Sparrow, Health Department join forces to expand services to homeless

Underserved patients in Mid-Michigan will have additional resources for care when the Sparrow Medical Group Volunteers of America Clinic becomes a federally qualified health center thanks to a new collaboration with the Ingham County Health Department.

The new federal designation announced in early October enables the health center to expand services to include a full-time medical social worker and outreach and enrollment support from the health department for those eligible for insurance coverage. Expanded services will also include outreach care for the chronically homeless who do not typically seek services within traditional facilities.

"The Ingham County Health Centers has a long history of providing care for traditionally underserved members of the community," says Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail. "We're proud to collaborate with Sparrow Health Systems and to add the Sparrow Volunteers of America Community Health Center to our family of health centers."

Patients at the expanded health center will continue to be served by Sparrow providers. Sparrow opened the clinic within the Volunteers of America at 430 N. Larch St. in Lansing, in 2014. The clinic is the second such collaboration in the nation between the VOA and a health system and the first in Michigan. The clinic transforms care for more than 3,000 patients annually.

Many of the patients served at the clinic are physically disabled, suffer from mental illness, or both. Most have difficulty accessing government health benefits to which they are entitled. The clinic provides quality, preventive care to these patients who previously may have only gone to the Sparrow Emergency Department for treatment.

Ingham Community Health Centers Board Chair Jon Villasurda says the development is a win-win for the community, ICHC and Sparrow. He says the ICHC's history is rooted in serving the homeless, with nearly 2,400 homeless receiving care through their health centers.

"This collaboration strengthens our mission and fosters key relationships to help create a more seamless health care delivery system for our county," he says.

Source: John Foren, Director of Media and Public Relations, Sparrow
Writer/Editor: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

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