Brighton: VINA Community Dental Center; Brownstown Twp.: Wyandotte Clinic for the Working Uninsured; Detroit (7): Cass Clinic, St. Frances Cabrini Clinic, Joy-Southfield Health and Education Center, Order of Malta Medical/Dental Clinic, St. Vincent de Paul Health Center at Cooley High School, The HUDA Clinic and University of Detroit Mercy Counseling Center; Pinckney: Mission Medical Clinic; Port Huron: Peoples' Clinic for Better Health; Southfield: Tri-County Dental Health Council, and Ypsilanti and Wayne: Hope Medical Clinic.

Mid-Michigan - Hillsdale: St. Peter's Free Clinic of Hillsdale County; Jackson (2): Dove Health Alliance and St. Luke's Clinic; Lansing and Mason: Care Free Medical (two locations), and Lapeer: Loving Hands Health Clinic.

Flint/Tri-Cities - Essexville: Helen M. Nickless Volunteer Clinic; Flint: Genesee County Free Medical Clinic, and Saginaw: Community Prescription Support Program.

West Michigan - Allegan: Seeds of Grace Free Health Clinic; Battle Creek: Nursing Clinic of Battle Creek; Coldwater: First Presbyterian Health Clinic of Branch County; Grand Rapids (3): Catherine's Care Center, Health Intervention Services and Project Access; Holland: Holland Free Health Clinic; Kalamazoo: Free Clinic of Kalamazoo; Marshall: Fountain Clinic; Three Rivers: Riverside Health Clinic, and Zeeland: City on a Hill Ministries Health Clinic.

Northern Michigan - Big Rapids: Hope House Free Medical Clinic; Cadillac: Cadillac Community Health Clinic; Cheboygan: Northern Care Center; Grayling: Au Sable Free Clinic; Manistee: Manistee Area Community Clinic; Petoskey: Community Free Clinic, and Traverse City: Traverse Health Clinic.

Upper Peninsula - Escanaba: Care Free Dental Clinic; Marquette: Medical Access Coalition, and Sault Ste. Marie: Community Health Access Coalition.

Additional details about how all 42 free clinics will use their grant dollars can be found at . In addition to medical and dental care, some free clinics also offer preventive care services and mental health counseling. Free clinics are staffed by volunteers including physicians, pharmacists, nurses, dentists and other health care professionals.

Support of free clinics is part of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan's social mission. In 2007, BCBSM contributed at least $391 million to the people of Michigan through an array of initiatives that further its social mission to improve access to health coverage at affordable prices. Those initiatives include:

-- The MIChild program covering more than 28,000 lower-income children

-- Coverage for seniors, and subsidization of Medicare supplemental

-- Contributions to hospitals to help cover charity care

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan also supports increased access to health care in other ways, including serving as a member of the Michigan Health Insurance Access Advisory Council. The council is committed to realistic strategies toward achieving the goal of every Michigan resident having access to health insurance.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit organization, provides and administers health benefits to 4.7 million members residing in Michigan in addition to members of Michigan-headquartered groups who reside outside the state. The company offers a broad variety of plans including: Traditional Blue Cross Blue Shield; Blue Preferred, Community Blue and Healthy Blue Incentives PPOs; Blue Care Network HMO; BCN Healthy Blue Living; Flexible Blue plans compatible with health savings accounts; Medicare Advantage; Part D Prescription Drug plans, and MyBlue products in the under-age-65 individual market. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more company information, visit .

SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
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