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Jodi Ray gets $1 M federal grant to increase enrollment and renewal outreach in Florida Kidcare

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July 2, 2013 –  The Florida Covering Kids & Families (FL-CKF) program at the University of South Florida’s Chiles Center for Healthy Mothers and Babies, was awarded a two-year, $1 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This project, entitled Connecting Kids to Coverage, aims to maximize existing opportunities and structures currently in place within 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.

USF’s award is among the largest of the $32 million in grants nationwide announced by DHHS to help enroll more children eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These awards are part of the $140 million included in the Affordable Care Act and the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) of 2009 for enrollment and renewal outreach.

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Since joining the USF College of Public Health in 1998, Jodi Ray has made it her mission to ensure that children have access to healthcare.

“The grant will help us build on the Secretary’s Connecting Kids to Coverage Challenge to find and enroll all eligible children and support outreach strategies that have been shown to be successful in Florida,” said principal investigator Jodi Ray, program director of FL-CKF.

FL-CKF will increase the number of application assistance center networks through the state so that more  families may apply for health coverage and receive reliable assistance from trusted helpers in their own communities. Local outreach projects under this grant cover: Miami-Dade; Charlotte; Lee; Duval; Baker; Clay; St. Johns; Nassau; Broward; Hillsborough; Pinellas; Santa Rosa; Escambia; Okaloosa; Orange; and Seminole Counties.  Project participants will use grant funds to engage schools in outreach, enrollment and renewal activities through the following strategies:

  • Build upon existing networks of application assistors.
  • Increase the number of school districts within the state where families may apply and receive assistance.
  • Work with Florida Association of Children’s Hospitals to expand the Train-the-Trainer workshop to emergency departments and outpatient clinics within children’s hospitals statewide, as well as, add a text4baby collaboration with maternal and child health providers.
  • Use community-based outreach partners to enhance the geographic areas of the local outreach projects with diverse populations and high rates of uninsured children who may qualify for Florida KidCare to identify children up for renewal and assist their families with the renewal procedures.
  • Target difficult-to-reach and minority populations with the highest percentages of uninsured children partnering with Limited English Proficient (LEP) statewide.
  • Enhance knowledge and expertise of application assistors through the use of technology.

USF sponsors FL-CKF, which has 14 years experience enrolling eligible children in Medicaid and CHIP.

Jodi Ray, project director for Covering Kids, has received national awards for her work on behalf of children.  More information on her project can be found on the USF website.

- Photo by Aimee Blodgett, USF Communications and Marketing.  Reposted from USF Health News.

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