Detroit Wayne County Health Authority Releases Report Entitled "Ensuring Essential Health Services on the Near East Side of Detroit"

This is the culmination of a year-long study by a collaboration of community organizations dedicated to filling the health void left with the closure of Detroit Riverview Hospital on Detroit's East Side. The Detroit Wayne County Health Authority coordinated the process. Recommendations include development of "medical home" primary care centers and an emergency department diversion program.

Detroit, MI, October 02, 2008 --( The Near East Side Planning Team, coordinated by the Detroit Wayne County Health Authority, has released a policy report, “Ensuring Essential Health Services on Detroit’s Near East Side.” Central to the group’s recommendations is establishing a method for ensuring that all 70,000 people living in the area have access to a medical home – a comprehensive approach to providing community-based, patient-centered primary health care. An estimated 15,000 residents in the area – defined by zip codes 48207, 48213, 48214, and 48215 – do not have a personal physician. Many use hospital emergency facilities for primary and chronic care.

The East Side Planning Team which worked for a little more than a year, involves 22 hospital, health center, public health, and community representatives either based on the Near East Side, or having a significant interest in community health.

“This initiative is indicative of what we can achieve when the health care community comes together to solve a problem. The synergy of these efforts doesn’t just solve a problem, it creates a model of health care delivery that is replicable elsewhere,” said Chris Allen, Executive Director and CEO of the Health Authority. “We are pleased with the leadership of St. John Health and the many community organizations that have made this initiative possible.”

“The collaborative effort undertaken on Detroit’s East Side can be a model for development of the medical home for families in the area,” explained Adam Jablonowski, Executive Director of the Wayne County Medical Society. Jablonowski also serves as Chair of the Health Authority’s Provider Advisory Committee. “Now, we must move forward with the training of more primary care physicians to meet the challenge of delivering the care.”

Other recommendations issued by the East Side Planning Team include:

Strengthen existing health care safety net providers. Representatives of the Michigan Primary Care Association and Health Authority staff will provide technical and financial assistance for community health centers.

Expand primary care capacity. Add at least 20 new primary care providers at existing health centers and new sites, preferably as affiliates of existing Federally Qualified Health Centers. Oral/dental health services, as well as mental health and substance abuse services, will also be available to health centers on a centralized basis.

Organize the system of care. Develop a “hub and spoke” model of service delivery that will ensure comprehensive primary and urgent care services are available in the “hub” location while primary medical care in the medical home is accessible in spoke locations. The St. John Riverview campus will become the “hub” for the integrated system of care. At a minimum, services in the “hub” will include primary medical care, urgent care, behavioral health, oral health, pharmacy, and social services. A transportation network will enable people to easily access the full continuum of services.

Implement an emergency facility diversion strategy. In collaboration with the Voices of Detroit Initiative, the Health Authority will engage all Detroit health systems to redirect non-emergent patients to primary care sites. A community and patient education program focused on changing behavior regarding how people access care will discourage use of hospital emergency services for non-emergent care. People will be encouraged to call United Way 2-1-1 to secure a primary care provider.

Create connectivity within the “hub and spoke” system through technology. Funding will be secured to ensure that all safety net providers have electronic health records and other records to track, manage, and support patient care, including e-prescribing.

The Health Authority has provided a $400,000 grant to launch this initiative, including the addition of a program director. Additional funding will come from local, state, and federal resources.

For a full copy of the report, or further information on the Health Authority, contact Dennis Archambault at 313-871-3751, ext. 110.

The Detroit Wayne County Health Authority is a public body corporate, established in 2004 by the State of Michigan, City of Detroit and Wayne County. Its mission is to coordinate efforts to meet the health needs of the uninsured and underinsured residents in the City of Detroit and Wayne County by assuring access and improving the health status of all people. For more information, call 313-871-3751 ext. 103.

Detroit Wayne County Health Authority
Dennis Archambault