The award, from the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, was presented on June 13 as part of the Connecting Kids to Coverage campaign.
The Connecting Kids to Coverage project aims to maximize existing opportunities and structures currently in place with the statewide Florida Covering Kids and Families Coalition and its network of regional collaborative partnerships to increase enrollment and retention in the Florida KidCare program, which includes Title XIX Medicaid and Title XX in the State of Florida.
In total, $32 million has been dispersed to 38 community organizations in 27 states, funded by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) legislation.
“I’m thankful we got this grant because it allows us to make sure we’re not only getting people into health coverage, but we have folks who are focused on children’s issues who are working side by side with the Navigator team around the state, so we’re able to get families covered,” said Ms. Jodi Ray, program director.
These awards represent the fourth cycle of outreach and enrollment grants that USF was a recipient of and are designed to build on the historic progress already made increasing the number of children who have health coverage.
Ms. Ray, who has been with the FL-CKF program since its inception at the USF COPH’s Lawton Rhea Chiles Center for Healthy Mothers and Babies, said a new focus for this particular grant year will be an increased focus on working with free and charitable clinics to provide assistance and training on enrolling eligible uninsured children into health care coverage.
“Getting those kids and those families connected to someone who can help them apply and enroll is going to be key,” Ms. Ray said. “Our goal is to be able to get the information out to the families where they are; where they eat, where they sleep, where they live. So, having that partnership with these organizations lends itself to a certain amount of credibility, increases our reach and increases the trust that we have in working with families around sensitive issues.”
FL-CKF will increase the number of Florida KidCare application assistance center networks throughout the state where families may apply and receive reliable assistance.
“Not having health coverage is a real impediment to most of the things we advocate for in public health,” Ray said. “I’ve talked to families who haven’t been able to get through the process, people who are living in their cars, and people who have children with serious health issues and couldn’t figure out how to get their child in for services. Some have told me they had to skip Christmas because all their money was going to be spent for the prescriptions needed for their child’s asthma.”
FL-CKF and their partners will engage schools, children’s hospitals, urgent care centers, and community organizations in outreach, enrollment, and retention activities to bridge health care coverage disparities through reaching out to specific subgroups of children that exhibit lower than average health coverage rates.
Local outreach projects under this grant will cover: Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Broward, Charlotte, Lee, Collier, Duval, Baker, Clay, St. Johns, Nassau, Putnam, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Sarasota, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties.