Gwinn Family Health Center unveiling new expanded facility

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GWINN, Mich. (WLUC) - One of the nine Upper Great Lakes Family Health Centers' locations is now bigger and better.

The Gwinn Family Health Center provides health care to families, and underwent a two-year face lift.

"We were able to move our lab drying facility to the front part of the building, so our patients don't have to walk down the hall as far as they had to before. We were also able to add an injection room which helps the work flow for nurses, that's not tying up an exam room and patients can go into there and get their immunotherapy shots or their vaccines. We are able to have a more private ambulance entrance so that if we have to call an ambulance for something we don't have to have the ambulance crew going through the waiting room and back out with the patient, it's more of a private entrance. It's a straight shot into the clinic," explains Marge Haralson, Practice Manager of Gwinn Family Health Center.

The $1 million expansion project took about two years to complete from start to finish, adding an additional 2,500 sq. ft., including five additional exam rooms, a conference room, and an upgraded kitchen.

"The building was like 30 years old so it was just nice to do a bigger waiting room, just do some upgrades, face lift, kind of modernize everything. I think our patients really appreciate that," Haralson says.

The family of health centers serves about 25,000 patients throughout the U.P., and Gwinn believes the new expansion will allow for an additional 1,000 patients.

"What makes our health center unique at this point really is we are trying to serve patients as a whole. We provide medical, dental and behavioral health services at some of our locations. We have people who are dedicated to a care team and actually removing barriers to care. And we provide services through a sliding fee scale to those who qualify, so it's not just based on if you have insurance, it'll be any kind of insurance, a majority of the insurances are accepted as well as having that sliding fee scale that's based on your income and what you can afford to pay," says Elise Bur, Administrative Director of Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center.

"With this expansion, I believe this clinic is going to be here for a long time to continue to serve patients with good quality medical care," says Dr. Catherine Kroll, a physician doctor at Gwinn Family Health Center.

Gwinn Family Health Center also recently learned the facility has been approved to start providing x-ray services as well.

"What we've also learned within the last week, we have been approved for a grant through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan Foundation as well as Superior Health Foundation, and they have given us the grant so that we can start providing x-ray services at our location out here. So we're going to be undergoing some construction over the next year probably, to make sure that room is in shape for x-ray and then that will be a new service line that we're able to add to this community," Bur says.

To show off all the new improvements, the Gwinn Family Health Center is having an open house for the community Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be food, refreshments, and staff will be providing tours. The center is located at 135 E. M-35 in Gwinn.

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