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Pokagon Band of Potawatomi opens new health clinic to serve low-income Southwest Michigan residents COURTESY PHOTO

Pokagon Band of Potawatomi opens new health clinic to serve low-income Southwest Michigan residents

BY Monday, April 26, 2021 04:38pm

BENTON TOWNSHIP — The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi opened a new medical clinic in Benton Township in Southwest Michigan.

The Mshkiki Community Clinic at 1986 Mall Place at Orchard’s Park Shopping Center offers primary medical and dental care for low-income individuals and people on Medicaid who reside in Benton Harbor or Benton Township. Open Monday through Friday, the clinic’s medical services include acute care, chronic disease management, immunizations, minor procedures, routine exams and well-child visits. The clinic also offers respiratory services such as care for potential COVID-19 or other respiratory infections, COVID-19 testing, and COVID-19 vaccinations.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March of 2020, it brought more attention to the health disparities in not only Native Americans but also in other minority groups as compared to the general population,” Priscilla Gatties, director of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi’s Department of Health Services, said in a statement. “Now more than ever, our communities need to have a choice of where they can access to the best and most effective healthcare, and Pokagon Health Services is pleased to be able provide an additional option to the residents of Benton Township, Benton Harbor and surrounding communities through the Mshkiki Community Clinic.” 

Since 1996, the tribe’s Department of Health Services has served citizens in Southwest Michigan and Northern Indiana at a health care facility on the Pokagon Band’s government campus in Dowagiac. The center currently serves more than 2,500 patients through an integrative care approach that includes medical, dental, pharmacy and behavioral health care.

According to the 2019 U.S. Census Bureau data, 46 percent of Benton Harbor’s 9,000 residents and 33 percent of Benton Township’s 14,000 residents would qualify for Medicaid and could receive services at the Mshkiki Community Clinic. In Michigan, adults that qualify for Medicaid include people who make $16,000 or less for an individual, or $33,000 or less for a family of four. 

Unlike other Medicaid participating clinics, tribal health centers do not collect copays from Medicaid patients.

“With close to 6,000 Pokagon Citizens and as one of the largest employers in the region, we are acutely aware of the wide range of healthcare needs that challenge our people and employees,” Matthew Wesaw, Tribal Council Chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, said in a statement. “We hope that the addition of the Mshkiki Clinic, will help better serve residents in the Benton Harbor area and those in need that choose to seek care at this location.”

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