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The Millage Advisory Committee approved additional funding for the Washtenaw Health Project. $165,000 in funding will allow the Washtenaw Health Project to continue and expand efforts to ensure mental health care is accessible to all, particularly those who face language and insurance barriers.
The Washtenaw Health Project is a local safety net healthcare program, which changed its name from the Washtenaw Health Plan in September 2023. This name change recognizes the evolution of the organization since the Affordable Care Act was implemented in 2014. Today, the organization still provides coverage to people who don’t qualify for any other insurance, but that is no longer the sole focus of the organization. The name change reflects that the organization provides holistic support for people to access healthcare and health promoting services. This includes helping people sign up for health insurance, make appointments with their doctors, access medication, address unpaid medical bills, and access other benefits, like SNAP.
“The mission of the Washtenaw Health Project is to help individuals access health care and health supportive services,” says Jeremy Lapedis, executive director of the Washtenaw Health Project. “Often in our course of helping people with health insurance access, we are able to identify other needs of our members, like mental health services.”
The Washtenaw Health Project requested millage funding in 2021 to help them achieve their mission.
In October, 2021 the Washtenaw Health Project began using millage funds to connect health plan members to mental health services and conduct outreach to Latinx youth communities.
Specifically, millage funds were used to:
The new funding will help the organization:
“The pandemic heighted people’s awareness of mental health and the importance that community members be healthy in body and mind,” Kelly Stupple, Washtenaw Health Project program manager, said to Millage Advisory Committee members.
“We try to reach into communities that tend to be neglected, more vulnerable, and have less access to care. We use a strength-based model to help the kids get healthier, and help their parents or guardians get access to services. It has a ripple effect that makes the whole community healthier and can reduce the likelihood that an individual interfaces with law enforcement”, explained Stupple.
The $165,000 mileage contribution will cover two years of programming, from October 2023 - October 2025.