Nimkee Memorial Wellness Center
ISABELLA INDIAN RESERVATION – Nimkee Memorial Wellness Center (NMWC), owned and operated by the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan, has achieved accreditation by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). Nimkee Memorial Wellness Center is located on the Isabella Indian Reservation, in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.
Accreditation distinguishes this Tribal community health clinic from many other facilities by providing the highest quality of care to its patients as determined by an independent, external process of evaluation.
Status as an accredited organization means NMWC has met nationally recognized standards for the provision of quality health care set by AAAHC. More than 5,000 ambulatory health care organizations across the United States are accredited by AAAHC. Of the 5,000 accredited organizations NMWC is one of just over one hundred organizations accredited by AAAHC in Indian Country. It should be noted that not all ambulatory health care organizations seek accreditation; and not all that undergo the rigorous on-site survey process are granted accreditation.
“We believe our patients deserve the best,” stated Frank Cloutier, spokesperson for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. “When you see our certificate of accreditation, you will know that AAAHC, an independent, not-for-profit organization, has closely examined our facility and procedures. It means we as an organization care enough about our patients to strive for the highest level of care possible.”
Ambulatory health care organizations seeking accreditation by AAAHC undergo an extensive self-assessment and on-site survey by AAAHC expert surveyors – physicians, nurses, and administrators who are actively involved in ambulatory health care. The survey is consultative and educational, presenting best practices to help an organization improve its care and services.
“Going through the process challenged us to find better ways to serve our patients, and it is a constant reminder that our responsibility is to strive to continuously improve the quality of care we provide to the people we serve,” said Assistant Health Administrator Diana Quigno-Grundahl.
In addition to the building wide AAAHC Accreditation, Nimkee Memorial Wellness Center was honored to also receive Accreditation as a Patient Centered Medical Home. In January 2014, NMWC became involved in the Indian Health Services, Patient Centered Medical Home “Improving Patient Care” National Initiative. “Participation in the IPC5 model of health care has assisted the Nimkee staff to deliver comprehensive care through innovative health care teams, improved coordination and continuity of care, enhanced access to care, and to provide health care that is patient/family centered, compassionate, and delivered in a culturally effective manner,” stated Margaret Steslicki, Medical Clinic Director for NMWC. “Through the IPC5 initiative Nimkee staff has adapted best practices and complies with nationally recognized standards of care. By becoming an accredited Patient Centered Medical Home, the Tribal community can be reassured that they will receive high quality of care when they receive services at NMWC.”
Quigno-Grundahl noted that NMWC is a comprehensive Tribal clinic offering ambulatory health services to Native American people of all ages including general medical clinic visits of various levels of care, health promotion and disease prevention, diabetes management, immunization clinics, women’s and men’s health clinics, maternal child health, elder care, optical services, dental services, wound care, nutritional support, pharmacy services and a fitness center. These services are available to Saginaw Chippewa Tribal members and their direct descendants living anywhere in the United States and to Native Americans from U.S. Federally recognized Tribes who live in the five county service area including Isabella, Clare, Midland, Missaukee, and Arenac Counties.
NMWC first offered services beginning in February of 1980 with one full time Family Nurse Practitioner, one 20 hour per week Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and one 20 hour per week receptionist. Medical services were provided to the tribal community out of a small office area in the Tribal Operations building currently occupied by the Enrollment Department. There were 2 exam rooms, one lab/pharmacy room, a waiting room, a store room which was also the nurse’s office and an office for the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Medical Provider. Pharmaceuticals were dispensed by the LPN and FNP, not a Pharmacist. Dental Services were added in 1992.
Today, 34 years later, Nimkee Memorial Wellness Center has grown to a large facility that is approximately 50,000 square feet and has 8 departments administering services to the community including a Medical Clinic, Dental Clinic, Pharmacy Department, Public Health Department, Fitness Center, Health Information Management, Business Office, and Administration. NMWC employs 86 employees including three Family Practice Physicians, one Physician Assistant, one Family Nurse Practitioner, three Dentists, and three Pharmacists. The dedicated staff of Nimkee Memorial Wellness Center provides multidisciplinary services to over 4,000 patients. The clinic can be contacted by calling: (989) 775-4600 or by visiting our website at: www.sagchip.org/nimkee/index.htm