MHP Salud, a national nonprofit organization with an office in Weslaco, Texas, has received $707,066 for the first year of a new three-year cycle of grant funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to fund Navigator services in Texas’ Cameron, Willacy, Starr and Hidalgo Counties.
The funds will continue to enable bilingual Community Health Workers (CHWs) to serve as Navigators, helping consumers understand their health insurance options and enroll in the plan they select. The assistance services take place in-person at the MHP Salud office, over the phone, and at health fairs and enrollment events.
Of the166 organizations in the United States that have ever received Navigator funding, MHP Salud is among the 49 organizations that have received funding for all three rounds. In Texas, MHP Salud is one of only three organizations that have been funded all three years, and one of just two organizations to receive an increase in funding each of the funded years.
Program Director Cliff Clark attributes this success to the dedication of the CHWs he oversees.
“Community Health Workers do outreach in the hot sun and even in cold weather, sitting with folks one-on-one giving them information,” he said. “Without that dedication, none of this would have ever worked out.”
Since October 2013, MHP Salud’s Navigator Program has helped 3,437 people and their families enroll in a Qualified Health Plan, Medicaid or CHIP, many of whom had never before been covered.
This year’s award marks the first time that the Navigator funding will be renewed on a non-competitive basis for three years, meaning MHP Salud Navigators will be assisting Texans through 2018. In addition to their enrollment assistance, Clark says the Navigators also see their role as educators. This year, the CHWs will focus on helping their clients understand not just how to enroll in insurance, but also how to use that insurance to support their family’s health.
“As a national leader committed to the ongoing evolution of the Community Health Worker model, we see the integration of CHWs into the execution of the Affordable Care Act as a strong step towards improving the health system and helping as many people as possible access care,” said MHP Salud Chief Executive Officer, Gayle Lawn-Day.
This year, open enrollment begins Nov. 1 and extends through Jan. 31, and the Navigator team will once again be ready to help. Consumers can seek assistance year-round to understand their eligibility, though they can only enroll in coverage during open enrollment, unless they qualify for a special enrollment period.