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Great Lakes Bay Health

Writing about all of the info that affects your health and the health of our medical and professional workers at Great Lakes Bay Health Centers!

Staying Vigilant 

Changing Lives July 2020

Healthcare Heroes at Work

“I hear a lot of stories from patients all day. I’ve heard lots of tears and comforted a lot of patients with increased anxiety. One patient with cancer is too afraid to go out and appreciates the telehealth option. Another patient thanks me for keeping a form of communication open for her to get her counseling. There are lots of lives that we affect and help. Most patients just need someone to vent to. I help set up the calls with the doctor and some patients just pour it out to me.”

– Samantha Wager, medical assistant 

Listen to Stories of Lives Changed

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues on, we must all stay vigilant to continue to protect our communities. Accessible testing and education are key – in our neighborhoods, churches and businesses. Great Lakes Bay Health Centers are providing these crucial services and outreach. 

For our staff at daily testing sites, increasing demand means working for hours in gowns and masks while standing on hot pavement next to hot vehicles to gather demographic and insurance information. This is hard work and will require hiring additional staff to keep the testing going. Hours have shifted earlier to deal with the heat.

  • Daily testing sites at our Saginaw, Bay City and Bad Axe health centers have seen increasing numbers of people over the last several weeks, with about 6 percent of tests positive. 
  • We have tested hundreds of people at popup events in vulnerable neighborhoods and at farms with our migrant health team. Our daily sites have totaled nearly 7,300 tests collected since late March. 
  • The next neighborhood pop-up testing event is July 14 at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Fliers for this event are going out around Saginaw to spread the word. Student volunteers from SVSU and Davenport University are making this event possible alongside our medical staff. 

Great Lakes Bay Health Centers migrant health mobile team answered the call for immediate COVID-19 testing at farms in Lapeer County where workers were facing a cluster of cases. The next day this team was trained and tested 121 workers at the first farm. Migrant farm workers are at higher risk living in crowded housing units and traveling by bus together.  

  • “I’m glad we are doing this outreach to communicate with the workers. They have no knowledge of this virus. We are doing a lot of education,” said Jesse Costilla, GLBHC Migrant Program Manager. “Many of them didn’t want the test but after the farmer got right in line with them, that helped. We are handing out sanitation kits with masks and translated information.”

Most importantly, our centers are safely bringing patients back to care and encouraging them to call for any services they delayed. Face-to-face visits are increasing along with continued telehealth, which now accounts for about 35 percent of visits. We are hiring additional staff to screen patients coming for visits. 
Eye care, dental care, physical therapy, alternative pain management, mammography, laboratory, nutrition services and more are back in business. We are here to help patients manage their medical and behavioral health to keep them safe and healthy.

You Can Help Change Lives Now

You can help make sure that your neighbors – including the most vulnerable people in our communities – have safe access to all medical, dental, behavioral health and supporting services. Spread the word that coming back for regular healthcare is essential. A financial gift will help to ensure all services are available and support ongoing COVID safety, testing and outreach. Please donate online or contact Fund Development Coordinator Jill Armentrout at jarmentrout@glbhealth.org to find out about other ways to give. Thank you for the meals, masks and financial support already provided to help Change Lives Now. 

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Changing Lives June 2020 

Statement from Dr. Brenda Coughlin, GLBHC CEO

“We have to be proactive during these events if we truly want to eliminate racism and racial disparities. To do this we have to understand that racism is not imaginary nor is it only found in pockets of our society but that it is embedded in our social infrastructure in various forms.”

Listen to Stories of Lives Changed

Great Lakes Bay Health Centers is dedicated to addressing racism and racial inequality by strengthening efforts to bridge the gap in health disparities. We are safely bringing patients back to care and encouraging them to call for any services they delayed.
Our centers are open and services including eye care, dental, physical therapy, mammography, laboratory and nutrition services are back, along with continued telehealth care. We are taking COVID testing into our neighborhoods to increase access to those most at risk.

Racism is a public health issue. As a healthcare organization, we see firsthand the health disparities among our patients – and we work to address the root causes behind them. 

  • Disproportionate numbers of COVID-19 deaths and unemployment rates are devastating many Black and Hispanic communities 
  • Black women are more than 3 times likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than whites
  • Evidence shows non-white patients consistently receive less adequate pain treatment

The national health center movement was born during the struggle for racial justice in the 1960s as an answer to the call for health equity – care for everyone, regardless of who they are, where they come from or their ability to pay. This is our mission: providing excellent healthcare to individuals and communities, especially those who are underserved, uninsured, or underinsured.

We have specific efforts in action to improve all aspects of equitable healthcare:

  • President’s Advisory Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is guiding efforts to address health disparities among patients and create a more inclusive environment
  • Health Literacy Committee is working to ensure all patient communication is culturally appropriate and accessible
  • GLBHC was one of first healthcare centers in the state to collect Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Expression data to identify the needs of these patients
  • Community Health Promotion Committee is working with churches and other partners to spread the word about COVID testing and safety education, and addressing patient fears that could hold them back from seeking services
  • Mental Health Surge Taskforce is addressing increased stress and depression
  • GLBHC Board of Directors is diverse and reflects communities we serve.

Together, we can improve health and wellness for all in an environment where everyone feels respected, loved, cared about, and listened to.

You Can Help Change Lives Now

You can help make sure that your neighbors – including the most vulnerable people in our communities – have safe access to all medical, dental, behavioral health and supporting services. Spread the word that coming back for regular healthcare is essential. A financial gift will help to ensure all services are available and support ongoing COVID safety, testing and outreach. Please donate online or contact Fund Development Coordinator Jill Armentrout at jarmentrout@glbhealth.org to find out about other ways to give. Thank you for the meals, masks and financial support already provided to help Change Lives Now. 

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Opening Doors to Caring   

susperstar nursese show off their superpowers and tell stories that change lives


May 26, 2020

Voices from the Frontlines

“I feel fortunate to be with a company who offers hope to so many people and offers healthcare to all.” Ann Gurnee, Integrated Nurse Manager working at Bayside testing site.

“I believe as healthcare workers we often have moments with patients that have a lasting impact.” – Lance Redwantz, dietitian and door screener

Listen to Stories of Lives Changed

Our Region has been hit hard by this pandemic and now with flooding – loss of homes, loss of jobs, loss of loved ones and loss of peace of mind. Great Lakes Bay Health Centers are here to help bring back some peace through counseling and substance use treatment, dental care, chronic health care and well child visits. Our caregivers have never stopped connecting with patients, but now we are working to safely support bringing patients back to centers for care that is vital to healthy lives.

  • State and federal guidelines: Allow for resuming nonessential medical and dental treatment treatment starting May 29. Each GLBHC site has a recovery plan to protect staff and patients. Steps include providing cloth masks to patients, installing barriers and other safety equipment, continuing telehealth and screening – to bring back services that have been halted. 
  • Migrant care: Beginning medical outreach in late May in collaboration with Northwest Michigan Health Services on west side of the state. 
  • Health Promotion Committee: Working with churches, schools and food support agencies to spread the word about testing and COVID safety education. We will address patient fears that could hold them back from seeking care. 
  • Testing: Three drive-through sample collection sites have tested more than 2,500 people for the virus since March. Now working with partner organizations to bring mobile testing to places where people haven’t had access to testing. Testing is free and available to anyone with symptoms and to any employees working in public even without symptoms

How You Can Help Change Lives Now

You can help make sure that your neighbors – including the most vulnerable people in our communities – have safe access to the regular healthcare they may have had to miss in the past two months. You can also help make sure that COVID testing is available to everyone who needs it. Your gift will help to protect staff and patients and ensure all services can continue. 

Please donate now through our online portal or contact Fund Development Coordinator Jill Armentrout at jarmentrout@glbhealth.org to find out about other ways to give. Thank you for the meals, masks and financial support already provided to help Change Lives Now. 

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Welcome Back to Care

advice on avoiding covid-19 great lakes bay health centers

Download our welcome back flyer.

Dear Patients of Great Lakes Bay Health Centers,

We hope you are doing well and feeling healthy. We are writing to let you know that as your primary care provider, we are still here and are opening up our doors for increased access to care over the next couple of weeks. As always, our commitment is to you and our community. We are here to keep you healthy and safe. We encourage you to schedule the care that you have delayed.

Below we have included some information to help when you or any family members need our services. We encourage all of our patients to continue to follow guidelines for social distancing, wearing masks, hand-washing, and protecting vulnerable populations who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

  1. We are OPEN for both in-person and telehealth visits. Any changes to our hours and services will be posted here: www.greatlakesbayhealthcenters.org, along with all site phone numbers.
  2. We are following the current recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
  3. As always, the best way to reach us is by phone. Please don’t walk-in. You can reach us to make an appointment by calling your health or dental center.

Here are a few screening questions we will ask you the day before your appointment:

  • Do you have a fever?
  • Do you have a cough or any respiratory symptoms?
  • Have you been in direct contact with someone with COVID-19?
  • Depending on your answer to these questions, we will direct you to the appropriate space in our building for your appointment or ask you to kindly wait in your car in the parking lot.
  • If you start feeling sick, please call us before coming to the clinic. We want to keep you, our staff and the rest of the community safe.
  1. Here is process we ask all patients to follow when they come in to a center:
  • We will provide hand sanitizer and ask you to use it right before you enter our doors.
  • We ask that you bring a mask with you to your appointment and enter wearing it. If you do not have a mask, we will do our best to have one for you.  Our staff will be wearing masks as well.
  • You will notice that our waiting rooms have fewer chairs and no longer contain magazines and children’s toys. This is because these items are more difficult to disinfect.
  • We also are limiting companions during your appointment. We ask that you come alone or with only 1 other person/caretaker.
  • Our appointment schedule is lighter than usual to ensure we have fewer patients in the building at a time. We continue to offer virtual telehealth visits.
  1. We may offer you a virtual visit so you don’t have to leave your house unnecessarily.  Ask us for more details when you call your center.

Thank you for being our patient. We are committed to serving you now more than ever and are here should you have questions or concerns. We will see you soon.

 Sincerely, Your providers at Great Lakes Bay Health Centers 

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