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

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!


Just a quick note to let you know that due to a larger than expected number of registrations, the location for tomorrow’s Capital District/Northern NY outreach and enrollment summit has been changed. The new location will be:

155 Washington Avenue, between Dove and Lark, Albany, NY
(There is only street parking at this location)

All other details remain the same.  The event will still be taking place this Friday, September 20th from 10 am to 1 pm.  Anybody who has already registered for the event should have gotten a notice of the location change emailed to them already.  If anyone has any questions about the event or the new location, please contact the event coordinators at or

Find out what's happening in your area!

Registration for the statewide regional enrollment summits for the NY State of Health insurance marketplace is now open!  This is a joint effort between the NY State of Health team and various community groups (including HCFANY) to get information out on the new insurance marketplace that will be opening on October 1, to hear about best practices for enrollment, and to plan outreach on a regional level.

These events are free to attend and registration will be on a first-come-first-serve basis.  Health advocacy groups, navigators, community groups, hospitals and health care institutions, unions, brokers, health plans and small business representatives are encouraged to register to attend the summit in your local area.  We hope to see you there!

Click here for a full listing of dates, locations, sponsors, and how to register.  


Regional Enrollment Summits 2013

Today’s post comes to us from guest bloggers Bob Cohen and Stephen Greenberg of Citizen Action of New York

We’re nearly a month away from the beginning of enrollment in the New York health insurance exchange and we couldn’t be more excited about the potential we have to cover over a million more New Yorkers! The exchange – recently named “NY State of Health”- will be enrolling individuals and small businesses beginning on October 1st.  HCFANY and other stakeholder groups across the state are teaming up with the Exchange to hold regional events to make sure that as many New Yorkers as possible know about this critical opportunity to get affordable health coverage.

We’re facing a big challenge: there are currently over 2 million New Yorkers without coverage; most can benefit from the plans being offered by NY State of Health (including Medicaid and other public programs) – and they all need to know about it.  In order to reach this goal, the state has hired navigators to assist people with the enrollment process. However, if community groups and other stakeholders – from hospitals to health plans to unions – all do their part to get the word out, we have a much better chance of succeeding!

We encourage everyone to attend the appropriate summit for your region of the state, so we can share our best outreach and enrollment practices and coordinate our efforts. (Navigators are especially encouraged to attend!)

Here is a listing of dates and regions where the summits are being held.

  • September 16 – Buffalo: (1pm – 4pm) 1199SEIU, 2421 Main Street, Buffalo NY, 14214.  To register, contact Bill Covington at or call (716) 995-3705
  • September 16 – Brooklyn/Queens/Staten Island (NYC): (1pm – 4pm) 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds, 25 Elm Place, Brooklyn, NY 11201.  To register, contact Marcelle Dinall at or call (646) 473-8485
  • September 18 – Utica/Syracuse: (1pm – 4pm) 1199SEIU Headquarters, 250 South Clinton Street, Syracuse, NY, 13202.  To register, contact Victoria Coit at (315) 706-9548 or
  • September 20 – Capital District/Northern NY: (10am – 1pm) SUNY, Milne Hall, Room 200, 135 Western Avenue, Albany, NY.  1199 SEIU, 155 Washington Ave (between Lark and Dove), Albany, NY Click here to register. 
  • September 23 – Nassau/Suffolk (Long Island): (10 am – 1 pm) 1199 SEIU Headquarters, 100 Duffy Avenue, Suite 3W, Hicksville, NY, 11801.  To register, contact Luis Valenzuela at
  • September 23 – Bronx/Manhattan (NYC): (2pm – 5pm) GNYHA, 555 West 57th Street, 15th Floor Conference Center, New York, NY 10019.  To register, contact Karina Prendergast at or call (212) 258-5356.
  • September 24 – Rochester: (1pm – 4pm) Memorial Art Gallery (MAG), 500 University Ave, Rochester, NY 14607.  To register, contact Kim Wynn at (585) 613-7662 or
  • September 25 – Mid-Hudson: (1pm – 4pm) Crowne Plaza, 3 Executive Blvd., Suffern, New York 10901.  To register, contact Marisel Stuck at (914) 372-2251 or

Edited for updates on 9/6/13