Advocates gather to advance better health care for children, youth, and families

Posted December, 16 2013 by Amanda

14060_lores_womanchild HCFANY’s Children, Youth, and Families Task Force gathered in Albany on Wednesday, December 11th to share updates about several key issues. Over 30 task force members were there, from consumer advocacy organizations, Navigator networks, and other organizations dedicated to the health of children and families. Here’s a rundown of the meeting highlights:

Judy Arnold from the New York State Department of Health spoke for nearly an hour, sharing numerous updates and answering questions about the New York State of Health marketplace. She is truly a fount of information! She let us know that over 100,000 have enrolled through the marketplace since October, including about 30,000 in Medicaid (Medicaid numbers are still being finalized). Soon, the State will be able to provide data on demographics of enrollees, which will be especially exciting to anyone in the health care advocacy world. With the rush to enroll before the December deadline, the State’s help line has been experiencing extremely high call volume – about 1,500 calls per hour – so the State is working on some changes to meet the demand (that’s a lot of New Yorkers seeking affordable health insurance!).

Lara Kassel from Medicaid Matters New York (MMNY) gave an update on the joint MMNY and HCFANY Public Programs Work Group. The group recently met with representatives from the New York State of Health to discuss priority issues, from making sure undocumented immigrants are able to enroll in emergency Medicaid through the marketplace website to ensuring continuing education and training for Navigators.

Bridget Walsh from the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy gave an update on the “foster kids” provision in the ACA. The provision allows young adults who were formerly in foster care to stay on Medicaid up to age 26 (mirroring the provision allowing young adults to stay on their parent’s insurance). We got a sneak peak of a video made by a former foster youth that SCAA will soon post on their website, where you can already find great resources about this issue.

Kate Breslin, also from SCAA, gave a brief update on the Basic Health Program option in New York State. HCFANY recently submitted a letter on behalf of over 50 organizations around the state urging Governor Cuomo to include a Basic Health Program in his 2014 budget. You can read the final letter here.

Lorraine Gonzalez from Children’s Defense Fund – New York talked about School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) and explored the financial sustainability of these important community resources in light of Medicaid redesign – which changes the reimbursement process for SBHCs – and new funding opportunities for SBHCs in the ACA. CDF’s full report with recommendations on this issue is set to be released in January.

Our next chance to convene is right around the corner! We’ll have a Children, Youth, & Families Task Force breakout session at the HCFANY annual meeting on January 9th in Albany. Register here for the meeting, and we’ll see you there!

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