Expanding Enrollment Efforts through Culturally Competent Outreach

September 8, 2015

Alerting families with children eligible for Medicaid and CHIP about health coverage and how to apply will often require reaching out to diverse communities. A commitment to ensuring that messages and outreach methods are culturally competent is key to ensuring that our outreach work is most effective.

Lessons Learned from On-the-Ground Outreach

There are many organizations working to increase health coverage enrollment and access to care in diverse communities – you can learn from their successful strategies and adapt or replicate them in your own community.

The Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign recently hosted a webinar on applying cultural competency practices to outreach and enrollment tactics. Dr. Cara James, Director of the Office of Minority Health at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, explained the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services and how to weave these standards into outreach. Speakers from Speakers from Asian Pacific Community in Action (APCA) and the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum addressed on-the-ground strategies for reaching children and parents.

Delve deeper into what it means to tailor your organization's outreach to be culturally competent and linguistically appropriate to the communities you serve. The APCA, based in Phoenix, Arizona, has developed a robust program for recruiting bilingual volunteers and training them to help families through the Medicaid and CHIP enrollment process. APCA helps volunteers understand how their work can have a positive impact on their community and keeps them motivated by providing ongoing recognition and small stipends.

Connecting Kids to Coverage Resources

Another tip for effective, culturally competent outreach is to translate and distribute materials in languages spoken within your community. The National Campaign offers a variety of materials – posters and palmcards – in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Haitian Creole, Hmong, Portuguese, and Tagalog. These materials provide an easy-to-understand overview of Medicaid and CHIP – and direct families to enrollment resources. You can also customize these pieces with your organization's logo and contact information at no cost.

New! Living Well Prevention Materials Now Available

A new set of outreach and educational materials focused on preventive health practices, called Living Well, was released last month. These materials are designed to help Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries understand the benefits available to them, emphasizing the importance of taking advantage of services like check-ups, vaccines and screenings that help prevent and detect diseases when they are most treatable. Living Well features ready-to-use, customizable posters, fact sheets, and social media posts for Facebook and Twitter, as well as tips for implementation. The Living Well materials are now available in the Outreach Tools section of Medicaid.gov.

Happy 50th Anniversary to Medicare and Medicaid!

On July 30th, the nation marked the 50th anniversary of the law creating Medicare and Medicaid. To celebrate, the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services recognized Medicaid's contribution to the health and security of the most vulnerable Americans by posting daily highlights on Medicaid.gov for 50 days in a row. The posts feature policies that have advanced health coverage and care, share profiles of people who helped shape the program, and elevate Medicaid's accomplishments and path forward. Be sure to check them out on Medicaid.gov.

3 Ways to Stay Connected With the National Campaign

  • Share our materials widely. We have more than 50 National Campaign resources available, including translated print materials, to use in outreach and enrollment efforts.
  • Follow the Campaign on Twitter. Don't forget to re-tweet or share our messages with your network or use our #Enroll365 hashtag in your posts.
  • Contact us to get more involved with the National Campaign at ConnectingKids@cms.hhs.gov or 1-855-313-KIDS (5437).

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