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First Primary Care Partners of Michigan Regional Forum Focuses on Connecting the Community to Care

Primary Care Partners of Michigan (PCPMi) held their first regional forum for the Mid-Michigan region on November 21, 2019 in East Lansing. Participants enjoyed a special presentation titled Connecting the Community to Care: Lessons Learned in the Jackson SIM Demonstration. Presenters included Mike Klinkman, Jackson Health Network, Ken Toll, United Way of Jackson County, Melissa Ladd-Patnode, Central Michigan 2-1-1 and Karen Lorenz, Region 2 Area on Aging.

In 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded the State of Michigan $70 million over 4 years to test and implement a State Innovation Model (SIM) focused on the development and testing of multi-payer health care payment and service delivery models in order to achieve better care coordination, lower costs, and improved health outcomes for Michiganders.

The state organized the work of implementing the SIM initiative into three main categories: Population Health, Care Delivery, and Technology. The Population Health category is made up of community health innovation regions, or CHIRs (pronounced “shires”), which work to improve population health through building community capacity. Jackson was one of five CHIRs in the state.

A Community Health Innovation Region (CHIR) is a unique model for improving the wellbeing of a region and reducing unnecessary medical costs through collaboration and systems change. The Jackson CHIR– comprised of a broad group of stakeholders — identified and addressed factors affecting residents’ health, such as housing, transportation, and food insecurity, as well as access to high-quality medical care.

Jackson, like all CHIRs, focused on reducing emergency department utilization while also assessing community needs and identifying region-specific health improvement goals. One strong message from the presentation was that it takes a comprehensive group of committed organizations to engage in the project and meet the needs of a community. Buy-in and commitment to the mission are needed from everyone in the community.

The second part of the PCPMi meeting was dedicated to a roundtable discussion of major issues in primary care. Participants shared thoughts on various things they consider to be current challenges including reducing burnout by introducing primary care workers to community resources, encouraging students to choose primary care as a career path, the effect of siloed community organizations vs. working as a community team to improve population health – how can we break this down?

If you have ideas for upcoming regional forum speakers or topics, please share them with us here. Be sure to sign up to receive information about upcoming regional forums at



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