Emerging Services Story: Brian

December 4, 2013 | Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit

Brian treats patients in a “Clinic Without Walls”

The statistics are staggering: 5–10% of all Jewish households in metropolitan Detroit are families without health insurance. Access to medical care by the uninsured has emerged as a critical need in our community. In response, Jewish Family Service (JFS) developed Project Chessed, a referral network that connects uninsured Jewish adults to health care resources through the donated services of local professionals and institutions.

Project Chessed provides services through a volunteer network comprised of eight hospital systems, two specialty centers and more than 600 individual medical professionals. This last fiscal year, Project Chessed served over 1,400 individuals with more than 3,000 prescription medications and 3,500 medical appointments in private doctors’ offices.

Thanks to this innovative program, the first of it’s kind in the United States, thousands of uninsured Jews in our community are receiving essential medical care. “These are patients who, without insurance, might otherwise die because they would wait too long to actively seek help,” says a gastroenterologist who provides care through the program. Another physician sums up the program this way: “The mission of Project Chessed is quite simple. We have doctors who are able to provide the service, and patients who need the service, and they’re just connecting the two and making it happen. By doing that they’re providing an amazing resource to our community.”

As members of our community continue to feel the impact of the severe economic downturn, the number of uninsured Jewish Detroiters seeking access to medical care continues to rise. Project Chessed is there to provide this “clinic without walls” to a growing population of individuals in need.

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