By: Rick Marschall And Samana Sheikh
The Flint Water Crisis might technically be over, but only by the strict metrics of tap-water quality. Test results often are better than comparable cities throughout Michigan. However, the devastating effects – many forms of emotional as well as health-related trauma – still impact local residents. The legislature, health professionals, and outside parties are working to combat any residual health risks and, most importantly, be of assistance in myriad ways for the local Michigan community that continues to suffer.
On April 6, 2018, the state announced the end of the free bottled water program in Flint, citing the restoration of water quality. The source of the lead poisoning had been corroded pipes that water traveled through on its way into homes. Citizens of Flint have been impacted first-hand. Loved ones and families still remain damaged and seeking proper edical treatment from the contamination.
Genesee Health System (GHS) has developed platforms with proper and innovative esources. Its multidisciplinary team understands the risks of lead in the human body and is eady to help the affected citizens of Flint.
The services they offer connects individuals with GHS and community resources including medical care for families, lead testing and risk assessments, educational programs, benefit enrollment, food and nutrition support, transportation assistance, childcare, personal and family resistance coaching, and mental health care.
Genesee Health System has created a support system to offer safe, free and confidential environments, to understand and advocate the proper care needed for each person’s separate mental health journey.
A number of programs at GHS are grant-funded and provide a wide array of services. Some grant funded programs provide services for individuals that might not qualify for a Specialty Program or qualify for Medicaid. Therefore these programs represent opportunities for these individuals to receive needed services. Other grant-funded programs assist with specific populations including veterans, residents of the City of Flint who were negatively impacted by the Flint Water Crisis, senior populations, and other provisions for community
Some of the grant programs, and brief descriptions, follow. This is not an all-inclusive list, and grant programs are subject to change. Please see the contacts at the end of the article to stay informed.
Mental Health Crisis Line: Mental health is just as important as a person’s physical well-being, and Genesee Health System has several resources to take care of anyone that has suffered trauma. Additionally, online services for families and victims are available to give comfort to overcome their trauma, anxiety and tension from the water crisis. A mental health crisis line available 24/7 at 810.257.3740 or text FLINT to 741741.
Mental Health Mobile Unit: Community outreach staffed with therapists and a case manager; provides brief interventions, individual therapy, link and coordination to various services based on the need of the consumer. The Mental Health Mobile Unit is involved with a number of schools in the community where students participate in skill- acquisition groups on the Unit during throughout the year.
Lead Safe Homes Program: Community Health Workers who provide outreach and assist with the application process throughout the area to promote mental health services and assist with individuals who might qualify for various services, including the Lead Safe Homes Program. To qualify specifically for the Lead Safe Homes Program, residents must be eligible for Medicaid and have a child up to the age of 19 and/or a pregnant female living in the home. The homeowner may then receive free home repairs to home and outside property when risks for lead exposure are determined.
Family Navigators have several of roles. Each carries a caseload of families to assist them with identifying resources, linking and coordinating services, performing outreach, and providing support to families. Often the families are enrolled in other programs like the Neurodevelopmental Center of Excellence, Family Supports Coordination, and others. Navigators provide services in the home and community.
Family Supports Coordination: This enhanced Medicaid service raised the eligibility income guidelines to 400 percent above the poverty line, and increased the qualifying age to 21; and/or women who are pregnant. In addition to no spend-downs or co-pays, each beneficiary is entitled to Family Supports Coordination, which provides one assessment and five follow-up visits annually with a therapist. Family Navigators work closely with this program, coordinating with families alongside the therapist.
Neurodevelopmental Center of Excellence (NCE): Since 2014, GHS has provided Genesee County children with specialized assessment services for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). The NCE expands these services to offer children who have been impacted by the Flint Water Crisis comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations. The new assessment center houses ASD, FASD, and NCE related to lead exposure from Flint Water
Healthy Aging: Designed for individuals 55 years of age or older who might be having difficulty with health concerns, stress, emotional concerns, and challenging life changes. Services are free and open to all seniors, regardless of income.