MARQUETTE — All Michigan families eligible for food assistance benefits will receive at least an additional $95 payment this month to help reduce the cost of groceries, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Monday.
The additional aid will help more than 1.3 million residents in more than 700,000 households, the governor’s office said.
“Michigan residents will get extra help putting food on the table in March as we continue to grow our economy,” Whitmer said in a statement. “This relief ensures families can thrive and helps us build on our economic momentum. We will continue to work with our federal partners to get things done by cutting spending on food and putting money in people’s pockets through our proposals to cut retirement taxes, triple the tax on earned income and to reduce the cost of gasoline. ”
In April 2020, some Michigan residents began receiving supplemental food assistance under this program, the governor’s office reported. Last May, all eligible households began to receive additional monthly benefits. Federal approval, the governor’s office pointed out, is needed every month.
Eligible customers will see additional food assistance benefits on their Bridge card by Monday. These benefits will be loaded onto the Bridge cards as a separate payment from the assistance that was provided earlier in the month.
All households eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program will receive an increase of at least $95 per month, even if they are already receiving the maximum payment or are close to that amount, the governor’s office said. Households that received more than $95 to reach the maximum payment for their party size will continue to receive that higher amount.
Here are the maximum benefits allowed for SNAP customers based on their respective household size: one person, $250; two people, $459; three people, $658; four people, $835; five people, $992; six people, $1,190; seven people, $1,316; and eight people, $1,504.
The federal government is providing additional funding to states for food assistance under House Resolution 6201, the Families-First Coronavirus Response Act.
The governor’s office said eligible families do not need to reapply to receive the additional benefits. People receiving food assistance can check their benefit balance on their Michigan Bridge Card by going online to www.michigan.gov/MIBridges or by calling a customer service representative toll-free at 888-678-8914 . They can ask about additional benefits by calling or emailing their case worker.
Shortage of doctors reported
Additional state investments are needed to end Michigan’s growing doctor shortage to ensure all residents have access to comprehensive and affordable primary health care where they live, officials said Monday. from the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians.
“Studies show that people who visit their GP for care tend to live longer and are healthier,” Srikar Reddy, chairman and family physician of Ascension Medical Group in southern Lyon state, said in a statement. “We need help addressing the growing shortage of family physicians to protect the health of Michigan residents, prevent significant increases in health care costs, and ensure patients can access health care. their local doctors.”
During Michigan Family Medicine Week, which runs through Saturday, family physicians, family physicians-in-training, and medical educators come together to highlight the need to address the growing shortage of physicians in primary care before it escalates, MAFP said.
Only 33% of Michigan’s health care workforce is made up of primary care physicians, including family physicians, which is below what is recommended for the best health outcomes, officials said.
Michigan already has fewer primary care doctors in the workforce than recommended and it will only get worse, Jennifer R. Aloff of Midland Family Physicians said in a statement.
“If we don’t address this shortage now, health outcomes across the state will worsen and we will inevitably end up with a real primary care crisis,” Alof said.
The group also hopes to make access to care more equitable across the state by increasing the number of doctors in underserved areas of the state.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, there are 269 health professional shortage areas in Michigan where there are no or too few primary care physicians.
It is estimated that there will be a shortage of 860 primary care physicians in Michigan by 2030. This means that Michigan will need a 12% increase in its current primary care workforce to maintain current primary care utilization rates.
“More state investment in primary care would help us attract more new physicians to the field and focus on improving access to health care in underserved areas of Michigan,” said Michael C. Bishop, director of the family medicine residency program at Mercy Health Grand Rapids, in a statement. “Investing in programs that address the shortage will benefit future primary care physicians, communities where local care is currently scarce, and patients across the state.”
The shortage of primary care doctors has been caused by many factors, including overall population growth, a growing aging population and the large number of doctors in the workforce nearing retirement, MAFP officials said. Officials have estimated that two in five working doctors will be 65 or older in the next 10 years. Additionally, some physicians choose to leave patient care before retirement age due to burnout.
The MAFF called on heads of state to invest an additional $31.4 million in two areas:
≤ Expand the MIDOCS Resident Physician Program, a publicly funded program established to expand postgraduate medical training residency positions in primary care specialties while recruiting and retaining physicians in underserved areas of the Michigan.
≤ Expand the Michigan State Loan Repayment Program, which helps employers recruit and retain primary care physicians and helps reduce their medical training debt in exchange for practicing in an area of the state faced with a shortage of health professionals. Currently, only 40% of program applicants receive awards, showing that there is demand for program expansion.
The MAFF said it applauds Whitmer’s inclusion of this element in his budget recommendations for fiscal year 2023, which not only calls for continued funding for the program, but would expand it to behavioral health professionals.
“Expanding MIDOCS and Michigan’s state loan repayment program would go a long way to addressing the growing shortage of primary care physicians we face,” said David Lick, program director, vice president of education and professor in the department of family medicine at William Beaumont School of Medicine at Oakland University, in a statement. “As we celebrate Family Medicine Week, we call on our state leaders to invest in the medical specialty that everyone needs throughout their lives, that has been shown to maintain healthy people and effectively manages chronic disease and helps prevent more costly care.
NMU updates numbers
Northern Michigan University’s COVID reporting dashboard, found at https://nmu.edu/safe-on-campus/dashboard, indicated that as of Monday, there were two active cases of COVID-19 .
So far, there have been 249 cases in the winter semester. The on-campus vaccination rate is 77.7%, the NMU reported.
The total number of fall semester cases was 137.
Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. His email address is [email protected]