The Flint health system is trying something different to help its community in crisis: It is opening a “family” of services to help families who are dealing with the Flint water crisis.
The program will offer free medical screenings and free dental care, as well as financial support to help pay for medical expenses.
“The goal is to help people stay healthy, but at the same time we want to help make sure people are comfortable and feel comfortable,” said Flint health official Scott Williams.
Flint has been under water contamination since lead contamination began in 2014.
A year later, lead levels in the city’s water have risen to dangerous levels, leading to high levels of Legionnaires’ disease and Legionnaires disease-related deaths.
The crisis has brought a sharp spike in deaths, and the city is now facing a $1.4 billion emergency funding request from the state.
This is the second time Flint has tried to open a family program.
In the spring of 2018, the city opened a program to help residents with chronic health issues like asthma and cancer.
More: Flint has opened a family wellness program for families with a financial need.
Williams said Flint Health has been working with other health systems around the state to figure out how to implement the program.
When it opens, Flint will offer a free health screening, and it will also offer dental and physical therapy.
Family members can also sign up for other health services like dental care and prescriptions, which will be available at the community pharmacy, the health department said.
Flint’s health department is working with the city to set up the new family program, which Williams said should be operational by September.
It is not clear yet how many families will be eligible for the program, but the health departments goal is that the program will cover 40 to 50 percent of the citys population.
There is a one-year waiting period for families who apply, Williams said.
If the city does not have enough referrals to meet the initial target of 100 families, Williams would not say how many.
The goal of the program is to provide a level of support and comfort that will be a real benefit for the Flint families and communities in the coming months,” Williams said, adding that the health system would continue to offer free dental services to residents.
Florence has been in crisis since the Flint River began flowing lead into the city.
Water contaminated by lead leached into homes, causing Legionnaires.
In March, Flint began a lead testing program that tested residents’ blood for elevated lead levels, which the city then used to estimate how much lead was in the water.