LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA) recently presented Sen. John Proos with the organization’s Champion for the Medically Underserved Award.
The award, given annually during the MPCA’s Legislative Forum, recognizes leaders for their work in promoting and protecting affordable, quality health care for medically underserved populations in Michigan.
“It is truly an honor to receive this award from the Michigan Primary Care Association, which is doing so much to help increase access to comprehensive and affordable health care,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “I am proud of the bipartisan criminal justice reforms that we enacted last year. At the heart of the reforms was a refocus on meaningful rehabilitation. As rehabilitated offenders re-enter society, it benefits everyone to ensure that they are able to get coverage for medical care instead of using costly ER services.”
Recidivism is one of the primary drivers of increased expenses for the state as it relates to the criminal-justice-involved population. Research suggests that when returning residents have access to health care and social support services, they may be less likely to reoffend. Proos worked in conjunction with the MPCA to fund a pilot program to address these complicated issues and help returning residents get and stay healthy.
“The justice-involved population is so often overlooked when it comes to access to health care and social services,” said MPCA CEO Loretta V. Bush. “Senator Proos’ willingness to tackle recidivism by funding increased access to care through community partnerships is a step in the right direction.”
The pilot program, called Connection to Care, involves facilitated handoffs from the Michigan Department of Corrections to the MPCA to ensure returning residents are connected to MyCare, a community health center, within seven days of release. At the health center, returning residents have access to medical, dental, behavioral and substance-use disorder services, as well as a health coach.