May 16, 2013– The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that 29 federally qualified Oregon community health centers would be eligible for an additional $2.8 million in outreach and enrollment grants to connect residents to Cover Oregon, the new online marketplace where Oregonians can compare and enroll in health coverage, set to open later this year.
“We are going to need all hands on deck to raise awareness about and get Oregonians enrolled in health coverage through Cover Oregon,” said Howard “Rocky” King, executive director for Cover Oregon. “Community health centers are a critical part of our outreach efforts and are trusted health care resources in their communities.”
Community health centers that are eligible for the grant (listed below) must submit applications to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) by May 31, 2013 in order to be considered for the grant. The funds will help heath centers hire new staff, train existing staff and conduct community outreach events and other educational activities. Community health centers have extensive experience in helping uninsured consumers apply for and enroll in health coverage. They can also connect consumers to information about the health plans available through Cover Oregon.
“Community health centers have always offered health care regardless of a customer’s ability to pay,” said Laurie Francis, senior director of clinic operations and quality with the Oregon Primary Care Association. “As a result, health centers are a natural and ideal place for individuals and families to learn about newly available health coverage options. Many of the customers our clinics serve are uninsured and, as with insured clients, they need help navigating the health care system. Our health centers look forward to working with Cover Oregon to connect more Oregonians to health coverage.”
The Oregon Primary Care Association represents all of the federally qualified health centers in the state and works with them to access and use grant funds. The grant supports the federal government’s efforts to enroll individuals, families and small businesses in new health insurance marketplaces created as part of the Affordable Care Act. It is estimated that about 217,000 Oregon residents will enroll in health coverage through Cover Oregon.
In addition to this federal grant administered by HRSA, Cover Oregon, in partnership with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), will award separate grants to community organizations this summer to conduct outreach and application assistance. The first request for these grant proposals closes May 16, and two more opportunities will open in the coming months (information available through ORPIN).
Community health centers eligible for the federal HRSA grant can also apply for the Cover Oregon/OHA grants. Health centers that are awarded both a HRSA grant and a Cover Oregon/OHA grant can either accept only one of the grants, or they will need to certify and demonstrate that they will not replace or duplicate funding for any activities within the scope of work of one grant with funding from the other. Cover Oregon and OHA will coordinate with all grantees for training and outreach support.
For more information or assistance on applying for the grant, community health centers can go to: http://bphc.hrsa.gov/outreachandenrollment/. The following health care centers are eligible for the grant and must submit an application by Friday, May 31, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. PT.
MEDIA: Click on the link http://hhs.tv/Media/PublicResources.aspx for video B-roll and sound bites from the Department of Health and Human Services. To view the files, click on the magnifying glass next to the file title. You can then download the files after registering on the same page.
Media Inquiries: Lisa Morawski, 503-508-9989, email: [email protected], website: coveroregon.com