Changing Lives August 2020 – Lighting the Way 

Great Lakes Bay Health Centers are celebrating National Health Center Week Aug. 9-15. This year’s theme is “Community Health Centers: Lighting the Way for Healthier Communities Today and in the Future.” We join centers across the country to honor our patients and staff this week. In Michigan, health centers employ nearly 6,000 people and help create almost 40,000 jobs throughout the state. Health centers also generate more than $1.3 billion in total economic stimulus, making them economic powerhouses in underserved communities.

Taking care of patients during this pandemic remains challenging, but the GLBHC leadership team and staff are learning every day how to provide the highest quality and safest services. Patient visits including in-person and via telehealth are at about 85 percent of normal volume.

  • In a new grant project, we will help patients manage chronic health conditions with special COVID education kits that help them to monitor blood pressure and oxygen levels at home and protect their health.  
  • Daily COVID testing sites at our Saginaw, Bay City and Bad Axe health centers continue to experience increased demand with about 1,500 test samples collected per week. Test results are available within about four days in most cases. Racial disparities are evident in testing at our sites with Hispanic and Black individuals showing higher positive rates than Whites.
  • With unemployment rates at a record high, community health centers will be an even more critical resource to serve our neighbors and their families so that they can continue to access primary care, even if they lose their employer-sponsored insurance plan. Great Lakes Bay Health Centers are here to serve.

Be our hero: Join us for Virtual Together Event

Join us for a Virtual tour to learn more about our work during the pandemic and our 50-year history. Meet staff and patients and hear their stories. Click the link to sign up for an upcoming event with Jill Armentrout, Fund Development Coordinator, who will follow up with a Zoom link for the next 30-minute call.

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Healthcare Heroes at Work

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“The past four months I have had the privilege of working with some of the most hardworking and dedicated staff I’ve ever known. They have endured the freezing cold, searing heat and and some of the hardest work we have ever faced. They stayed when others feared the unknown and work as many hours as needed. Some days they literally almost crawl out exhausted. Thanks to truly amazing people! 

– Paula Peters, Saginaw COVID testing site manager  

 

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. 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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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 

just a few of our healthcare heroes

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.”

staying strong against covid-19 inspires patients to do same

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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Moving forward, Protecting health

Moving forward, Protecting health

Great Lakes Bay Health Centers has begun the planning process for recovery from COVID-19 and it will consist of many phases. The safety of staff and the safety of patients will always come first.

super social workers changing lives

 

Voices from the Frontlines

  • “I am glad to be part of an organization that seeks the good of the community by prioritizing those with the greatest needs and not shrinking back in the face of a difficult task. I have become acutely aware of the power of a single person.” – Amanda Byler, nurse practitioner serving at GLBHC testing site.
  • “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 serving at GLBHC testing site.
  • “When you really stop to think about ALL of the AMAZING things that everyone has pulled together to do in such a short, short time frame – things that none of us have literally ever done before – it is so incredible to me. I feel like this is the most important work I’ve ever done in my whole life and maybe will ever do and I’m sure that a lot of other people feel similar. To think about all of the lives we are impacting – it’s like the normal work we do but on steroids! I’m really, really proud to work for GLBHC!  – Nicole Fresorger, assistant clinical services director.

How You Can Help Save and Change Lives

Our patients and our centers continue to face financial challenges. Please consider a new gift, adding to your pledge or making an early gift toward your pledge.

We are experiencing a loss in revenue with fewer patients able to come for visits, along with increased expenses at testing sites. Our patients also are in need of cloth face coverings. Please contact Fund Development Coordinator Jill Armentrout at jarmentrout@glbhealth.org to find out about other ways to give.

Thank you for the meals for staff, protective equipment and funds from new donors,  vendors and sustaining donors.

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