Why start this project now, when the economic situation is so challenging?
First, we have an unprecedented opportunity to secure state investment and ARRA (stimulus) money to fund 58% of the project. Second, and more critical, the current economic difficulties in West Michigan have strained the already limited capacity of health care services for low-income individuals. A 2009 study shows that there is only enough capacity to provide affordable primary care access to 58% of the low income people in Kent County. The remaining 81,000 people - half of whom are children -have limited access to care. We must do something to increase capacity while streamlining care, and this is the right time to do it
What are the sources of funding for this project?
A total of more than $17 million will be coming into the project from federal and state sources. These include tax credits, ARRA (stimulus) funding, and state matching funds for health care. The philanthropic community is being asked to provide approximately $4.1 million of the estimated $29.2 million project total.
Are there any matching grant opportunities?
Yes, the State of Michigan is offering a 3:1 match on qualifying grants. Please contact us to learn more about how you can participate in this program to increase the impact of your gift.
Will this building be LEED® certified?
Yes, we are planning not only to clean up a brownfield site with this building, but also to seek LEED® certification.
When will the project be completed?
We are planning to break ground in the first quarter of 2010, with an anticipated project completion date of June 2011.
What economic impact is the project expected to have?
The initial construction will employ hundreds of people over a period of approximately eighteen months. After construction is complete, the building will contain approximately 300 professional service providers, 100 of whom will be new additions to serve all the new patients coming to the building.
How much capacity will this project add to the low-income health care system?
Heart of the City Health Center will serve approximately 8,000 new patients. Many of these patients require a combination of medical, dental and mental health services. Of these new patients, we anticipate that (what percentage) will be children.
How will the operating expenses for this expansion be funded on an ongoing basis?
Operating efficiencies will come from consolidation of the services from Grand Rapids Pediatrics and Ferguson Adult Health Center and from energy saving engineering of the Heart of the City Health Center. However, major federal operational expansion funding is expected as a result of recent health care reform measures which are expected to illustrate the benefits of the community health center model in expanding access to care.
Why is it so important to have physical care and mental care located in the same building?
Seventy percent of patients who come to community health centers have some type of behavioral health issue. According to the Medical Panel Expenditure Survey (MEPS), one quarter of the entire Medicaid population has a mental disorder. Barriers such as transportation, insurance and access to care make it difficult to treat co-occurring issues successfully. By offering comprehensive treatment in one location, we will simplify the process of obtaining care while increasing capacity.
How will physicians and caregivers be trained to provide integrated care?
All providers working at the Center will be trained to operate in a holistic model. Altarum Institute and Health Management Associates are consulting with the team to create a curriculum of physical and behavioral health care delivery. In addition, all patient information will be easily shared through the use of a newly implemented electronic medical records system. The team plans to bring in an expert consultant for one year to prepare people upfront for the new model. Staff from all three organizations will train together in the delivery model, cross train in each other’s specialties, and will work as peers on treatment teams for people with co-occurring chronic health conditions. Much attention is being paid to this portion of the implementation, so that the Heart of the City Health Center can truly act as a national model for integrated care delivery.