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Muskegon area health care providers preparing for wave of new patients as Muskegon Family Care closes

Hackley Community Care and HealthWest are ready to provide care for some of Muskegon Family Care's patients.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — Michigan State Police has launched an investigation into claims staff members embezzled from Muskegon Family Care, the clinic's former C.E.O. was terminated at the end of 2019, and the clinic will close March 31.

Those factors, and rumors around the Muskegon area about financial troubles at Muskegon Family Care are the reasons other health care providers in Muskegon County began preparing months ago for the possibility the clinic in Muskegon Heights would close.

To date, around 70% of the clinic's staff have been terminated.

"Hackley Community Care has been preparing for the last two months worst case scenario, what if they were to close suddenly with no notice," CEO Linda Juarez said.

Hackley Community Care is not affiliated at all with Muskegon Family Care. In recent days HCC reached terms with six medical providers who currently work for MFC. Early next month those six medical providers will join Hackley Community Care.

Patients of those providers can follow their provider to HCC if they so choose. 

Juarez expects about 7,000 patients will make the transition, or about 60% of MFC's medical patients. 

Additional information to patients and the community will be posted to Facebook.  

Hackley Community Care can offer medical services to those patients at three facilities. 

- 2700 Baker Street in Muskegon Heights

- 1675 Leahy Street in Muskegon at the Hackley Professional Center

- 376 E. Apple Avenue an integrated health clinic site inside HealthWest

Juarez says more than 600 Muskegon Family Care patients have already registered with Hackley Community Care. In the coming months HCC may also be able to bring on about half of MFC's dental patients.

RELATED: Muskegon Family Care will stay open until March 31

Muskegon Family Care provided medical, dental, and mental health care to around 20,000 patients. MFC provided service despite a patients ability to pay.

HealthWest is working to assist individuals affected by the announced closure of Muskegon Family Care.

Individuals receiving substance use or mental health services from Muskegon Family Care can call 231-720-3200 and get connected to services and other resources in Muskegon County.  

Callers are asked to identify if they are a former Muskegon Family Care client. 

"This is a major loss to the community,"said HealthWest Executive Director Julia Rupp. "We want those receiving mental health or substance use services from Muskegon Family Care to know that HealthWest is here and will do whatever we can to assist them through this transition.”

Muskegon County's largest health care provider released the follow statement.

"Mercy Health is aware of the concern and discussion in the community as it relates to Muskegon Family Care. Our leadership is involved in community conversations with Muskegon Family Care, Hackley Community Care, other local health care organizations, and community leaders to address this crisis in our community. While Muskegon Family Care is a separate Community Health Center not owned by Mercy Health, we are committed to working with them to implement a smooth transition for their patients."

Muskegon Family Care will close on March 31.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed by Muskegon Family Care workers who lost their jobs last week.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids claim MFC violated federal law by not giving workers proper notice of the closing.

The former MFC employees are seeking 60 days of wages, benefits, and compensation for remaining vacation time and unused vacation time.

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