Garden City was one of eight cities selected by the National League of Cities (NLC) to receive $180,000 and technical assistance to help implement local outreach efforts to enroll children and families in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
“As a nation, we’ve made significant progress on enrolling eligible children in Medicaid and CHIP, but millions of children who qualify for coverage under these programs still need to sign up. Cities are vital partners in outreach and enrollment efforts,” said Cindy Mann, Deputy Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “We applaud National League of Cities for its leadership and support.”
The Cities Expanding Health Access for Children and Families (CEHACF) Initiative will help cities implement comprehensive campaigns to enroll children and families in Medicaid and CHIP and reduce the uninsured rate for children and families by 50% in each of the cities. Families with health insurance reduce emergency room visits, avoid crushing health care costs, and have healthier children who perform better in school.
Garden City received the grant for the Healthy Kids-Happy Families Project, a community-wide effort to strengthen the community by strengthening its families. The new Department of Community Resources will spear head the project. The goal is to enroll 100% of Garden City children and adults who are eligible for the Healthy Michigan insurance program but who are not covered by insurance. The project will work side-by-side with parents and other adults to complete the on-line Healthy Michigan insurance application and submit all of the necessary documents. “We found that the most common reasons our residents are not enrolled in Healthy Michigan is that the process is complicated and time consuming,” said Monica Fulton, Director of Community Resources. “Our project is designed to make it simple, easy and comfortable for residents to obtain low-cost or no-cost health insurance right here in their home town.” Community Resources Department staff and volunteer community members will be trained to provide eligibility information and one-on-one personal assistance to parents and adults to complete the on-line application process, choose a health plan, select a local primary care physician and schedule the first well visit appointment.
The project is a collaborative effort between the City, Garden City Public Schools and Garden City Hospital. The partners worked with a community task force to develop the Healthy Kids-Happy Families project tailored to the Garden City community. The Task Force consisted of representatives from City Council, Parks & Recreation Commission, Kiwanis, Rotary, Jade Child Development Center, Omni Edition, Merriman Road Baptist Church, Prestige Eyewear, McDonald’s, Wayne Metro Services, Garden City Head Start, Michigan Department of Community Health, Michigan Department of Human Services, Wayne State University and L&S Associates. “This project would not have been possible without the level of cooperation and participation we received from Garden City Schools and Garden City Hospital,” said Robert Muery, City Manager. “We are very fortunate to have our two largest community partners, as well as the community Task Force members, so actively involved in collaborative efforts like this.” Dr. Stanley Szczotka, Director of Student Services for Garden City Public Schools represented the school district in this effort. “Garden City Schools is grateful to be a part of this grassroots effort to improve the lives of our children and their families. Good health is essential to student development.” Catherine Chamberlain, Manager of Community Health at Garden City Hospital, agrees. “This is a great example of teamwork; working together we can improve the health of our community.”
NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education and Families is coordinating the initiative as part of a multi-year effort to increase access to health care for children and families funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies. Each city was chosen based on the quality and feasibility of business plans that were submitted in the spring.
“Each city chosen had a rigorous business plan that detailed a clear path forward to drive down the rate of the uninsured in their communities,” said Clarence Anthony, executive director of NLC. He continued, “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.”
NLC will provide cities with customized assistance, access to best practices and national experts and opportunities for peer learning during the implementation process. Emphasis will be placed on cross-community collaboration among city agencies, school districts, hospitals and clinics and other community-based organizations.
The other cities selected are:
New Bedford, Massachusetts
Providence, Rhode Island
The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.