Michigan Expands Access to Healthcare: Transforming COVID-19 Testing Sites into Neighborhood Wellness Centers

Free Preventative Health Care Services Available at 22 Local Neighborhood Wellness Clinics

In an effort to address health disparities and improve access to healthcare, the State Health Department in Michigan has announced the transformation of 22 COVID-19 neighborhood testing sites into neighborhood wellness centers. These centers now provide free preventive health care services and substance use disorder prevention services in marginalized communities that are at higher risk for adverse health outcomes. Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II visited one of the eight wellness centers in Detroit, emphasizing the importance of these centers in eliminating barriers and addressing racial health disparities in the community.

The wellness centers, originally established as COVID-19 testing sites in 2020, have expanded their services to include blood pressure screenings, diabetes screenings, cholesterol screenings, substance use disorder services, flu testing, crisis support during disaster responses, and serving as warming and cooling centers. The centers are funded by $17 million from the 2024 state budget. A full list of neighborhood wellness center locations can be found on the State Health Department’s website.

Gilchrist expressed pride in the efforts to address racial health disparities and expand access to affordable health care throughout the state. He highlighted the importance of the 22 Neighborhood Wellness Centers in connecting residents to screenings, treatment, and other health services. State Health Department Director Elizabeth Hertel and former director of the Governor’s Coronavirus Racial Disparities Task Force, Tommy Stallworth also joined Gilchrist at the wellness center in Detroit to show their support for the initiative.

Hertel emphasized the effectiveness of the neighborhood sites in reducing disparities and meeting the needs of communities facing higher health risks. These centers now serve as trusted entities offering essential health and wellness services to those most in need. The transformation of COVID-19 testing sites into neighborhood wellness centers is a reflection of Michigan’s ongoing commitment to expanding healthcare access and supporting individuals and families in

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