Community Health Center Immigrant Outreach Project
Expanding Health Care Coverage
November 15, 2007
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This project aimed to increase the number of patients with immigrant status enrolled in public health insurance programs at community health centers (CHCs) across New York State.
The Community Health Care Association of New York State (CHCANYS) developed a comprehensive resource manual to educate frontline CHC staff about immigrants and health insurance for upstate CHCs and thus, created a valuable resource and an encouraging environment for patients with immigrant status. CHCANYS also developed recommendations for the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) to improve the health care available to immigrants.
In partnership with the Empire Justice Center and the New York Immigration Coalition, the Community Health Care Association of New York State (CHCANYS) will create a New York State Immigrant Health Insurance Guide for Community Health Centers.
Community, migrant, and homeless health centers (CHCs) care for many of New York’s most vulnerable low-income residents, including many of the State’s uninsured immigrants. At many centers, the share of uninsured patients and patients “best served in a language other than English” exceeds 30%. While this group is sizeable, there is an information gap among frontline CHC workers who engage uninsured immigrant families daily, but often are confused about immigrants’ eligibility for benefits. This project aims to address that information gap.
Partnering with the Empire Justice Center and the New York Immigration Coalition, CHCANYS will create an easy-to-use New York State Immigrant Health Insurance Guide for Community Health Centers, that will contain practical steps to help direct CHC workers toward the most appropriate set of health insurance options. Focusing primarily outside New York City (where the information needs are the greatest), CHCANYS will work with CHCs to designate “immigrant benefit experts” who will be specially trained to link immigrants to health coverage. Project plans also include identifying policy and procedural changes within CHCs that will result in improved access to coverage among this population. The project aims to cover more than 7,500 additional immigrants and help connect them with linguistically and culturally appropriate services.