Health Services to receive $218K for enrollment
Published 12:26 pm Friday, July 26, 2013
By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced $150 million in grant awards to 1,159 health centers across the nation including Health Services Inc. in Montgomery, which operates the Hayneville Family Health Center in Lowndes County, to enroll uninsured Americans in new health coverage options made available by the Affordable Care Act.
Bernell Mapp, chief executive officer of Health Services Inc. in Montgomery, confirmed Monday that Health Services Inc. has been awarded $218,643 to enroll the poor and uninsured in assistance programs under the Act.
Health and Human Resource Services officials said the funding will allow 50 employees to be hired to help more than 70,000 Alabamians.
Consumers will get help understanding their coverage options through the new Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program; determine their eligibility and what financial help they can get; and enroll in new affordable health coverage options, according to Health and Human Services.
Also in the area, Rural Health Medical Program Inc. of Selma will receive $100,910.
Mapp said Health Services Inc. of Montgomery covers six counties including Lowndes, Montgomery, Elmore, Autauga, Chilton and Coosa.
“Actually we’ve been funded those $218,000 to actually provide outreach and recruitment services and enrollment services in all of those areas,” he said. “And we plan to have at least one or two activities in those particular counties to let them know that they have the opportunity to actually see if they are eligible for any of the Affordable Care Act market insurance programs that they will be rolling out.”
Mapp said staff hasn’t been hired yet and there must also be training which has to be done by the Center for Medicare Medicaid Services.
He said after the training, his people would have a better idea of what they are supposed to do, how they are supposed to do it and can schedule where and when.
And he said Health Services Inc. hopes to actually enroll 6,000 people in the six-county area.
However, Mapp warned, some people are going to be disappointed
“Because the Governor (Robert Bentley) is not expanding Medicaid, a lot of people who would have been eligible for Medicaid are still going to be without insurance,” Mapp said. “So they won’t qualify for the subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.”
He said, “So, many people, who had hoped to have insurance through these efforts, unfortunately won’t be able to. Those who do qualify, we will certainly get them enrolled.”
Health Services Inc. in Montgomery is also constructing a wellness center in Hayneville next to town hall.
Mapp said,” Personally I’ve been affiliated with health services and always had a heart for Lowndes County.” He said, “Whenever we have a chance to get dollars to strengthen our system in Lowndes County — We built the new Hayneville (Family Health) Center– And so wellness is a part of our strategy for helping people take better care of themselves.”
He said when the River Region Health Center in Montgomery was built his company had a chance to maximize those grant dollars by pulling down or drawing down what they call a tax credit and getting investors involved. “And so it afforded us the opportunity to build a wellness center here in Montgomery and also we planned for one there in Lowndes. It’s not as large as we wanted to but it is a good start.”
He said the new wellness center in Hayneville should be complete by the middle or not later than the end of August.