As part of ongoing efforts to address health disparities among vulnerable communities and populations, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has made a significant contribution to a COVID-19 mobile testing program conducted by Wayne State University, the Wayne State University Physician Group and ACCESS. Blue Cross support will expand the program to include free testing for older adults and their caregivers.
The partnership officially launched today, with a one-day mobile testing site at Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit, providing up to 400 free COVID-19 swab tests to neighborhood residents. The church is located in the East Warren/Cadieux neighborhood, which Blue Cross is investing $5 million in through 2022, a pledge that will help inclusive neighborhood development through Detroit’s Strategic Neighborhood Fund and Affordable Housing Leverage Fund.
The funding from Blue Cross will cover testing supplies and operations costs for mobile units to test for COVID-19 at nursing homes, care facilities, churches and other sites throughout Detroit and the region.
“Expanding testing is a critical step to help our seniors and their caregivers stay safe and healthy. Bringing the mobile clinic to those in need, who otherwise may have barriers to receive the test, provides an extremely important health care delivery platform to some of our most vulnerable residents,” said Daniel J. Loepp, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Blue Cross is proud to help these innovative partner organizations expand their vital work on the front lines in communities. We’re grateful for their leadership and are honored to stand alongside them in this fight against COVID-19.”
COVID-19 has hit nursing homes particularly hard in Michigan, jeopardizing the lives of one of the nation’s most vulnerable populations. According to the state’s disease surveillance system, 35 percent of Wayne County COVID-19 deaths occurred among nursing home residents. The city of Detroit has confirmed COVID-19 cases in all of its nursing homes.
“Nursing home residents and their caregivers are among the most vulnerable populations in our battle to fight this virus,” said M. Roy Wilson, president of Wayne State University. “We need to do all we can to expand and expedite testing in these environments, with a goal to reduce and eventually eliminate the threat to these populations. We’re grateful to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for recognizing this crucial need for additional testing and moving quickly to meet it.”
The mobile testing initiative was launched April 13 with vehicles, drivers and equipment donated by Ford Motor Co. to test symptomatic first responders, health care workers and corrections officers in Michigan.
Testing is free and does not require a prescription from a physician. Each vehicle is capable of testing as many as 100 people a day, with results returned within 24 to 36 hours.
Agencies interested in hosting a mobile testing unit for a day can call 313-269-1952 or email Mseredynski@accesscommunity.org.
With the effects of COVID-19 still unfolding every day, Wayne State University is taking proactive steps to limit its impact. Wayne State has established the Warrior Relief and Response campaign to provide increased support to critical programs and services. Gifts in support of COVID-19 mobile testing will help increase access to much needed screening and testing within metropolitan Detroit communities. To make a gift, please visit: warriorfunder.wayne.edu/covidtesting.