Turn Sniffles into Smiles This Cold and Flu Season!

January 7, 2014

As cold and flu season peaks this winter, keeping children healthy is top of mind for parents. While children may be dreaming of winter fun, parents worry about sore throats, coughs and fevers—along with the cost of doctor's visits and medication. By offering Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) information and enrollment assistance when families seek health services, you can connect with parents when health care is already a chief concern. Check out our recent Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign webinar, "Outreach and Enrollment When Families are Seeking Health Services", to hear successful strategies for conducting outreach to families.

Here are a few seasonal outreach ideas:

  1. Distribute outreach materials through health care providers and locations providing health services. Health care providers are trusted sources of health information for families. Ask local health centers, hospitals, urgent care centers, retail clinics and pharmacies to display and distribute information about Medicaid and CHIP. Provide outreach materials for local school nurses associations and school-based clinics and urge them to share the materials with their members and patients. Visit InsureKidsNow.gov to download Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign materials. You can request to have the materials customized with your local information; customized high-resolution PDFs will be emailed within two weeks of requests being submitted.
  2. Enroll children in health coverage at flu shot events. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the single best way to protect children from the flu is to get them vaccinated each year. Partner with community health organizations, providers or county health departments to host an enrollment drive where flu shots are available. To connect with your local health department, visit the National Association of County and City Health Officials. Many schools, retail pharmacies and health clinics host regular immunization drives during the cold and flu season. Offer to provide enrollment assistance and help promote the event. Working together, you can reach many families with double benefits: protection against the flu and access to health care all year long! Booster in Action: The Kids Healthcare Foundation in Tampa, Fla., partnered with St. Joseph's Children's Hospital, the Brandon Family Resource Center and the Hillsborough County Health Department to hold a Family Flu Prevention and Enrollment event in early 2013. The event provided free flu shots for adults and kids who were uninsured or on Medicaid, and offered Medicaid and CHIP application assistance, as well. St. Joseph's provided games and educational activities, such as the "Teddy Bear Doctor," where children learned how to cope with their fears about receiving shots, and "Germaine the Germ" stations, where they were introduced to proper hand washing techniques.
  3. Partner with Pediatricians. Because parents rely on pediatricians, they can be great allies in your efforts to connect kids to coverage. Reach out to your local chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to broaden your outreach efforts. Share National Campaign materials, including the palmcards, posters and public service announcements, with pediatrician offices. Visit the AAP website to connect with a chapter near you. A leading pediatrician may also be willing to write a letter to the editor of the local paper promoting the importance of children's health coverage and how to enroll in Medicaid and CHIP. Provide local data and information on how families can get enrollment assistance.

Do you have outreach ideas or success stories to share? We want to hear from you! Please email ConnectingKids@cms.hhs.gov. We may feature your organization in a future Campaign Notes eNewsletter.

The Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign Notes eNewsletter offers quick outreach and enrollment tips throughout the year. If a friend or colleague forwarded this email to you, you can sign up to receive this eNewsletter directly to your inbox. You can also follow the Campaign on Twitter. Don't forget to re-Tweet or share our messages with your network.

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