Greater Flint Health Coalition Names Kirk Smith President & CEO

Kirk D. Smith has been appointed President & CEO of the Greater Flint Health Coalition (GFHC) by its Board of Directors. Mr. Smith’s selection was announced today by Michigan State Senator Deborah Cherry, Chair of the GFHC’s Board of Directors. Mr. Smith has served as Interim Chief Executive Officer of the GFHC since January, 2010.

“Over the past six months while Kirk has served as Interim CEO, the Greater Flint Health Coalition Board has thoroughly evaluated his capabilities and leadership skills,” said Senator Cherry. “During that time, he has demonstrated significant knowledge of the issues facing the community relative to our citizen’s health status and our health care system’s challenges as it seeks to provide quality and cost effective care at the local level. Combined with his spirit and vision for getting diverse healthcare and community partners to work together, the Board is pleased to have Kirk as our President & CEO.”

Prior to being named Interim CEO of the Greater Flint Health Coalition in January, Mr. Smith served as its Vice President & Chief Operating Officer with a broad range of executive and programmatic responsibilities since joining the organization in 2005.

“I greatly appreciate the Board’s appointment of me as the Greater Flint Health Coalition’s President & CEO,” Smith said. “The Health Coalition is a unique organization not just in Michigan, but nationally, and it is a true honor to work alongside such a dynamic group of community leaders. As Genesee County and the State as a whole encounter some of our most challenging times, the collaborative efforts of our local healthcare providers, insurers, government, employers, community organizations, and citizens through the Health Coalition have the opportunity to make a number of positive, necessary changes to help our community become healthier.”

Smith, 31, is a native of Flint, Michigan. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from The University of Michigan and master’s degree in Health Service Administration from The University of Michigan School of Public Health. He and his wife, Stephanie, reside in Fenton with their son.

The Greater Flint Health Coalition is a 501(c)3 designated non-profit healthcare coalition whose two-fold mission is to improve the health status of Genesee County residents and to improve the quality and cost effectiveness of the health care delivery system in the community. Established in 1996, the GFHC is a community / institutional partnership and multifaceted collaboration, with a Board membership that is a broad reflection of the community’s leadership – including hospitals, physicians, government, public health, labor, business, insurers, education, consumers, and the faith-based community.

The Coalition’s vision is a healthy Genesee County community practicing healthy lifestyles with access to the best and most cost effective health and medical care. Since its formation, the GFHC has become a neutral table in which cutting-edge, collaborative initiatives related to health care access, quality, cost, and health improvement can be addressed to improve the community’s health status.

Community Foundation of Greater Flint Awards GFHC $45,000 for Diabetes Group Visit Project

The Arthur L. Tuuri Health Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint has awarded the Greater Flint Health Coalition’s (GFHC) Diabetes Group Visit Project with a $45,000 grant. The GFHC’s Diabetes Group Visit Project, which began in 2008, aims to reduce diabetes morbidity and improve quality of life for diabetic patients in Genesee County through the implementation of diabetes group visits, an innovative clinical care model which has demonstrated effectiveness with improved patient outcomes, improved patient and physician satisfaction, and reduced healthcare costs.

Diabetes group visits are a shared medical appointment that allows one physician to engage approximately seven to ten patients in a two hour session, providing each patient extended time with the physician and facilitating group discussion around improving patient management of diabetes. Discussion topics include healthy behaviors, diet and nutrition, exercise, medication, and foot care as each patient shares “best practices” in addressing with various aspects of diabetes care and management. Specialists such as diabetes educators, nutritionists, and behaviorists are also engaged in each group visit.

“The potential for diabetes group visits to improve patient self-management of diabetes is truly remarkable,” said Paul Dake, M.D., Chair of the GFHC Diabetes Group Visit Project Workgroup and Site Director, McLaren Family Practice Residency Program. “This improvement is especially relevant for poorly managed patients who do not respond well to traditional one-on-one care, so therefore physicians have additional time to deal with their most difficult patients through the group setting.”

To date, physicians from the McLaren Family Practice Residency Program, Hamilton Community Health Network, and multiple private practices have begun to develop implementation strategies to regularly hold diabetes group visits for their patients. This grant funding will continue to support the use of this innovative care delivery model by providing resources, tools, and knowledge transfer to aid the implementation of diabetes group visits for the benefit of local diabetic patients.

The GFHC’s Diabetes Group Visit Project Workgroup collaboratively guides the efforts of the project through representation from McLaren Regional Medical Center, Genesys Health System, Hurley Medical Center, the Genesee County Medical Society, Genesee Health Plan, HealthPlus of Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and the United Auto Workers. To learn more about physicians in the community offering the diabetes group visit model, please contact the GFHC.