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Published in Health Care

New Catherine’s Health Center CEO overseeing Kent County expansions

BY Tuesday, July 12, 2022 06:47pm

Megan Erskine is overseeing Catherine’s Health Center’s planned expansions in Kent County three months after settling in as CEO.

The nonprofit care provider plans to open a clinic in August on 36th Street in Wyoming where it already has a dental clinic. In December, the organization plans to open the Streams of Hope campus in Gaines Township that will include medical, behavioral and dental care. Both expansions were planned prior to Erskine’s spring appointment as CEO.

Megan Erskine. COURTESY PHOTO

Catherine’s Health Center served about 1,800 patients in 2021 and is on track to serve 4,000 in 2022, Erskine said. The center’s goal is to serve 19,000 patients annually within three years through the expansion of clinics and partnerships.

“There are still communities or areas of Kent County that are not being served completely and that’s where we need to go,” she said. “There are still specific populations that have unmet needs, specifically the homeless population and the refugee population.”

Catherine’s Health Center provides primary, behavioral health and dental care, as well as health promotion and disease prevention services to uninsured and underserved patients. In addition to the new clinics, Catherine’s Health Center plans to move into telehealth.

Backed with $200,000 in grant funding over two years from the Michigan Health Endowment, plus $42,000 from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, Catherine’s Health Center will open a telehealth suite at a Mel Trotter Ministries clinic to provide virtual psychiatry services. Erskine hopes additional “digital micro-suites” for telehealth can follow the Mel Trotter project.

“Being nimble, agile and small will allow us to do some really innovative work that doesn’t always require a brick-and-mortar buildout,” Erskine said.

Erskine joined Catherine’s Health Center on April 12 from Heartland Health Centers in Chicago, where she served as chief operating officer. A Grand Ledge native, she succeeded longtime CEO Karen Kaashoek, who retired after more than 20 years with Catherine’s Health Center. Heartland and Catherine’s are both federally qualified health centers.

Since arriving in Grand Rapids, Erskine has learned of the high value that the West Michigan market places on collaboration and partnerships. Erskine looks to partner further with organizations that already have the trust of their clients, she said.

In virtual psychiatry, “we’re leveraging the trust that Mel Trotter has with their clients, and … integrating with the pre-existing clinic and providing a service that’s really necessary for people,” Erskine said.

“It’s a really great model. If it goes well … it would be a really great model to spread to other service organizations,” she said. “It’s a low-cost, low-capital burden for us, especially as we’re growing and trying to be good stewards of our resources.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been corrected to say that Catherine’s Health Center was supported by a $42,000 grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, not Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

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Read 1490 times Last modified on Wednesday, 13 July 2022 13:37
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