CMS HONORS EFFORTS TO ENROLL ELIGIBLE CHILDREN IN MEDICAID AND THE CHILDRENS HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that ten organizations and individuals have been recognized for their outstanding efforts to identify and enroll eligible children in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Those organizations and individuals are:
Dayanne Leal, Children's Health Policy and Outreach Manager, Health Care For All, Massachusetts
Dayanne's efforts across Massachusetts include work with community and faith-based organizations, as well as the ethnic media. She is always looking for new ways to reach families with eligible children and get them enrolled in health coverage. One example is the successful phone-a-thon she organized during which the Health Care For All helpline enrolled over 300 children in one day -- triple the number that the helpline usually handles over a three-month period. To build a sustainable campaign to keep kids insured, Dayanne is committed to engaging community leaders and agencies across the State. To that end, she organized a one-month long “Statewide Enrollment Challenge” where a group of 66 organizations ranging from community-based organizations, community-health centers and hospitals were equipped with outreach materials in eight different languages and redoubled their outreach efforts during the month. This successful collaborative approach and the hard work of these organizations resulted after one month in 1,479 newly enrolled children who previously were uninsured.
Ann Bacharach, Special Projects Director, Pennsylvania Health Law Program
Ann Bacharach has been a longstanding outreach champion, working tirelessly to ensure that the children of Pennsylvania get the health care coverage they need. Currently, Ann is at the Pennsylvania Health Law Project and is assisting community organizations, like our CHIPRA grantee, the Maternal and Child Health Consortium, by providing training on eligibility and retention rules and by troubleshooting any problems with the enrollment process. Ann serves on the Leadership Committee of the National Covering Kids and Families Network, a community of organizations and individuals committed to advancing health care coverage and equal access to high quality health care.
Jodi Ray, Project Director, Florida Covering Kids and Families, University of South Florida
Jodi has led a statewide effort to engage, train and support 16 local, all volunteer community coalitions covering 30 Florida counties that are focusing on reducing the number of uninsured children. Activities to get eligible children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP -- the Florida KidCare Program -- range from school-based activities, working with the children's hospitals, providing one-on-one application assistance to families, partnering with both small and large businesses and enlisting municipal governments in outreach activities. Most recently, Jodi has been forging new partnerships with veterans’ social services organizations. Under a CHIPRA Cycle I grant, such efforts helped obtain and renew coverage for more than 11,000 eligible Florida children.
Gale Marshall, Two Feathers Media
In CHIPRA, Congress identified American Indians and Alaska Native children as an underenrolled population and included language to ensure outreach and enrollment of more Indian children in CHIP and Medicaid. In her work, Gale Marshall (Oklahoma Choctaw) of Two Feathers Media was able to work with tribes to uncover myths and develop culturally appropriate messaging to help convey to parents the benefits of enrolling their children. Her compelling video “Working Together: For Our Children, For Our Future” (developed under contract with CMS), will be used nationwide to intensify outreach activities and boost the enrollment of American Indian and Alaska Native children in CHIP and Medicaid.
Phillip Bergquist, Manager of Health Center Operations, CHIPRA Project Director, Michigan Primary Care Association
Phillip's wide-ranging efforts have helped to directly enroll over 1,650 children in Medicaid and CHIP (MIChild) throughout Michigan and spread awareness of these invaluable coverage programs to thousands more. Most recently, Phillip’s collaborative leadership in the Enroll Michigan campaign, a partnership between MPCA, the Michigan Health and Hospital Association and the Middle Cities Education Association, resulted in a 21% increase in the number of applications for children’s health coverage during the 2011 back-to-school season. His continuing creative use of technology and online tools, dedication to high quality enrollment assistance and drive to make the process easy and informative for families with uninsured kids is taking outreach activities to a new level.
Ruth Kennedy, Medicaid Deputy Director/Bayou Health, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals
Since 1998, Ruth Kennedy has had a pioneering influence on the path of outreach and enrollment efforts across the country. Under her leadership, for example, Louisiana dispatched Medicaid eligibility workers to conduct outreach throughout the State, actively engaging eligible families rather than waiting for families to come to the eligibility office, and the State was among the first to implement Express Lane Eligibility. The changes she has made have helped improve access to coverage not just for children, but for adults as well: Louisiana has reduced the eligibility processing time for pregnant women to just three days and has simplified eligibility for parents. Ruth is best known for her accomplishments related to retention – ensuring that eligible children and adults stay covered for as long as they qualify. Ruth’s aggressive efforts over many years have catalyzed numerous process improvements -- including the use of telephone and paperless renewals – so that the rate of case closures for procedural reasons at renewal dropped from 22 percent to less than one percent. Her leadership has not only resulted in tangible outcomes for beneficiaries, but also in the workforce where she has promoted and achieved significant culture change in Medicaid eligibility offices.
Oklahoma Health Care Authority
In 2010, Oklahoma premiered its online application for SoonerCare. The system allows Oklahomans to complete an application, manage their information and enroll in real-time. About 35,000 applications are processed each month, with almost a quarter of them now being received outside traditional business hours. Oklahoma has built a sustainable, statewide infrastructure for SoonerCare (Medicaid) outreach and enrollment, working collaboratively with more than 700 community partners from the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Through its outreach initiative, SoonerEnroll, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority provides partners on-site technical assistance, training and other capacity-building support.
The partners' activities range from disseminating marketing materials to hosting kiosk sites where consumers can apply and providing direct application assistance to families. SoonerEnroll included a telephonic re-enrollment pilot which, at its peak, was averaging more than 3,000 children being recertified for SoonerCare each month. The process generally took less than five minutes.
Children's Defense Fund of Texas
The Children’s Defense Fund- Texas is a strong and effective advocate for children. Partnering with the Texas Association of School Administrators, CDF-Texas has modeled effective school-based outreach and enrollment strategies that have been replicated across the State and nationally. CDF-Texas also has shown leadership building partnerships with local businesses, like its work with Fiesta Marts, Inc., to help get eligible children enrolled in coverage.
Oglala Sioux Tribe, South Dakota
The Oglala Sioux Tribe is focused on enrolling Indian children in Medicaid and CHIP over a large geographic area, located in a very rural area in Southwest South Dakota. Conducting outreach in this area is especially challenging since many families are without telephones, transportation or internet connections. The outreach project has taken significant efforts to address enrollment in this challenging environment. For example, when budget pressures meant a nearby hospital was in danger of closing its doors, this grantee volunteered to provide enrollment opportunities onsite at the hospital several times a month to help enroll uninsured children into Medicaid and CHIP. In addition, they partner with the Public Health Service at a dental clinic, signing up parents while the children received free dental care.
Cathy Kaufmann, Administrator of Oregon Healthy Kids
Under Cathy's leadership, the Oregon Healthy Kids program has made significant progress on enrolling eligible children in Medicaid and CHIP. Oregon’s efforts include a full complement of strategies: simplifying the enrollment process, instituting Express Lane Eligibility procedures, providing support to community application assistors throughout the State and conducting outreach through schools. In less than two years the percentage of uninsured children was cut in half -- from 11.3% to 5.6%.