June 2001

Market-based Organizations Featured in Children’s Health Matters Annual Report

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The advocacy efforts of many Catholic Health Initiatives market-based organizations are featured in the 2000 Annual Report of Children’s Health Matters, an outreach and advocacy program that facilitates the enrollment of eligible children in Medicaid and other health insurance programs.

Along with six other Catholic health systems and Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Health Initiatives has been an active sponsor of Children’s Health Matters since 1999. “An essential part of our vision of building healthy communities is addressing the fact that there are nearly 10 million children in the United States who are not covered by health insurance, although many of them are eligible for Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program,” said Colleen Scanlon, senior vice president of advocacy for Catholic Health Initiatives. “While the active involvement of Catholic Health Initiatives’ market-based organizations continues to increase, there is certainly more to be done.”

Two of the market-based organizations featured in the Children’s Health Matters annual report are Mercy Medical Center, Des Moines, Iowa, and St. Mary Medical Center, Langhorne, Pa. Mercy evaluates children for eligibility to enroll in the state’s HAWK-I insurance program. “We find opportunities within our system to identify children who qualify for HAWK-I,” said Annette Bair, vice president of mission and ethics for Mercy. “We provide assistance ranging from handing out information and application forms to sitting down with families and guiding them through the process of completing applications and mailing them in.” Mercy is also working with the state to determine the number of children who successfully enroll in HAWK-I with Mercy’s assistance. “We want to track the effectiveness of our efforts,” said Bair.

St. Mary provides office space in its Children’s Health Center for a YWCA staff member who works full-time to enroll children in the state’s insurance program, PaCHIP. “We do a lot within our hospital to promote awareness of PaCHIP,” said Terri Rivera, administrative director of community health services for St. Mary. “We put up posters throughout the hospital; we conduct training for our admissions staff, parish nurses and physician office managers; and we send informational mailings to employees, medical staff and patients.”

St. Mary is also a member of the Bucks County Health Improvement Project, a coalition consisting of seven hospitals and the county health department, which is dedicated to the enrollment of children in PaCHIP.

“We work with the schools because that’s where kids are easiest to reach,” said Rivera. “We get our chief executives involved because they can open doors for us to school administrators and state legislators. We find that
collaboration is the key to reaching the children who need health insurance.”
For more information on Children’s Health Matters or a copy of the annual report, visit the organization’s Web site at www.childrenshealthmatters.org.