Superior Health Foundation introduces Indigent Care Fund
Former Medical Care Access Coalition enters agreement with SHF to manage dollars remaining in fund
MARQUETTE — The Superior Health Foundation and the Medical Care Access Coalition have entered into an agreement whereas existing monies of approximately $1.2 million from the former Medical Care Access Coalition (MCAC) have been transferred to the SHF to create an Upper Peninsula-wide Indigent Care Fund.
MCAC Board President Dennis Smith said the board was tasked with the job of closing down the Medical Care Access Coalition that began in Marquette. In so doing, MCAC looked for an organization that could manage the assets in a prudent, growth-driven manner with the idea of establishing a fund in which non-profit, health-centered organizations across the Upper Peninsula could apply for funding to address indigent issues within their organizations.
“We did not have the accounting system to manage this kind of money on a long-term basis,” Smith explained. “We decided to approach the Superior Health Foundation to (1) see if this is something they would entertain, and (2) if so, go back to our board and set up parameters to see how we go about doing this. There have been many people who have put a lot of work and time into this. We didn’t want this to go away. Rather, we wanted it to be used in perpetuity going forward.”
Before the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid, avenues for uninsured patients to get quality care were scarce. The state provided money for the MCAC to help people.
The Superior Health Foundation, formed in September 2012 following the sale of then non-profit Marquette General to for-profit Duke LifePoint, has awarded nearly $1.7 million in grant funding in its short history.
SHF Executive Director Jim LaJoie said the Foundation Board of Directors and Grants Committee has, over the years, discussed an Indigent Care fund to help non-profits in the region. This, he said, is a perfect fit.
“Foremost, we are honored to be the recipient of these dollars from the MCAC,” LaJoie said. “Directors from the two boards have met a couple of times to iron out the parameters of the fund, which will be set up as an endowed fund in which investment earnings from the fund will be awarded annually to selected organizations.
“It’s terrific in so many ways. We believe this fund will help improve the health and well-being of many people in the Upper Peninsula, which speaks to our mission of assisting with unmet healthcare needs.”
Dr. Michael Coyne, president of the SHF Board of Directors, echoed those thoughts.
“We’ve talked about establishing an Indigent Care Fund and the need, in the Upper Peninsula, for such a fund,” Dr. Coyne said. “With these dollars, graciously awarded to us by MCAC, we’ll be able to provide much-needed funding to those organizations that truly need it. It’s great.”
The purpose of the newly created Indigent Care Fund through the Superior Heath Foundation is to meet the otherwise unmet medical needs of indigent residents of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Individual grants will not be made from the fund.
Rather, grants will be limited to tax-exempt and government organizations that provide or arrange for medical or health care services to residents of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula whose adjusted gross income is less than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.