Healthcare News

Mom and Baby Tobacco Free Program Graduates

By | Health Care News

In January 2017, Grace Health started a Mom and Baby Tobacco Free Program. This is a smoking cessation program targeted at pregnant women to improve pregnancy health and birth outcomes by helping women quit smoking during pregnancy.  Women who quit smoking are less likely to have a premature and low-birth weight baby.  Staying smoke-free after the baby is born extends a positive health outcome for women and their families.

To participate in the Mom and Baby Tobacco Free Program, patients must commit to quit smoking during pregnancy. Grace Health providers and staff meet with them regularly to discuss their progress and provide the support they need. We often recommend resources such as Michigan Quit Line, Bronson Battle Creek Fresh Start program and Maternal Infant Health Program.  Program participants who are successful in quitting smoking throughout pregnancy receive free diapers and a gift card.

Robin Cooper and Sarah Furdero recently graduated from Grace Health’s Mom and Baby Tobacco Free Program. Robin said, “I am thankful for the program and smoking is really important to stop when your pregnant.”   Although Sarah tried to quit smoking before, her baby gave her a good reason to quit – “I tried to quit several times but when I got pregnant the decision was to quit something bad for something good.”

To learn more about Grace Health and the services provided visit their website at

Robin Cooper Sarah Furdero

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Grace Health Receives Bikes

By | Health Care News

Grace Health recommends that children have a yearly physical exam which is an important step in helping to keep your child healthy. To encourage parents to bring their children in for a well-child exam, children brought in during the months of July and August had their name put in a drawing for a chance to win a new bike and helmet.  Congratulations to our winners:  Avril Elliott, La’ Montiana Walker, Lamar Burton, and James Yeomans.  Grace Health would like to thank Meridian, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan, and Priority Health for donating a total of 4 bikes and 4 helmets for the drawing.

Bike Winner.Avril Elliott.Meridian (2) Bike Winner.James Yeomans.United Health Care (1) Bike Winner.Lamar Burton.Priority Health 091217 (2) Bike Winner.LaMontiana Walker.United Health Care (2)

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Peter Chang, MD, MPH Appointed as New CEO of Grace Health

By | Health Care News

Grace Health Board of Directors announced on June 14, 2017 the appointment of Peter Chang, MD, MPH as the new President/CEO of Grace Health.  He will assume responsibilities on July 1, 2017 and will succeed Dr. A.J. Jones who is retiring at the end of June after over 25 years of service.

“The Grace Health Board of Directors is confident that Dr. Chang is the right leader to continue to meet the needs of our patients and the community we serve,” says Board Chair, Rose Miller.

When Dr. Chang came to Battle Creek 23 years ago, he wanted to live in a smaller town with strong values. He joined Grace Health’s team in 1994 as a Family Practice Physician because he believes it is important to treat patients as people – not conditions. This belief aligns with Grace Health’s mission – We provide quality health care with the belief that all individuals have the right to considerate service at all times, with recognition of their personal dignity – and is evident in the care he has provided for our community over the years.  He plans to lead Grace Health by continuing to focus on patients and helping to build a healthier community.

Dr. Chang served as Grace Health’s Chief Medical Officer from 1996 until November 2009 while continuing to provide care for patients on a daily basis. In January 2016, Dr. Chang resumed the position of Vice President/CMO.  He received his Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Kansas School of Medicine and became Board Certified by the American Board of Family Practice. Dr. Chang also obtained a degree in the Executive Masters Program in Health Management and Policy from the University of Michigan.

Grace Health (GH), formerly known as Family Health Center of Battle Creek, has been providing health care to Calhoun County, MI residents since 1986. GH is a dually-designated FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center: Community Health Center and Health Care for Homeless provider). GH’s target populations are un(der)served, low/no income and un(der)insured persons. GH sees patients of all ages (both male and female), all races and ethnicities.  In 2016, GH provided more than 133,900 services for just over 31,000 individuals, approx. 23% of the county’s population (70.3% uninsured or w/Medicaid coverage), averaging 530 new patients monthly.  GH currently employs a staff of over 320. GH services include:  Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, OB/GYN, Dental, Behavioral Health, ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat), Optometry/Vision Care, Podiatry and Physical Therapy.

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Grace Health Receives Grant from Lions Club

By | Health Care News

The Battle Creek Cereal City Lions Club provided Grace Health (GH) a $5,000 legacy grant in conjunction with the International Lions Clubs Centennial Celebration. These funds are being used for the purchase of eye glass display cases. GH began providing vision/optometry services in March 2016 and added glasses on June 21, 2017.  Patients are now able to get an eye exam and glasses all at GH.  For those in need, the Lions Club and GH are partnering to establish an eye glass program to provide free glasses.

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Grace Health Opening New Site in Downtown Battle Creek

By | Health Care News

Grace Health’s (GH) new downtown Battle Creek site will open Monday, June 12 – giving GH two locations in Battle Creek. Family Medicine and Behavioral Health services will be provided at the new site located at 62 E. Michigan Avenue.  To begin, GH’s downtown location will be open for walk-ins Monday – Friday from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm – no appointment needed.  This new site will allow anyone in the downtown area to easily walk to GH to receive medical care.

Community members are invited to join GH for an Open House at the downtown location on Tuesday, June 27, from 4:00 pm until 6:00 pm. People may tour the facility, talk with staff, and learn more about the services GH provides.

GH has been providing health care to Calhoun County, MI residents since 1986. GH is a dually-designated FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center: Community Health Center and Health Care for Homeless provider). GH sees patients of all ages (both male and female), all races and ethnicities. In 2016, GH provided more than 133,900 services for just over 31,000 individuals, approx. 23% of the county’s population (70.3% uninsured or w/Medicaid coverage), averaging 530 new patients monthly.  GH services include:  Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, OB/GYN, Dental, Behavioral Health, ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat), Vision / Optometry and Podiatry.

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Dr. Jones Retiring from Grace Health

By | Health Care News

Dr. AJ Jones plans to retire from Grace Health (GH) at the end of June after more than 25 years of service. He started as the Director of Operations in April 1992 and became the President/CEO in August of that same year.  Dr. Jones has been the President/CEO for just over 25 of GH’s 31-year history.

When Dr. Jones took over leadership of GH, there were a small number of staff providing care for just over 900 patients. Grace Health has now grown to the largest non-profit health center in Calhoun County with over 325 staff members providing care for almost 32,000 patients with more than 133,000 visits in 2016.

He saw GH go through a few name changes. It began as North Avenue Women’s Center in 1986, then changed to Family Health Center of Battle Creek in 1992 and later changed to Grace Health 2015.

Dr. Jones wrote GH’s first federal government grant to receive funding to meet the needs of our community members. As a result, GH became a Federally Qualified Health Center.  Although Grace Health started by only providing women’s health services, through Dr. Jones vision, direction and leadership additional services have been added to provide health care for the entire family and to meet the increasing needs within the community for access to quality care.  GH services now include:  Family Practice; Internal Medicine; OB/GYN; Pediatrics; Dental; Ear, Nose, and Throat; Behavioral Health; Vision/Optometry and Podiatry.  Physical Therapy will be added within the next few months.  Other services provided by GH are: on-site interpreters, Portable Dental, Patient Advocates, Outreach & Enrollment Counselors, Maternal and Infant Health Program, CenteringPregnancy and CenteringParenting, Maternal Oral Health Program, Diabetic classes, Nutrition Counseling, Behavioral Health Group Therapy classes, Reach Out & Read program, and much more.  Dr. Jones goes out in the community and meets with GH Executive Management team and Directors on a regular basis to evaluate the needs of GH’s patients and the community and looks for ways services can be expanded to meet the ever-increasing needs.  Not only has Grace Health increased services provided in Battle Creek, but it also added a site in Albion back in 2003 which currently provides dental services.  In June of this year, Grace Health will add a site in downtown Battle Creek (62. E. Michigan) where family medical care and behavioral health services will be provided.

Constant growth and the addition of services, led to new construction and multiple expansions and renovations. Dr. Jones led and oversaw all construction starting with the move from 632 North Avenue to GH’s current location at 181 West Emmett Street in February 1998.  Due to Dr. Jones’ forward thinking, the multiple expansions and renovations that have been done throughout the building helped to increase efficiency and quality of care for patients.  The main building (west campus) is now 66,000 square feet and the OB/GYN building (east campus) is 45,000 square feet for a total of 111,000 square feet at the Battle Creek location – the largest Federally Qualified Health Center site in Michigan.

Education is very important to Dr. Jones. He encourages staff to further their education and always strive to learn more.  As a result of difficulty in finding qualified Medical Assistants, Dr. Jones started a program at Grace Health in which staff go through several months of training to become a Medical Assistant.  He also started an incubator program for newly hired Nurse Practitioners.  This program provides a mentor to the new Nurse Practitioner.  The mentor answers questions and provides assistance as needed for the Nurse Practitioner. For the future of GH, Dr. Jones is leading GH towards becoming a teaching facility and is working with Western Michigan University residency program.  Not only will this help staff increase their knowledge in health care, but it will also result in better care for patients.

Throughout GH’s history, Dr. Jones’ has ensured the mission has stayed the same: At Grace Health, we provide quality health care with the belief that all individuals have the right to considerate services at all times, with recognition of their personal dignity.

Not only has Dr. Jones been the driving force behind all the improvements and addition of services at GH to meet increasing needs of patients and the community, but he has also been instrumental in forming community collaboratives in an effort to decrease gaps in health care services. In 1999, he started the Maternal Infant Health Commission after the close of OB services.  He started the Access to Care Group in 2000 which is a group of community members who meet on a monthly basis to assess needs in the community, evaluate gaps in health care and work on solutions for improvement.  Dr. Jones also started the CEO Forum in which CEO’s from community organizations meet on a regular basis to share information to help ensure community needs are being met.  Over the years, Dr. Jones has served on multiple committees at both community and state level.  The committees and Boards he served on include:  CEO Forum, The Coordinating Council, Access to Care, Miller College Board, Southwest Michigan Rehab Foundation Board, Southwest Regional Rehabilitation Board, Michigan Primary Care Association Board, Michigan Primary Care Association Membership Committee, Northcentral Neighborhood Planning Council 2, Battle Creek Advisory Nursing Board, Health Care Leadership Forum, Minority Health Partnership, Regional Health Alliance (RHA) Leadership Cabinet, RHA Issue Action Group – Choose Health, RHA Issue Action Group – School Wellness Advisory Group, Substance Abuse Council, Teen Health Work Group, United Way Campaign Committee, United Way Directors’ Association, and Y Center Board of Directors.  Although this list is not all inclusive, it provides a highlight of the various committees and Boards he served on to help with improvements in our community.

The Board of Directors, GH staff and patients, wish to publicly thank Dr. Jones for his tireless dedication to GH and our community. We appreciate all that he has done to make a difference.

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Grace Health Earns National Recognition for Patient-Centered Care

By | Health Care News

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) today announced that Grace Health of Battle Creek, MI has received NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition for using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long‐term, participative relationships.

The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home is a model of primary care that combines teamwork and information technology to improve care, improve patients’ experience of care, and reduce costs. Medical homes foster ongoing partnerships between patients and their personal clinicians, instead of approaching care as the sum of episodic office visits. Each patient’s care is overseen by clinician-led care teams that coordinate treatment across the health care system. Research shows that medical homes can lead to higher quality and lower costs, and can improve patient and provider reported experiences of care.

“NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition raises the bar in defining high-quality care by emphasizing access, health information technology and coordinated care focused on patients,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. “Recognition shows that Grace Health has the tools, systems and resources to provide its patients with the right care, at the right time.”

To earn recognition, which is valid for three years, Grace Health demonstrated the ability to meet the program’s key elements, embodying characteristics of the medical home. NCQA standards aligned with the joint principles of the Patient-Centered Medical Home established with the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Osteopathic Association.

This recognition aligns with Grace Health’s mission which states, “At Grace Health, we provide quality health care with the belief that all individuals have the right to considerate service at all times, with recognition of their personal dignity.” Although Grace Health is PCMH Recognized by the NCQA, the Center continues to evaluate processes and services provided to help ensure the needs of its patients are being met.

About NCQA

NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. NCQA’s Web site ( contains information to help consumers, employers and others make more informed health care choices.

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HIMSS Analytics Honors Grace Health with Stage 6 Recognition

By | Health Care News

As of December 2016, 7,622 ambulatory sites tracked by HIMSS Analytics had reached Stage 6 on its Outpatient Electronic Medical Record Adoption ModelSM (O-EMRAM).

HIMSS Analytics announced Grace Health has achieved Stage 6 on the EMR Adoption ModelSM (EMRAM).

HIMSS Analytics developed the Outpatient EMR Adoption Model in 2012 as a methodology for evaluating the progress and impact of electronic medical record systems for ambulatory facilities in the HIMSS Analytics® LOGIC™.  Tracking their progress in completing eight stages (0-7), ambulatory sites can review the implementation and utilization of information technology applications with the intent of reaching Stage 7, which represents an advanced electronic patient record environment.

     Stage 6 ambulatory facilities

    • Have made significant executive commitments and investments to reach this stage.
    • Appear to have a significant advantage over competitors for patient safety, clinician support, clinician recruitment, and competitive marketing for both consumers and nurse recruitment.
    • Have almost fully automated/paperless medical records when they have implemented their IT applications across most of the outpatient care settings.
    • Are either starting to evaluate their data for care delivery process improvements or have already documented significant improvements in this area.
    • Have made investments that are within reach of most clinics and recognize the strategic value of improving patient care with the EMR.
    • Have begun to create strategic alignments with their medical staff to effectively utilize information technology to improve patient engagement and population health
    • Are well positioned to provide data to key stakeholders, such as payers, the government, physicians, consumers, and employers, to support electronic health record environments and health information exchanges.

Stage 6 organizations also have achieved a significant advancement in their IT capabilities that positions them to successfully address many of the current industry transformations, such as meaningful use criteria in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, claims attachments for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, pay for performance, and government quality reporting programs.

Grace Health first starting using electronic health records for patient visits in 2006. In 2011, the Center converted to NextGen software for their electronic dental record and converted medical to NextGen in 2013.  Grace Health’s Information Technology team works behind the scenes monitoring and evaluating the system to ensure it is being used effectively and efficiently.  Additional staff were added to the team to help train staff, answer questions, and create templates in an effort to improve quality and ease of use of NextGen.  Grace Health’s Information Technology team works with staff on a daily basis, receives feedback, and makes adjustments to templates within NextGen when needed resulting in improved quality care for Grace Health patients.

“HIMSS Analytics congratulates Grace Health for making significant progress towards achieving advanced health IT adoption,” said John H. Daniels, CNM, FACHE, FHIMSS, CPHIMS, Global Vice President, HIMSS Analytics.  “Stage 6 represents a level of sophistication that can lead to innovative healthcare transformation.”

About Grace Health:  Grace Health is a Federally Qualified Health Center that has been providing health care to residents of Calhoun County for over 30 years. The Center’s mission is to provide quality health care with the belief that all individuals have the right to considerate service at all times, with recognition of their personal dignity.   Learn more about Grace Health at


About HIMSS Analytics:  HIMSS Analytics is a global healthcare advisor, providing guidance and market intelligence solutions that move the industry forward with insight to enable better health through the use of IT.  As a trusted healthcare research and advisory firm, the industry depends on HIMSS Analytics’ resources, benchmarks, predictive models and assessment tools to improve decision making regarding their IT strategic roadmap and market strategy. HIMSS Analytics is uniquely positioned and differentiated through its industry focused offerings which include its Healthcare IT market intelligence tool, Healthcare IT insights and Healthcare IT benchmarks and services. The LOGIC market intelligence tool has the largest technology data set with unmatched breadth and depth needed for guiding healthcare IT strategies. HIMSS Analytics research and advisory consultants uncover unique insights on how to optimally use IT to tackle today’s healthcare challenges faced by both healthcare delivery organizations and IT companies. Its EMR Adoption Model (EMRAM) provides a strategic roadmap and guidance along an 8-stage model with comparisons to healthcare organizations in the same country and around the world.

HIMSS Analytics, a wholly owned subsidiary of HIMSS, is the healthcare research and advisory firm for healthcare delivery organizations, IT companies, governmental entities, and financial, pharmaceutical, consulting and emerging technology solution partners worldwide. Learn more at

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CenteringParenting Begins at Grace Health

By | Health Care News

Grace Health’s first CenteringParenting group met on December 14. CenteringParenting brings 6-8 moms, partners, support people and their same-age infants together for family-centered care for the child’s first two years of life.   Each CenteringParenting visit includes individual, well-child health assessments, developmental screenings and immunizations along with group discussions and interactive activities that focus on safe sleep, nutrition, development and safety.  This creates an environment to get questions answered and build your confidence as a parent.  The first year includes 6 appointments with the schedule given a year in advance.  The second year includes 3 appointments, again with the schedule given a year in advance. CenteringParenting allows you the opportunity to share with and learn from other parents who are having the same or similar experiences as you.  Fun, family activities will be done at each session to help support your growing baby’s development.

CenteringParenting Group 1 (5)Patients who participate in Grace Health’s CenteringPregnancy can receive further support through CenteringParenting where they interact with other parents who have children the same age. During CenteringPregnancy, women meet with their provider and other women with similar due dates allowing time for questions and sharing experiences. With CenteringParenting, women and their support person can continue this learning experience and building relationships that may last a life time.

CenteringParenting Group 1 (10)

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Bronson Battle Creek to Become a Teaching Hospital

By | Health Care News

Bronson Battle Creek (BBC) announced plans to seek designation as a teaching hospital, an effort that will expand healthcare access, aid in the recruitment of new physicians, and support economic vitality in Battle Creek.

Bronson Healthcare, Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine (WMed), and Grace Health are working together to develop a new residency training program in family medicine. Once approved and operational, the Battle Creek residency will be a destination for recent medical school graduates from across the nation to complete the training and study required to become family medicine providers.

“Most people are aware that our nation faces a shortage of physicians,” said Frank Sardone, president and CEO of the Bronson Healthcare system. Bronson is committed to doing all we can to improve access to care in our region.  Establishing a teaching program at Bronson Battle Creek, similar to what we have in Kalamazoo, is a purposeful way to expand the base of primary care providers now and well into the future.”

“This new Family Medicine residency at Bronson Battle Creek will further our growing efforts in graduate medical education,” said Hal B. Jenson, MD, MBA, founding dean of WMed. “There are more than 200 resident physicians receiving training through our program already.  WMed is working to ensure that exceptional physicians are available to meet the needs of southwest Michigan, the state, and the nation.”

Six new physicians will be accepted into the three year curriculum each year. Once the residency is fully operational there will be 18 family medicine residents practicing in the community at any given time.

Residents will spend time rounding and learning in virtually every medical discipline that Bronson Battle Creek offers. Training will be provided by new residency teaching staff and by members of the BBC medical staff.

Grace Health, Battle Creek’s federally qualified family health center, will serve as the outpatient training site for the residency. “Physicians who are fortunate to be part of this residency will learn and participate in our integrated model of care,” said Grace Health president/CEO A.J. Jones, ND.  “They will serve alongside our team of employed physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, midwives, behavioral health consultants and dentists – learning, seeing patients, experiencing a real practice in which different disciplines work together to provide coordinated, patient-centered care.”

Startup funding for the BBC family medicine residency is being provided by three significant grants of $1 million each from the Bronson Healthcare Group, Bronson Battle Creek Hospital Community Partners, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. All three funders cite the unique opportunity for this program to both strengthen healthcare services in Calhoun County and to build a more robust local economy.

“What a terrific opportunity to impact the future of Battle Creek,” said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.  “For each of the community partners engaged in this exciting venture, we envision a win-win-win opportunity.  These physician residents will provide care to residents of our area during their three years of training in Battle Creek; a significant number may then choose to stay in our community and create new practices or join existing ones; and throughout the process there is a positive economic impact on our economy – with the arrival of new teaching faculty, physician residents, and their families living and playing in Battle Creek.”

Status as a teaching hospital is expected to bring enormous benefit to the health and vitality of the Battle Creek community:

  • Studies indicate that teaching hospitals have a higher overall quality of care than non-teaching hospitals;
  • Teaching hospitals are better able to recruit and retain physicians;
  • Teaching hospitals serve as a pipeline for new medical staff in a community (nearly half of residents choose to practice within 50-miles of their training);
  • BBC status as a teaching hospital will bring jobs and investment to Battle Creek.

“This is an important day for Bronson Battle Creek and all of Calhoun County,” said Bronson Battle Creek chief operating officer Jim McKernan, BSN, MBA.  “We are honored to become a teaching hospital and prepare the next generation of primary care providers. Many members of our medical staff have enthusiastically expressed interest in sharing their experience as faculty; and the arrival of additional teaching staff and the medical school graduates themselves will create a dynamic environment for learning and patient-centered practice.”

Work on the new residency has been underway for more than a year. If all goes as expected, approval will come in early 2017; recruitment for the first class will begin soon after; and training of the initial class of family physicians would begin in the summer of 2018.

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