Eat good, feel good! The Food Bank Council of Michigan teamed up with South Michigan Food Bank and Grace Health to address food insecurity and encourage healthy lifestyles with the launch of the Grace Health Fresh Food Pharmacy in Battle Creek. Grace Health serves over 30,000 patients in Calhoun county and surrounding areas. A federally-qualified health center, Grace Health is focused on meeting the health care needs of underserved people in the community. “We are honored to partner with Grace Health to improve the health and well-being of those in need in the Battle Creek community,” said Peter Vogel, CEO of the South Michigan Food Bank. “We know that we can demonstrate great impact by working together.” Made possible by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, this six-month pilot program “prescribes” home-delivered healthy food boxes for Grace Health patients every two weeks. In addition, the program offers healthy lifestyle coaching, check-ins, and support for cooking and eating healthy foods. Eligible patients include those who manage a chronic health condition, such as diabetes or heart disease, that can improve with a healthy diet. They also must have difficulty accessing healthy food and have the ability and interest to cook fresh foods and attend coaching sessions. “The Grace Health Fresh Food Pharmacy continues the great work of our food banks, in partnership with their community’s healthcare organizations, to address food security as a social determinant of health,” said Dr. Dawn Opel, director of research & strategic initiatives and general counsel of the Food Bank Council of Michigan. “Working with our entire network, we seek to sustainably implement this food box prescription model in healthcare settings across the state.” Enrollment begins in February with a fresh food mobile distribution kickoff event funded by the Consumers Energy Foundation at Grace Health (181 West Emmett Street in Battle Creek), on Jan. 28 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. This mobile food distribution is available to anyone in the community in need of food. Those interested in the food pharmacy program should contact Grace Health staff at 269-965-8866 who will connect them with a program intake coordinator. For more information on the Food Bank Council of Michigan, visit www.fbcmich.org. ### Founded in 1984, the Food Bank Council of Michigan was created to implement a unified strategy to address and alleviate hunger statewide. FBCM works with its regional food banks and over 2,800 hunger relief agencies, private companies, farmers, state and federal officials, and other allies to make sure no Michigander goes without food. For more information about the Food Bank Council of Michigan, visit www.fbcmich.org or call 517.485.1202.
Grace Health partners with CareerStep for its Medical Assistant Apprenticeship Program. During the Apprenticeship Program, staff learn all the skills needed to be a successful Medical Assistant including the education and hands-on experience to sit for the Medical Assistant exam to become a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant. CareerStep and Grace Health’s Medical Assistant Apprenticeship Program were recently mentioned in Market Watch. Click here to view the article.
Grace Health staff, Faith Freds, Mindy Giambrone, Brendon Putman, Rosalinda Guerrero-Garcia, Kadie Pogue, Alisha Armstrong and Kaitlyn Baggerly successfully completed Grace Health’s Medical Assistant Apprenticeship Program and received certification as a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA). Grace Health’s Medical Assistant Apprenticeship Program is provided through a partnership with Career Step. Career Step, an online provider of career-focused education and professional training, provides online training for Grace Health employees who would like to become medical assistants. Grace Health provides the tools and hands-on experience for people to become successful. It takes Grace Health staff 6 – 7 months to complete the Career Step portion of the program and be eligible to take the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) national certification exam. The entire program takes about 12 months to complete. The Grace Health Medical Assistant Apprenticeship Program offers class time as well as hands-on training and clinical experience all designed to equip employees to function as medical assistants. During training, staff are being paid an hourly wage and receive benefits – making it the only medical assistant training program in our area in which people are paid while they learn. The next program will begin this fall. Grace Health is a Federally Qualified Health Center and has been serving Calhoun County since 1986, providing care to 1 in 4 County residents. In 2019, more than 134,000 visits were scheduled at Grace Health for just over 31,000 patients, averaging about 500 new patients each month. Approximately 70% of patients seen at Grace Health either have Medicaid or are uninsured. Grace Health employs just over 320 staff.
Grace Health continues to look for ways to serve patients and make a difference in our community. Recently, a partnership between Grace Health and Calhoun Intermediate School District’s Early Childhood Connections (ECC) was formed to provide a Family Engagement Initiative. The initiative includes a coordinated plan for ECC Family Coaches and Grace Health Resource Specialists to work in tandem to connect Grace Health families to parenting and school readiness support provided through ECC and in turn, connect ECC families to Grace Health services. The Family Coaches coordinating ECC services for Grace Health families are Aholibama, a bilingual English/Spanish speaking coach and Theresa, a bilingual English/Burmese speaking coach. The Family Engagement Initiative will start with children 3 – 4 years of age. Grace Health Resource Specialists will provide introduction Early Learning Toolkits to families with children 3 – 4 year of age and will connect them with one of the ECC Family Coaches. Families will meet with the ECC Family Coaches for a minimum of two home visits in which they will receive a larger Early Learning Toolkit. Susan Clark, Director of Early Childhood Services at Calhoun ISD explains that the toolkits contain educational materials, books, and other items to help parents support their child’s kindergarten readiness. “We believe this partnership is a wonderful opportunity to connect with families, provide them with materials to support their child’s emergent literacy learning and kindergarten readiness, as well as connect them to other early learning supports available in our community!” This new initiative complements Grace Health’s Reach Out and Read / Early Literacy program that started 2004. When the program started, new, age-appropriate books were given to children 6 months – 5 years of age by their health care provider at each well-child visit. During the visit, the provider discusses with the parent/guardian the importance of reading with a child. Grace Health recently expanded its Reach Out and Reach Program and is now providing books to children birth – 5 years of age during their well-child visit. Results from the National Reach Out and Read’s independent, peer-reviewed research shows that the Reach Out and Read model has a “significant effect on parental behavior and attitudes toward reading aloud. Children who participate in the program demonstrate higher language skills. The impact of Reach Out and Read has been documented in ethnically and economically diverse families throughout the nation.” (www.reachoutadnread.org/why-wematter/the-evidence) Sariem Am, DNP, CPNP-PC/AC, Grace Health provider overseeing the Reach Out and Read program stated, “The Reach Out and Read program is not just a matter of fostering development of literacy skills in early childhood, but provides the opportunity in the context of pediatric health care to discuss with parents and caregivers the importance of parent-child interactions and encouraging reciprocal engagement. The social and emotional well-being of children begin in the early years in the context of family relationships and have a powerful impact on health outcomes in later life. I am excited that we are now giving books starting from birth because the earlier the introduction of books and reading, the better.” The goals for Grace Health’s partnership with Calhoun ISD’s Early Childhood Connections and the Reach Out and Read / Early Literacy Program are to empower parents as their child’s first and most important teacher, improve early childhood outcomes (child health, child development, kindergarten readiness) and provide more informed referrals for families. The long-term goals are that children are healthy, thriving and developmentally ready to succeed in school and are reading proficiently by the end of third grade.
The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) Wireline Competition Bureau approved Grace Health’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program Application today, July 1. Grace Health will use the awarded funds of $574,594 for telecommunications equipment, patient portal, laptop computers, a telehealth platform and network upgrades to increase access to care for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, the FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program, which is authorized by the CARES Act, has approved 514 funding applications in 46 states plus Washington D.C. for a total of $189.27 million in funding. Grace Health is a Federally Qualified Health Center and has been providing health care to Calhoun County residents since 1989. In 2019, more than 134,500 visits were scheduled for just over 31,000 patients. Grace Health is pleased to receive funding from FCC to make improvements to telehealth / telecommunications which will help to increase access to needed care in the community especially during the pandemic.
Community health centers will operate new drive-thru testing locations, provide care to residents referred from COVID-19 hotline Battle Creek, Mich. — Today, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Dr. Joneigh Khaldun announced a new partnership with community health centers designed to expand testing capabilities, refer patients to care, and relieve overburdened hospitals. Grace Health will work alongside the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to stand up and operate a new drive-thru testing site for COVID-19 at Grace Health, 181 West Emmett Street, Battle Creek, MI. The site will be open to all local residents starting April 10, 2020, from 8:00 am – 2:00 pm. Interested individuals should call (269) 965-8866 and talk with a nurse to receive further direction. In addition to supporting widespread testing efforts, Michiganders who call the state’s COVID-19 hotline and need a referral to a provider will be directed to their local community health center. Community health centers provide care to everyone, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. They can stabilize people with chronic conditions, helping to keep them out of the emergency department, and they can treat those who may need medical attention but don’t meet the criteria for hospitalization. “This pandemic poses extraordinary challenges to our health centers, but they’re challenges we’re prepared to meet,” said Dennis Litos, interim chief executive officer of the Michigan Primary Care Association, which represents community health centers in Michigan. “We’re incredibly proud of the care community health centers are providing during this crisis, and we will continue to serve on the frontlines of COVID-19 relief efforts.” To learn more about how community health centers in Michigan are responding to COVID-19, visit https://bit.ly/CHCResponse. ### Grace Health is a Federally Qualified Health Center and has been serving residents in Calhoun County since 1986. Our services include: Family Practice, Internal Medicine, OB/GYN, Pediatrics, Behavioral Health, Optometry/Vision Care, Physical Therapy, Podiatry and Pharmacy. To learn more about Grace Health or to ask questions, visit our website at www.gracehealthmi.org or call us at 269-965-8866.
If you are living with or caring for someone who is ill with confirmed or possible COVID-19, there are steps you can take to help the sick person and prevent spread of the disease. Caregivers should monitor their health and call their healthcare provider right away if they develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 (for example fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath). Make sure you understand and can help the patient follow their healthcare provider’s instructions for medication(s) and care. You should help the patient with basic needs in the home and provide support for getting groceries, prescriptions, and other personal needs. Monitor the patient’s symptoms. If the patient is getting sicker, call his or her healthcare provider. If the patient has a medical emergency and you need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that the patient possibly has, or has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Household members should stay in another room or be separated from the patient as much as possible. Household members should use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if available. Prohibit visitors who do not have an essential need to be in the home. Household members should care for any pets in the home. Do not handle pets or other animals while sick. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets. For more information, see COVID-19 and Animals. Make sure that shared spaces in the home have good air flow, such as by an air conditioner or an opened window, weather permitting. Perform hand hygiene frequently. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. The patient should wear a facemask when around other people. If the patient is not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), the caregiver should wear a mask when they are in the same room as the patient. Wear a disposable facemask and gloves when you touch or have contact with the patient’s blood, stool, or body fluids, such as saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, urine. Throw out disposable facemasks and gloves after using them. Do not reuse. When removing personal protective equipment, first remove and dispose of gloves. Then, immediately clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Next, remove and dispose of facemask, and immediately clean your hands again with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid sharing household items with the patient. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items. After the patient uses these items, you should wash them thoroughly (see below “Wash laundry thoroughly”). Clean all “high-touch” surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables, every day. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product. Wash laundry thoroughly. Immediately remove and wash clothes or bedding that have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items and keep soiled items away from your body. Clean your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after removing your gloves. In general, using a normal laundry detergent according to washing machine instructions and dry thoroughly using the warmest temperatures recommended on the clothing label. Place all used disposable gloves, facemasks, and other contaminated items in a lined container before disposing of them with other household waste. Clean your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after handling these items. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.