Group hopes to help people in need of medical support

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published June 27, 2012

Troy resident and Wayne State University pre-med student Andrew Michail was appalled to learn that 60 percent of Detroit residents do not have medical insurance.

As part of an honors class on community at Wayne State University last winter, he and his classmates were charged with picking a problem and trying to fix it.

He chose health care accessibility. His solution was to work with local physicians, etc., to match supplies with the patients who need them.

“I live in Troy, and my family was able to provide me with medical insurance,” he said.

The class ended, but Michail’s desire to help didn’t. He and students from Oakland University and the University of Michigan formed Medical Outreach Group and have applied for status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency.

At about 25 members, the group tries to match patients in need with supplies, such as blood pressure cuffs, syringes for insulin and wheelchairs.

To date, Michail said, the group has served eight nonprofit medical clinics by providing supplies to patients or helping out at the clinics with clerical and other tasks.

For example, the group members found a cardiologist who was moving her practice, and they were able to secure stethoscopes, EKG machines, an oxygen regulator, Coumadin level monitors and other medical equipment for Covenant Community Care, a faith-based charitable nonprofit community health center with locations on Michigan Avenue, Waterman and West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, and in Royal Oak. Covenant Community Care offers medical, dental and behavioral health care to all, regardless of ability to pay.

The Medical Outreach Group is looking for physicians and hospitals to help out with donations of supplies no longer needed — still safe to use, but perhaps outdated for their purposes.

It’s been working well so far, Michail said, although they only have a few physicians on board, which he hopes will change when the group is awarded the nonprofit status it applied for.

Center Line resident and Wayne State University student Sam Shepard spends about 10 hours a week talking to physicians and nursing homes to build the inventory for the initiative.

“It’s kind of hard,” he said. “It’s a name nobody’s heard of. We’re so small. People are hesitant. Hopefully, it picks up.”

For information, to donate or to volunteer for Medical Outreach Group, visit www.medicaloutreachgroup.org or call (248) 6020-MOG (664).