Western Wayne Family Health Center debuts in Taylor

Western Wayne Family Health Center Taylor dedication marks important step in providing healthcare to underinsured and uninsured

Community leaders including U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and Taylor Mayor Cameron Priebe gathered the morning of July 27 to celebrate the official dedication of the Western Wayne Family Health Center Taylor -- just the second federally qualified healthcare center in Western Wayne County.

The new center is the result of a partnership between the Wayne County Health Department, Oakwood Healthcare, Community Care Services and the City of Taylor.

The facility is located adjacent to the Oakwood Taylor Teen Center in the Taylor Human Services Center at 26650 Eureka Road. The center will provide primary and obstetrical care, mental health services, dental and pharmaceutical services to uninsured, underinsured and all other residents of any age seeking healthcare.

Medicare, Medicaid and most other insurances will be accepted at the center. The expansion is the result of funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to create and expand access to comprehensive primary healthcare services across the country.

The first federally qualified healthcare center in Western Wayne County opened in 2007 in Inkster and has seen almost 13,000 people for primary medical care. The demand for services has grown steadily, making the time right for a second location.

As part of the federal stimulus package, the government has approved $1.3 million to support the operations of the Taylor center for two years, including capital expenses, medical equipment, technology and any other costs associated with the facility.

"The need is so tremendous all over the county. This facility will have an immediate effect on everyone in the community," said Pete Bergeron, president of the Western Wayne Family Health Center board of directors. "Our hope is for the center to become a pillar for the Taylor community."

Senator Stabenow was instrumental in bringing the center to the community. She acknowledged the efforts of those who worked to make this valuable resource a reality.

"Michigan's healthcare centers are a lifeline for families without health insurance," Senator Stabenow said. "I was proud to work with Oakwood Healthcare System and its community partners in leading the federal effort to obtain this critical funding, and I look forward to seeing the positive effects this facility will have for children and families in Taylor and the surrounding communities."

Research shows that 52 percent of the population living in the Western Wayne Family Health Center service area are either uninsured or rely on federal programs for coverage. More than 38 percent live below the federal poverty level.

"The Western Wayne Family Health Center Taylor will go a long way toward ensuring that individuals in this area have access to quality primary health care services," Mayor Priebe said. "This is an important form of delivering needed medical care to the uninsured and underinsured before their illness requires a trip to the emergency room."

Studies show these residents are also at high risk for a number of diseases and health problems, including cancer, coronary heart disease and low birth weight babies -- specialty services that can be addressed through the partnership with the Oakwood Healthcare System.

"Oakwood is proud to continue to partner with the Western Wayne Family Health Centers to provide necessary medical care to our neighbors," said Brian Connolly, president and CEO of Oakwood Healthcare, Inc. "The Western Wayne Family Health Centers are easily accessible and close to Oakwood Heritage and Oakwood Annapolis Hospitals should the need for more advanced medical intervention or specialty services arise. The Oakwood System has played a role with the creation and openings of these clinics and they are vital to the well-being of everyone in the community."

Another key component of the Western Wayne Family Health Centers is the continuum of care available for the entire family. Patients are not only treated for illnesses, but preventative health education is discussed as part of each consultation.

"A primary focus is to help people understand what they can do to help improve their lives with regard to health and nutrition," said Linda Atkins, CEO of the center.

Residents are charged for services based on a sliding scale taking income into consideration. Additionally, the center offers pharmacy services where eligible patients can receive prescription drugs at 60 percent below market rate thanks to a special program for low-cost pharmaceuticals.

"When everyone in the community comes together, remarkable things can happen and the new Western Wayne Family Health Center Taylor is a perfect example," Bergeron added. "Many future initiatives can result from this exiting collaborative spirit. The need continues to grow and I'm glad we can be there to help."

Photo coming soon.