Kalamazoo Family Health Center Receives Grant for COVID Vaccination Efforts

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 7:00 AM EDT

Funding from Meridian helps local health provider with purchasing medical equipment

DETROIT, May 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Meridian of Michigan is proud to announce the Family Health Center in Kalamazoo was recognized as one of Centene's top 100 providers nationwide with the highest increase in vaccination rates. The team received a $5,000 grant from Meridian for medical equipment as part of an initiative Centene, Meridian's parent company, announced last year to encourage providers nationwide to educate members about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Meridian of Michigan presented the Family Health Center in Kalamazoo with a $5,000 grant for...
Meridian of Michigan presented the Family Health Center in Kalamazoo with a $5,000 grant for medical equipment for being one of the top 100 providers for COVID-19 vaccination education and outreach initiatives.(PRNewswire)

The investment will allow the Kalamazoo-based Family Health Center (FHC) to better serve more than 51,000 patients with new equipment and improved healthcare delivery.

"Collaboration and commitment drove our shared success in testing and vaccinating thousands of Kalamazoo residents," said Denise Crawford, President and CEO of Family Health Center. "Bronson Healthcare Group was a vital partner, working with FHC to protect the most vulnerable against COVID-19. We also teamed up with other organizations, including Kalamazoo Public Schools, Mothers of Hope, and more than 40 others to reach more people with critical information, testing, and vaccines."

Mothers of Hope is a nonprofit organization in Kalamazoo that seeks to empower women, families, and communities to rise above the effects of substance use disorders, poverty, violence, and systemic inequities.

"The dedication of FHC's amazing staff made all the difference," Crawford added. "From the start of the pandemic through today, they continue to bring high energy, strong determination and the highest standard of care. Through their commitment, we've been able to administer more than 26,800 tests, vaccines, and boosters, protecting thousands of people, including the most vulnerable against COVID-19."

As the world continues to face outbreaks caused by COVID-19 variants, it is important as ever to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. To encourage all Americans to get vaccinated, Centene announced the COVID-19 vaccination initiative in June 2021 as part of a nationwide campaign. Through this initiative, Meridian worked with local providers to conduct engagement campaigns that educated their patients about the importance of getting vaccinated. The additional incentive helped motivate providers to engage their communities as much as possible and increase vaccination rates.

"Medical equipment can be expensive, especially as providers deal with the ongoing repercussions of the pandemic and its impact on their resources," said Sean Kendall, Meridian of Michigan President and CEO. "By pairing vaccination efforts with medical equipment grants, we're not only helping the Family Health Center in Kalamazoo protect their communities and loved ones from COVID-19, we're helping them invest in efficiency and new equipment for their facilities to continue providing quality healthcare to every individual who walks through their doors."

The health center said that community events were a staple of its testing and vaccination strategy from the beginning of the pandemic.

"We knew that several testing and vaccination sites were opening around Kalamazoo that required people to find a way to get to their location, and we knew FHC would play a major role in getting testing and vaccinations to those who had limited mobility, didn't have transportation, or only have a short window of time they could fit it in their busy days," said Alison Nuismer, Director of Marketing and Fund Development at the center. "We knew we had to go to the people at the neighborhood level."

Through a partnership with Bronson Health, the center said it was able to get out into the community quickly after the vaccinations were released.

FHC and Bronson Health held weekly neighborhood events to help vaccinate more than 500 individuals at each event. As the events continued, they saw a need to create more access and education on vaccine awareness in the Latinx and Black communities. In response, they partnered with El Concilio, a nonprofit organization that serves the Latino community in the greater Kalamazoo area, to host a community conversation with Latinx community leaders encouraging community members to get vaccinated.

FHC also partnered with Kalamazoo Public Schools and Mothers of Hope to bring vaccine events to places where people felt the most comfortable. From familiar spaces like schools or apartment complexes to local BBQs and community events where they gave away groceries and everyday essentials like laundry detergent, this team went above and beyond to think creatively on how to reach as many people as possible.

About Meridian

Meridian in Michigan provides government-sponsored managed care services to families, children, seniors, and individuals with complex medical needs primarily through Medicaid (MeridianHealth), Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Wellcare), Medicare-Medicaid Plans (MeridianComplete), and the Health Insurance Marketplace (Ambetter from Meridian). Meridian is a wholly owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation, a leading healthcare enterprise committed to helping people live healthier lives. For more information about Meridian, please visit mimeridian.com.

About FHC

Family Health Center is a non-profit 501(c)(3) Federally Qualified Health Center serving the citizens of Kalamazoo County. FHC provides quality health care to some 50,000 historically underserved patients, ensuring that all people who enter our facilities are treated with dignity, respect, and a welcoming spirit. FHC's goal is to create a "medical home" for families, children & adults who seek answers to their health care needs.

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SOURCE Meridian of Michigan

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