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Enroll 100 Percent of Pittsburgh Children and Families in Healthcare Programs

The City of Pittsburgh is working to enroll 100 percent of children and families in quality healthcare programs.

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In July, the National League Cities’ Cities Expanding Health Access for Children and Families initiative awarded Pittsburgh $200,000 to implement local outreach efforts to enroll its youngest residents in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The plan, called Healthy Together, will target 2,000 young people who have been the hardest to reach and most difficult to enroll. The Office of the Mayor will lead the work and collaborate with primary partners:Allies for Children, the Consumer Health Coalition and the Allegheny County Health Department.

The Healthy Together campaign combines two core strategies to move Pittsburgh to complete coverage for all children and youth. First, Healthy Together proposes outreach efforts in those communities where it is most likely that uninsured children reside. In the broadest terms, the underlying strategy of the campaign is to embed outreach and enrollment activities in efforts that already exist, like the opening of swimming pools and the rental of sports fields. Additional activities include marching band performances, roving art carts and movies in the park.

Second, Healthy Together will bring systematic change to the institutions already serving children in Pittsburgh, thereby creating a net to catch kids not identified through outreach efforts. Simultaneously, with the launching of the outreach campaign, the City of Pittsburgh, which employs more than 6,000 city residents, will launch an in-reach campaign to make certain that all employees’ children are covered with health insurance. This could be the first step towards a larger effort to require that all firms contracting with the City of Pittsburgh perform similar in-reach efforts.

At the same time, Pittsburgh Public Schools, which serves 70 percent of the school age population of the City of Pittsburgh, will track a question on school enrollment forms, which asks if students have health insurance. Beginning in August, responses to this question will be electronically coded and shared with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services. The information will then be entered into a data warehouse. Every application for which yes was not answered will be referred to the Consumer Healthcare Coalition to be matched with quality, affordable insurance.

Outreach in the community combined with systematic change will not only help Pittsburgh cover 100 percent of children with health insurance, but will also foster a culture of coverage. This is especially important for the future of Pittsburgh as Mayor Peduto positions the city for population growth of 20,000 in the next decade. Having successful outreach strategies and systems in place to assist families, especially those new to the region, with finding affordable health insurance will be critical to the long-term health of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.

Throughout the enrollment campaign, Mayor Peduto will serve as a spokesperson, working with community members and community-based organizations.

Partners include:
A+ Schools;
Allegheny County Children’s Court;
Allegheny County Department of Human Services;
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh;
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh;
Enroll America;
Homeless Children’s Education Fund;
Latino Family Center;
Perry Hilltop Citizens Council;
Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children;
Pittsburgh Public Schools;
Pittsburgh; Squirrel Hill Health Center;
Service Employees International Union;
The Brashear Association;
Kingsley Association;
United Way of Allegheny County;
YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh, Center for Race & Gender Equity;
Center for Social & Urban Research at the University of Pittsburgh
and Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh.

Want to attend an enrollment event or learn more about this initiative? Check the Healthy Together website by logging onto GetEnrolledPGH.com. Need health insurance? Dial 2-1-1 to be connected to the Consumer Health Coalition. They will provide assistance at no cost. To read more about how Pittsburgh landed the grant from the National League of Cities to implement this campaign, click here.

Do you have a personal story to share about being uninsured? We would love to hear from you! Meanwhile, check out these personal posts from Pittsburgh mom bloggers.

Becky from Lil Burghers reflects on life with an uninsured newborn.

Cindy from Pittsburgh Brown Mamas shares how the Children’s Health Insurance Program is a lifesaver to her three sons.

Dr. Gilboa from Ask Dr. G talks about the the struggles her patients face obtaining healthcare coverage.

Kelly from Pittsburgh Momtourage talks about why healthcare is extremely important, especially for foster families.

Nicole from Champagne to Crayons encourages moms to speak out about their children’s health.

Sara from Play Pittsburgh conquers her fears as a first time mom by ensuring her son in covered with a quality, affordable health insurance plan.