Find MI Care is Improving Access and Reducing Readmissions
07 May 2014
At least 7.5 million people have signed up for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act exchanges, and the number is still rising. The question now is where exactly do these patients go to find their affordable care?
The Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) program in Detroit, led by the Greater Detroit Area Health Council (GDAHC), is helping its residents easily locate the care they need with its Find MI Care initiative. Patients in Michigan looking for a doctor or other health care services can use the Find MI Care website (www.findmicare.org) and mobile application to search for clinics in their area. The app is now available for free in Apple and Google app stores.
“A tool such as Find MI Care, particularly in a mobile format, is extremely beneficial in connecting newly enrolled with essential health services,” said Joseph W. Ferguson, MHA, FACHE, executive director at Advantage Health Centers.
With Find MI Care, patients easily locate care based on different categories (for example, dental, pediatrics, or behavioral health). After selecting a region, a list of practices appears. From there, patients can see a practice’s location, availability of language services, website, phone number, what to bring to an appointment, and more.
Benefits of Find MI Care go beyond the patient. Hospitals, physicians, and clinic staff are able to print locations of clinics near the patient’s home during the discharge process. Community groups can use this site to assist in connecting people in Michigan to health care resources. Additionally the app will help improve patient experience of care by enhancing care transitions and providing more appropriate care.
“Find MI Care is a wonderful resource for the community. Cabrini Clinic has its own little raggedy list of resources for those in need of health care. We update it once a year, but very soon it is out of date. This list is comprehensive, accessible online, printable, and up to date. Miracles do happen,” said Mary Ellen Howard, RSM, executive director of St. Frances Cabrini Clinic of Most Holy Trinity Church.
The idea for the project evolved from GDAHC and Blue Cross Blue Shield’s work with the Help with Health Care brochure, which provides information on free clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers, as well as other community resources. While the Help with Health Care brochure is a useful resource to the community, by the time the brochures are printed, much of the information is already outdated. A local health system recognized the potential in the brochure and proposed a new and improved real-time health care application. As a regionally and nationally recognized health care leader, GDAHC was asked to lead the project.
Websites that compare free and low-cost clinics exist (e.g., NeedyMeds, Health Resources and Services Administration’s Find a Health Center site), but they do not provide the user-friendly functionalities of Find MI Care (i.e., the user’s selected clinics on a single printable map and comprehensive information on services, when to call, and when to visit).
“Everyone deserves to have the right care, in the right place, at the right time,” said Hanna Harp, project coordinator at GDAHC.
Through innovative programming and activities, GDAHC advocates and leads change and improvement in the way health services are delivered, paid for, and used within the seven counties of Southeast Michigan. Based on its successes, the Alliance can serve as an example to other communities hoping to do the same thing.