The Alcona Health Center has a number of locations in northern Michigan. It is a non-profit organization that provides medical care to all residents regardless of their ability to pay. Their services include sports physicals, prescriptions, immunizations, and counseling services. They also offer income-based sliding fee plans for those who cannot afford to pay full price. A recent article in the Alpena News-Times described the Center’s mission, goals, and accomplishments.
Besides their many locations, the Health Center is federally-qualified, and is considered a “Patient Centered Medical Home” by the Department of Health and Human Services. In addition to providing high quality medical services, they also provide pharmacy, dental, and mental health services. Located at 201 US Highway 23 North in Alpena, the facility offers eight labor and delivery rooms and 44 medical/surgical/telemetry beds.
The center is part of MidMichigan Health, a nonprofit organization that strives to offer the best quality care and to continuously improve the patient experience. For the past several years, they have been part of the Healthcare Management System (HMS). This program is designed to improve healthcare through a comprehensive, integrated, and collaborative approach. Since 2011, they have also participated in the Michigan Health Quality Award Program, which is based on a series of benchmarks for health information management, clinical quality measures, and patient satisfaction.
In September 2011, they launched the Wildcat Clinic inside Lincoln Elementary School. This clinic is designed to provide health care to children and adolescents ages 5 to 21. According to the site’s executive director, Sarah Stevens, this “Wildcat” was the result of a three-year partnership with Alpena Public Schools. Once renovations are complete, they plan to move the clinic to G House.
Other notable features of the new clinic are the fact that it is state-of-the-art, has a staff of certified nurses and physicians, and is a federally-qualified “Patient Centered Medical Home”. Some residents are sceptical that the center is capable of meeting the needs of its community, particularly those who lack health insurance. Several are hesitant to allow the center to use school buildings, pointing to the fact that parents are not in the driver’s seat when it comes to their child’s healthcare.
The Center’s leadership team has been quick to point out that the most important function of their new clinic is to increase access to quality healthcare in the community. The organization is in the midst of recruiting a healthcare provider to serve as a support team, and will soon begin hiring the next wave of health-care professionals to help ensure that the center’s services are as effective as they can be.