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Michigan health centers to get federal grants to expand

steve carmody
Michigan Radio
Dr. Nicole Lurie (left) speaks with officials of the Genesee Health System

Ten community health centers in Michigan are getting million dollar federal grants to expand.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says the money will pay for renovations and expansion. By expanding, the health centers will be able to provide more primary and preventative health services to people with little access.

The department’s Dr. Nicole Lurie toured the Genesee Community Health Center today. What she saw was a center bulging at the seams.

Honor Potvin, the center’s interim executive director, walked Lurie down cramped hallways to well-used examination rooms, which often have to be used for multiple purposes.

“You build into the closets,” Lurie noted, as the center tries to squeeze as much use as possible from its current facility.

Potvin says the million-dollar grant will allow her agency to expand to meet a demand sharply rising demand.

“We currently see about 3,000 unduplicated patients annually,” says Potvin. “We would be able to double that.”

Potvin credits the increased demand on several factors, including Flint’s water crisis.

E. Yvonne Lewis is the chair of the Genesee Community Health Center board. She says growing outreach is another reason.

“Our center focuses in on the homeless and the public housing communities,” says Lewis. “We also have a site in one of our public housing complexes which makes us accessible.”

The health centers have a few years to spend the grant money to expand their facilities.   

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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