Grant to help rural primary care

MARQUETTE — Upper Peninsula Health Care Solutions was recently awarded a $600,000 competitive grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to integrate behavioral health services into rural primary care settings across the Upper Peninsula.

HRSA awarded roughly $6.3 million in Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement Program grants designed to support rural primary care providers in improving patient health outcomes, as well as the quality and delivery of rural health care services in the primary care setting.

The funding will support UPHCS’s UPlift Collaborative Care Program, which aims to address an ongoing health concern in the rural region — adult behavioral health access — with an innovative approach.

The UPHCS project team will work with two primary health care delivery partners to support implementation of an integrated behavioral health strategy. Those partners are Gibson Family Health Clinic in Newberry and Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital Rural Health Clinic in Manistique, both of which are federally designated Rural Health Clinics.

Using case-based learning via telehealth and investment in specialized training and certification, the project will support behavioral health co-location efforts, and further enhance patient behavioral and physical health outcomes in these rural communities.

“A whole-person health care approach — one that treats physical and mental health equally — is progressive, and will ultimately improve patient outcomes,” said Melissa Holmquist, UPHCS executive director. “This funding greatly improves our ability to support a coordinated approach to health care delivery, which will strengthen our system and make a positive impact on the lives of individuals living in our rural communities across the Upper Peninsula.”

The grant funding will support this program for three years. A full list of Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement Program grant awardees can be viewed at https://www.hrsa.gov/rural-health/community/small-health-care-provider-quality-improvement-awards.