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   

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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.

 

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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On the front lines of caring

Great Lakes Bay Health Centers is on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, providing outpatient medical, behavioral health and emergency dental care to those in most need. Our centers around the region are open for patients and are helping to reduce stress on area hospitals. To protect the health of our staff and patients, we are adapting daily to changing needs. At the same time, we will be able to carry these lessons forward to build for the future.

Telehealth: We have shifted many visits to virtual visits through Zoom calls to help patients stay home and still receive care. We have dozens of doctors, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, social workers and psychiatrists who are consulting with hundreds of patients this way.

Emergency dental services: We are one of the only locations for residents who have immediate dental treatment needs, including pain and infections. Hospitals are sending patients to us to keep these people out of the emergency rooms.

COVID Sample Collection Sites: We are partnering with local health departments to provide drive-through sample
collection sites in parking lots at our centers. Patients must have a lab order from a provider for a test because testing supplies are limited. We started on March 24 in Saginaw and have seen more than 160 patients so far. A collection site started in Bad Axe on April 1. Another is in the works in Bay County.

Support for patients in need: We are available to residents who don’t have a primary care provider and are
experiencing symptoms. New patients wanting to establish care related to COVID Symptoms and/or known exposure should call (989) 753-6000 for assistance. We also are temporarily waiving the nominal fee charged to patients who are uninsured. Staff are even decorating our doors with signs of hope. We are in this together.

How You can help change lives:

We are so thankful for our partners and community supporters! You have provided in-kind donations of food to staff, supplies for our collection sites and much more. We continue to face challenges. We are experiencing a loss in revenue with fewer patients able to come for visits. At the same time, our centers are facing increased expenses – with the demand for personal protection equipment and with the collection sites where we receive no reimbursement. We are in need of protective gowns, face shields and hand sanitizer, as well as financial support.

Please consider making a donation at  www.greatlakesbayhealthcenters.org/donate

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