The National League of Cities has selected eight cities around the nation to receive grants and technical assistance as part of the organization’s Cities Expanding Health Access for Children and Families Initiative, which aims to boost the enrollment of children and families in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
The eight cities — Dallas; Garden City, Michigan; Hattiesburg, Mississippi; Jacksonville, Florida; New Bedford, Massachusetts; Pittsburgh; Providence, Rhode Island; and Savannah, Georgia — were announced Monday and will be awarded up to $260,000 in grant funding. The cities will be able to access customized assistance, best practices, national experts and opportunities to learn from peer communities during the implementation process, according to the NLC's announcement.
The NLC’s initiative implements enrollment-boosting campaigns and has a goal to reduce the rate of uninsured children and families by 50 percent in each city.
"Each of the cities chosen had a rigorous business plan that detailed a clear path forward to drive down the rate of the uninsured in their communities," NLC Executive Director Clarence Anthony said in a statement. "Each city should be commended for the positive contributions they will make to their communities. There are clear benefits to the program with healthier kids meaning better high school and college completion rates and financial savings for the community."
From the NLC’s profiles on the eight cities selected:
Coordinated by the city's Housing and Community Services Department, Dallas' Healthy Children in a Healthy Environment campaign focuses on training staff to become enrollment assistors and coordinating and consolidating existing enrollment efforts in order to increase effectiveness.
The city's Community Resource Department will coordinate the Healthy Kids-Healthy Families campaign to increase awareness and understanding of Healthy Michigan — the state's Medicaid and CHIP program — and to provide assistance with enrollment, utilization, and re-enrollment. The department will become the entity for enrollment and re-enrollment assistance in the community. City staff and community partners will provide increased enrollment assistance throughout the community and will utilize a social medical campaign and trusted community members to spread their message about the importance of coverage.
Implemented through the mayor's office who will work in partnership with community partners and agencies to help promote a healthy lifestyle, the E3 (Educate, Enroll, Empower) Health Initiative focuses on three main strategies to reduce the number of uninsured families and to increase retention rates. Plans include: educating families about opportunities for obtaining and retaining coverage; enrolling and recertifying families and children into Medicaid or CHIP; and empowering families to re-enroll on their own.
The Cover Jacksonville campaign will be led by the city's first ever Mayor-appointed Health Commissioner working in partnership with the Jacksonville Children's Commission and community partners. The four main outreach and enrollment strategies of the campaign are: providing training and increasing enrollment assistance to build the community's capacity; raising awareness about public insurance options and promoting a culture of health; establishing a single point of access for enrollment information and assistance; and identifying and assisting uninsured children through a partnership with Duval County Public Schools.
The New Bedford Health Department will lead the Health Access Kids New Bedford campaign in partnership with New Bedford Public Schools (NBPS) and community partners. In addition to reducing the number of eligible but unenrolled children and families, the campaign aims to establish a sustained culture of health quality, literacy, and advocacy in the city. Identifying as the target population NBPS students and their families with low levels of health literacy, the campaign will implement an outreach and marketing campaign to build awareness, and utilizes Community Health Workers to provide individual enrollment assistors and serve as Health Access Specialist navigators.
The Healthy Together enrollment campaign complements Mayor Peduto's Live Well Pittsburgh initiative which aims to achieve 100% coverage for Pittsburgh's youth. The campaign will utilize three main strategies: embedding enrollment efforts into the core strategy of the Mayor's administration; implementing outreach strategies led by the Mayor's office and in partnership with community organizations; and establishing a referral system between schools and enrollment assistance agencies. Recognizing the role of mayors and city leaders in spreading the message of coverage and health access, Healthy Together incorporates a clear role for city leaders and trusted community members in the planned outreach and enrollment events.
Having identified the existing barriers to enrollment for their city's residents, the Healthy Providence campaign — led by the mayor's Healthy Communities Office — focuses on new outreach strategies to reach their eligible but unenrolled population, with plans to serve as an enrollment facilitator for those identified. The campaign strategies include: institutionalizing health coverage assessment and enrollment with school-based outreach; partnering with youth-based organizations to create peer-led outreach efforts; fortifying effective community-based outreach and enrollment efforts with trusted community members and organizations; and improving the enrollment infrastructure through statewide policy initiative support.
Led by the mayor's office in partnership with Step Up Savannah, the city's poverty reduction initiative, and other community partners, The Mayor's Campaign for Healthy Children and Families seeks to increase enrollment in Georgia's public health insurance programs — Right from the Start Medicaid (RSM) or PeachCare for Kids (PCK) — by enhancing and expanding enrollment assistance services and outreach activities. The plan includes utilizing the city's 3-1-1 system as a central clearinghouse to link individuals with enrollment assistance, undertaking a broad social media marketing campaign to increase awareness of enrollment and renewals, and also a focus on policy advocacy and systems change.
Photo of New Bedford, Massachusetts, by Flickr user Henry Zbyszynski via an Attribution 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license