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Emergencies: Dial 911  •  Health Project Mainline: 231.672.3201  •  Health Project Toll-Free: 1.866.671.4819

CHIR Introduces and Promotes a New MI Bridges Website

The CHIR, the Community Health Innovation Region, is a broad partnership of community organizations, local government agencies, business entities, health care providers, investors, and community members coming together to make a collective impact on the way health care is delivered and received. The goal of this collaborative effort is to improve access to and provisions of health care in our community, ultimately improving the quality of life for all who live here. Using a data driven process, representatives from partnering organizations identify community needs, make decisions, and implement strategies to improve outcomes. Points of focus are physical wellness, behavioral wellness, education, employment, food, housing, environment, and transportation. For more information on the CHIR, please visit www.chirmuskegon.com .

The CHIR works to create and support linkages between its partners, always with a focus to break down barriers in accessing community resources in Michigan. One such innovation is the promotion and implementation of the MI Bridges initiative, developed as a partnership with MDHHS and found through the new MI Bridges website.

The CHIR collaborated with Community Health Workers at the Health Project to bring physician and provider offices information about the MI Bridge card and the new MI Bridges website. The purpose of the MI Bridge card outlines the process of applying for state benefits, and the MI Bridges website offers additional resources to assist patients in receiving equal health care services.

According to Emma Johnston, a Community Health Worker at the Health Project “The card can walk a client through a step by step process on how to utilize the MI Bridges website. Clients can now apply for benefits, and check the status of their case, without needing to talk to their caseworker. This gives the client more independence and real-time updates on their case. The website also gives the client many resources and information at their fingertips.”

The card also offers resource information and a phone number that a patient can call to speak directly to a HUB Pathways Referral Specialist. If a patient or client needs assistance with accessing the MI Bridges information, they may contact the Health Project and meet with a Community Health Worker to assist them with their account information and applying for benefits. The CHIR hopes that the individual will find other additional resources he or she did not know were available before. This will expose other community partners to local agencies for further collaboration, and in the long term, addressing the social determents of health by breaking down barriers in receiving equal health care services.

On January 1, 2019, the MI Bridges website was updated with current community resources and information due to the partnership with 2-1-1. The website creates a virtual and online source to access 2-1-1 and links sources closest to the client. 2-1-1 is a nationwide service connecting over 14 million people to services every year. Previously, a client would search for local resources through a local 2-1-1 provider, or call 2-1-1. Now, due of the innovative partnership, new and available resources are updated on the MI Bridges website, which may be accessed by phone, computer, etc.

Shonie Blake, a Community Health Worker at the Health Project, notices the positive changes the website will have on clients who apply for benefits. “Caseworkers are going to be relying more on clients to upload their documentation to the MI Bridges account, which means the information will be more accessible to the client and to their caseworkers. Previously, a client would be assigned to one caseworker from DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services). Now, the 360 System will allow multiple caseworkers access to the same case. The updated MI Account System will allow clients to view all of their documentation, receive real-time letters on their case, and have overall improved communication with their caseworkers. Previously, clients would feel disconnected on communication from DHHS. Sometimes it would take weeks to receive letters in the mail or to hear back from their caseworker. Now, all documentation may be accessed online, at the client’s own convenience.”

The CHIR team is urging offices to distribute and promote the Bridge card to every patient due to the unlimited resources patients may benefit from the MI Bridges website. Cards are also available in Spanish. Please contact Michael Ramsey at Michael.ramsey@mercyhealth.com for more information, or to have the free MI Bridges cards delivered to offices.

Health Project Community Health Workers are here to help create accounts, upload documents, and to answer any questions patients may have about their case. For questions, please call 231-672-3201 or visit us at www.mchp.org .

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