SOUTH BEND, IN – The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi recently announced that it has opened its new Mshkiki Community Clinic, a division of its Pokagon Health Services department, to serve the primary medical and dental care needs of Medicaid eligible and low income residents living in Benton Harbor and Benton Township. Mshkiki is the Potawatomi word for medicine. The clinic is located at 1986 Mall Place at Orchard’s Park Shopping Center in Benton Harbor and will operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. A small group of attendees, including members of the Pokagon Band Tribal Council, participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the clinic.
Primary medical care services offered at the Mshkiki Community Clinic include acute care, chronic disease management, immunizations, minor procedures, routine exams, and well-child visits. The clinic’s respiratory services include respiratory care for potential COVID-19 or other respiratory infections, COVID-19 testing, and COVID-19 vaccinations. Dental care services include cleanings, routine exams, filings, extractions, root canals, x-rays, bridges, crowns, dentures, and partials.
In Michigan, adults that qualify for Medicaid include those that make $16,000 or less for a single person or $33,000 or less for a family of four. According to the 2019 Census numbers, 46 percent of Benton Harbor’s 9,000 residents and 33 percent of Benton Township’s 14,000 residents would qualify for Medicaid and could receive services at the Mshkiki Community Clinic. Unlike other Medicaid participating clinics, tribal health centers do not collect co-pays from Medicaid patients.
“Pokagon Health Services has been serving indigenous peoples in Southwest Michigan and Northern Indiana since 1996,” said Priscilla Gatties, Director for Pokagon Band of Potawatomi’s Department of Health Services. “Its Accredited Healthcare Facility located within the Pokagon Band’s government campus in Dowagiac, MI, currently serves more than 2,500 patients and offers an integrative care approach that includes medical, dental, pharmacy, and behavioral health services. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March of 2020, it brought more attention to the health disparities in, not only Native Americans, but also in other minority groups as compared to the general population. Now more than ever, our communities need to have a choice of where they can get access to the best and most effective healthcare, and Pokagon Health Services is pleased to be able provide an additional option to the residents of Benton Township, Benton Harbor and surrounding communities through the Mshkiki Community Clinic.”
“With close to 6,000 Pokagon Citizens, and as one of the largest employers in region, we are acutely aware of the wide range of healthcare needs that challenge our people and employees,” said Matthew Wesaw, Tribal Council Chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi. “We hope that the addition of the Mshkiki Clinic will help better serve residents in the Benton Harbor area and those in need that choose to seek care at this location.”