More than 45 years ago, a grand experiment was launched in Detroit. Through a passion for helping others and seeing the need for quality health care within sectors of the city’s disadvantaged neighborhoods, we evolved into one of Michigan’s premier health service organizations – The Wellness Plan.
Our history dates back to 1969 when the Health Council of the Detroit Model Neighborhood began planning a health care initiative aimed at delivering health care to the city’s low-income areas. After a number of physicians agreed to participate, it was named the Model Neighborhood Comprehensive Health Care Program.
Today, our original vision, embodied in the slogan — “to live and be well” — continues as The Wellness Plan Medical Centers. Our original mission to provide access to affordable, high-quality healthcare to underserved communities across metro Detroit is as strong as ever.
The Wellness Plan was founded in 1973 as a Medicaid HMO. Over the years, TWP became the state’s largest Medicaid HMO with more than 152,000 members by the late 1990s.
The 2000s ushered in a period of change and transition as TWP grappled with financial issues. The Wellness Plan was placed under state supervision in 2003 a process called rehabilitation and later agreed to transfer insurance coverage of about 103,000 members to another insurer to guarantee their coverage as we continued to restructure.
Despite these challenges, there was a recognition among political and industry leaders that we remained uniquely positioned to continue to help fill the vast need for health care services in Detroit. In 2007, the Wellness Plan Medical Centers received a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike designation and began providing direct, primary care services at three medical centers in Detroit – a decision that provided a new life to our organization and a health care lifeline to thousands.
The new model was a success. The fundamentals of the FQHC model were aligned with our original, core values of providing health care to underserved communities. TWP emerged from state oversight on July 28, 2009. As a fully qualified FQHC, TWP is eligible for grants and enhanced federal Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement. We also are a Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) deemed facility, which means we are backed by the federal government.
TWP has grown steadily as a FQHC. Over the past decade, our revenue has more than doubled, annual patient encounters have climbed from 33,000 to more than 73,000 and the number of patients served annually has grown by more than 84%. Our growth has helped us qualify for additional funding which, in turn, helps us to expand our services and deliver health care to even more people.
TWP has added two locations in Pontiac and opened a sixth location at KEYS Grace Academy in June 2018. Today, we are a strong and growing network of six medical centers who prides itself in building meaningful and long-lasting relationships with our patients.
Our core value – Putting the Patient First – remains grounded in our original mission and historical roots. It’s no accident that “Wellness” is in our name. As we look towards the future, we are more committed than ever to building vibrant and healthy communities through our involvement locally as well as being advocates for those we care for at the local and state government levels and remain rooted in the values that have served us so well in the past.