In 1995, Mount Clemens Regional Medical Center acquired a 40-foot vehicle designed to transport medical staff and equipment to at-risk individuals in order to deliver preventive and primary medical care at no charge to the medically underserved residents of Macomb County.
The MCG Medical Outreach Clinic (MOC), is a doctor's office on wheels with two exam rooms, a reception and charting area, restroom, and counseling area. The MOC serves people with urgent or chronic illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, upper respiratory infections, influenza, and a variety of family medicine related issues.
The MOC serves as a training site for the McLaren Macomb Family Practice Resident training program.
Physicians on the MOC provide initial consultation, necessary medications, and follow up care. If a patient's needs can not be met by the MOC, they are referred to one of the hospital's resident clinics (orthopedics, surgery, and OB/GYN) or another physician affiliated with the hospital.
Three days per week, the MOC transports its staff of two resident physicians, one attending physician, one medical assistant, a project manager and a driver, to the Macomb County Health Department's Minority Health Coalition sites.
In addition, staff from the MOC have partnered with two Catholic parishes that have a long-standing commitment to the migrant community. The churches have served as a referral source and secured bilingual volunteers to act as interpreters for the Spanish-speaking clients.
Who we serve and how
In Macomb County, there are approximately 60,000 to 100,000 uninsured people. Approximately 11 percent are under the age 18. Almost 40,000 fall below the federally-designated poverty level, with one in fourteen children living in poverty. In addition, more than 4,000 people are homeless.
For both the working poor and the indigent, lack of transportation and inadequate health insurance present major barriers to accessing proper care. The high prevalence of health risk factors and chronic disease that plaque the county and state are magnified within this population due to a number of factors including the inability to afford medications and difficult living conditions.
As a result, the MOC provides medical care to the homeless, low income working uninsured, migrant workers, children, and the elderly. These patients are not charged for any service we provide.
When testing is needed, the patients are sent to Mount Clemens Regional Medical Center, where they are screened to make sure they meet the poverty guidelines and that they do not have health insurance. If they meet the guidelines (185 percent of poverty level), they are not charged for any testing that is performed.
If a serious health crisis is diagnosed, the MOC staff works with surgeons and other specialists, who often donate their services to help the patient.
Since 1995, nearly 15,000 patients have been helped by the MOC services. This averages to approximately 1700 patients per year. In that time, the hospital has given nearly $490,000 in free pharmaceuticals to these same patients.
Costs, community involvement, and fundraising efforts
The following organizations continue to collaborate to keep the MOC "on the road."
- Macomb County Health Department
- Downriver Community Services
- The Minority Health Initiative
- Macomb Intermediate School District
- Macomb Emergency Shelter Coalition
The Kiwanis Division III and the Macomb County Dental Society also have participated.
Beyond planning for service delivery, a key factor in keeping the MOC operational is cost. The Kiwanis' initial $25,000 pledge, along with the MCG Foundation's donation of more than $150,000 (resulting in the vehicle purchase), helped to begin the project.
In addition, the MCG Foundation committed to raise $500,000 to cover operation expenses for the first five years of service. Currently, the MOC operates with an annual budget of $185,000. Since 1995, major donors have included:
- Bank One
- Community Central Bank Corp
- Earl Beth Foundation
- Fifth Third Bank
- Ford Motor Company Fund
- Gebran & Suzanne P. Anton Foundation
The Medical Outreach Clinic is a truly a team project.
- The family medicine residents, surgery residents, and orthopedic residents help to deliver services to those needing follow up care in the hospital's resident clinic.
- McLaren Macomb generous donates many X-rays, CT scans, and lab work.
- The office manager of MCG Multispecialties and the McLaren Macomb credit manager work closely with any MOC patient that requires surgery or extended care to find any funding available to cover the patients medical costs. If no funding is available, all services are donated.
- The pharmacy director helps to advise on generic drugs, which cut pharmacy costs.
- Judge Michael Schwartz, a hospital board member, set up a mammography fund for women under 40 needed mammography services to diagnose a problem.
McLaren Macomb is proud of its commitment to the community and honored to serve so many residents in times of need.