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Innis Community Health Center ACA Outreach and Education Project

Summary 
  • Need: To inform rural Louisiana residents about their health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid Expansion program.
  • Intervention: A community health center reached out to individuals at their clinic sites, rural hospital emergency rooms, and through local governments and other community agencies.
  • Results: Many rural residents have gained access to health insurance information and enrollment assistance.

Description

Innis Community Health Center ACA Outreach and Education Project

Innis Community Health Center, now operating as Arbor Family Health, undertook a health insurance outreach and enrollment project for residents living in Pointe Coupee, southern Avoyelles, and northern Iberville parishes. The main goal of the program was to educate the communities regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and assist residents in applying for health insurance coverage.

In June 2016, as Louisiana joined 30 other states that expanded Medicaid, insurance enrollment outreach goals were more attainable, and ICHC became the base for residents to apply for health insurance coverage through HealthCare.gov. Using certified application counselors (CACs), the outreach program provided services in 2 school-based clinics, 3 primary care clinics, and 1 non-clinic insurance office throughout the 3 parishes.

In 2017, outreach offices became even more critical with LA Medicaid expansion creating a need for citizen education regarding benefits, an essential step of the enrollment process.

Innis Outreach program strengthened in 2017 due to partnerships with the local hospital, Pointe Coupee General Hospital, local governments, and community agencies who share information about the Innis resource with community members.

ICHC is a Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Rural Health Care Outreach grantee. The previous grant assistance led to sustainability, with the current efforts solely supported by ICHC operating funds.

Services offered

Some successful approaches used by the ICHC to promote insurance enrollment include:

HCI HFA little girl
CAC Sandra Aguillard promoting health insurance enrollment at a Walmart in New Roads, LA.
  • Onsite certified application counselors (CACs) at each clinic offering enrollment assistance and benefit education
  • Enrollment information placed strategically throughout the Innis care delivery sites, its website, and within community agencies
  • Tracking enrollment status through Point Care, a nationally recognized electronic record system

Results

With June 2016 Medicaid expansion, ICHC's successful previous ACA enrollment experience positioned them to meet demands of additional applicants

Residents of Pointe Coupee, southern Avoyelles, and northern Iberville Parishes are now able to receive medical preventive measures, diagnostic services, and screenings which improves the parishes' health and ultimately saves lives. Individual coverage also avoids federal penalties for lack of insurance.

Patients who are diagnosed with chronic diseases also have health insurance allowing them to seek regular treatment.

According to a cumulative report created for the period of June 2016 through Sept 30, 2017 the organization has performed the following:

  • 545 assistance encounters (persons having a face to face encounter with a CAC)
  • 608 approved applications (persons enrolled through the Marketplace or Medicaid with the help of a trained CAC)
  • 21 pending applications awaiting final decision

Barriers

Due to the program's longevity, several previous challenges have now been resolved by implementing daily practice work systems. For example:

  • Increased enrollment efforts:
    • Face-to-face outreach programs better answer questions
    • Reduced transportation barriers to services
  • The Point Care system now creates a dashboard for Outreach staff to monitor their work outcomes, with "lost documents" no longer an obstacle
  • Continued re-evaluation of work flow processes continues to improve efficiencies required to meet customer needs

Replication

  • Always be prepared with enough staff to serve residents.
  • Use media coverage educating the public to contact local outreach and insurance enrollment offices
  • Develop/re-evaluate work flow processes
  • Keep watchful eye are future state and federal healthcare changes which may impact need for enrollment services
Prairie Lakes Healthcare System building
The 2015 ICHC insurance enrollment phone-a-thon, in partnership with WAFB News Station in Baton Rouge, LA.

Contact Information

Linda Matessino, RN,MPH
Arbor Family Health
225.921.5196
linda@arborfamilyhealth.org

Topics
Benefit enrollment and application
Federally Qualified Health Centers
Health insurance
Uninsured and underinsured

States served
Louisiana

Date added
August 18, 2014

Date updated or reviewed
November 6, 2017


Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.