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The Partnership Center Newsletter

December 5, 2013 Edition

In this issue, you will find…


Dear Partners:

National Influenza Vaccine Week is December 8-14. As trusted messengers, you and your organizations can communicate important health information about the need for flu vaccination and healthy practices. Fighting the flu in your community starts with you!

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older receive an annual flu vaccine. In the U.S., flu activity most commonly peaks in January or February, so now is a good time to get the flu vaccine. A yearly flu vaccine is the best protection against getting the flu.

To learn more about specific steps you can take to help keep your community healthy, see the Partnership Center’s Seasonal Flu Guide for Community & Faith-based Organizations & Leaders (available in English and Spanish). You can also download Faith & Communities Fight Flu (in English and Spanish) to use as a bulletin or newsletter insert.

Thanks to the benefits provided by the Affordable Care Act, all plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace – as well as many others – must cover certain preventive services, including flu vaccinations, without charging you a copayment or coinsurance. Please see the Featured Update from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to learn more about enrolling in the Marketplace and the improvements that have been made to HealthCare.gov.

We’re eager to know how you’re spreading the word about fighting flu! To reach the HHS Partnership Center, email us at Partnerships@hhs.gov or call us at 202-358-3595.

We wish you, your family and community a healthy and happy holiday season.

Sincerely,

Acacia Bamberg Salatti, Acting Director
Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Featured Update:
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius: Improvement Dramatic Over Oct. 1

More consumers are shopping and enrolling at HealthCare.gov.

Wherever I go, I meet Americans who tell me how long they’ve been waiting for the security of affordable health coverage.

The new Marketplace is an opportunity for individuals without employer insurance to obtain coverage – with choice and competition that was previously unavailable. Many Americans and their families are eligible for financial assistance to make insurance even more affordable.

Yet, far too many of those who have visited HealthCare.gov have experienced problems. These problems are unacceptable.

So we’ve been working 24/7 to make improvements, and more consumers are successfully shopping online and enrolling in a health plan each week.

As a result, today’s user experience on HealthCare.gov is a dramatic improvement over where it was on Oct. 1. The site is running faster, it’s responding quicker and it can handle larger amounts of traffic.

Now, there will be exceptions, and (as with any website) we will continue to make improvements. But the system is now working smoothly for the vast majority of users.

There are many ways to sign up for coverage: online, by phone, in person and by mail. In many cases, you can also directly enroll through an insurance company.

To those Americans who have experienced difficulties online: Please do not give up. There is help available. You can call our 24/7 call center at 1-800-318-2596 for assistance in 150 languages. You can also find in-person support in your area (LocalHelp.HealthCare.gov).

For those who prefer to shop online, you may want to visit HealthCare.gov in off-peak hours when there is less traffic – mornings, evenings, or on weekends. Have your information ready when you log on, and comparison shop to get the best deal.

And remember, you have until Dec. 23 to sign up for coverage that will start Jan. 1, and until March 31 to get coverage in 2014.

If you are just learning about your new options, there is consumer friendly information about plans and prices before you apply.

For times when there is high demand, there is a new online queuing system that allows users to opt to receive an e-mail when it's a better time to come back.

At the end of the day, our goal remains the same: to give every American who wants it the opportunity to obtain quality affordable health coverage.

This article originally appeared in USA Today on Monday, December 2nd


New and More Robust HealthCare.gov Tools to Help You Enroll

Many people are now coming back to the Health Insurance Marketplace to shop for health insurance and sign up for a plan. We’ve made many improvements over the last eight weeks to help you complete your enrollment.

Here are some of the new features you’ll find on HealthCare.gov:

More robust window shopping. You can now see detailed information about each Marketplace health insurance plan offered in your area before you apply. This new tool will allow you to see plan prices displayed much more accurately, based on the household information you supply. You can compare plans, covered benefits, physician and hospital networks, and more. No login or application required. Just answer a few simple questions to see plans and prices in your area. You will still need to complete the application to find out how you can get lower costs, but this is a much enhanced version of earlier information and one more way you can get the information you need to help you get ready to enroll and find a plan that fits your needs and budget.

You can remove problem applications. If you’ve experienced problems filling out your online application, you can start over with a brand new application. To do this, you’ll first need to log in to your account; select your current application; and then choose to “Remove” the application.  You will then need to close out your web page and then log back in using your same account.  You can then start a brand new application.

Get help enrolling online, on the phone, or in person. You can get help where and when you need it. For example: You can start an application online and then call 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1 855-889-4325) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get help enrolling over the phone. You can also find in –person help from certified assisters in your area. Just enter your zip code to get started.

You can apply offline and continue your enrollment online. If you submitted a paper application or applied over the phone, you can create a Marketplace account to pull up your eligibility determination and complete your enrollment. To do this, you’ll need your application identification number, and you contact the call center to get it if you don’t know it.

Direct enrollment in a Marketplace plan. Many insurers are now offering the opportunity for you to enroll directly in a Marketplace plan with that company, whether through the insurance company’s website, an agent or broker, or an online health insurance seller.

These new functionality improvements are in addition to the hardware and software improvements we’ve made over the past eight weeks to improve the consumer experience, increase capacity, and ensure that you can successfully move through the entire enrollment process.

We’ll continue to make improvements to HealthCare.gov in the weeks and months ahead, and we encourage you to come back and explore your new coverage options. You have until December 23 to enroll in health coverage that can start as soon as January 1, 2014, and the Marketplace Open Enrollment period runs until March 31, 2014. Here are some shopping tips to get you started.

This article originally appeared on the HealthCare.gov blog.


Good News in Medicaid in States that are Expanding

Earlier this week, CMS released a new report that shows that, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more people will be gaining access to coverage through their state Medicaid program and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). According to the report, over 1.46 million people have been determined eligible to enroll in Medicaid or CHIP in the month of October through state Medicaid and CHIP agencies and through State-based Marketplaces.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, many consumers are eligible to enroll in private health insurance plans at the Health Insurance Marketplaces and save money on their monthly premiums, and many others are now eligible for their state’s Medicaid or CHIP programs.

The Affordable Care Act provides states new opportunities to expand their Medicaid programs to meet the needs of more low-income residents. In states that expand coverage, most individuals with incomes up to 133% of the Federal Poverty Level, or $15,282 for an individual and $31,322 for a family of four, will be eligible for Medicaid coverage that begins January 1, 2014. Not only is coverage good for new beneficiaries, it’s a good deal for states: Coverage for newly eligible adult beneficiaries is fully federally paid for under the Affordable Care Act for the first three years, with funding gradually dropping to 90 percent after that point.

Since October 1, when the new Health Insurance Marketplaces opened, we’ve been hearing stories about those who are enrolling in Medicaid and CHIP coverage every day. In October, in states that are fully participating in the expansion of Medicaid coverage made possible by the law, we’ve seen a more than 15 percent jump in applications compared to the average monthly enrollment in July through September. This shows a real need and desire for coverage for low income Americans.

These gains are made possible by collaboration between CMS and the states operating their programs on the ground. For example, states have been taking advantage of flexible, innovative ways to get people enrolled. Last spring, CMS released a set of options states could use to enroll Medicaid beneficiaries. One option is to reach out to people who qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), because they are also likely to be eligible for Medicaid. In participating states, we’ve seen nearly 223,000 individuals enroll in Medicaid using this strategy.

The increase in the number of applications submitted and in Medicaid determinations across the country is encouraging, and CMS looks forward to sharing additional information. The CMS report is the first in a series of monthly reports on state Medicaid and CHIP data. The data were reported to CMS from state Medicaid and CHIP agencies as part of the Medicaid and CHIP Performance Indicator process and supplements data on Marketplace activity released by HHS.


How a Health System and a Casino Joined with Community Partners to Feed Hungry Families

By Heidi Christensen, Associate Director for Community Engagement, HHS Partnership Center and Barbara Petee, Chief Advocacy and Government Relations Officer, ProMedica
 

By reclaiming more than 53,000 pounds of high-quality food, ProMedica Health System and its community partners are filling hungry stomachs and improving nutrition for individuals and families throughout Toledo, Ohio neighborhoods.

Listen and Learn: Their first step was to gain a firm understanding of what it takes to implement a successful food reclamation program. Turning to Detroit’s Forgotten Harvest, they learned that a proper process of reclamation could ensure that no unserved food would ever have to go to waste and that creative partnerships with restaurants, caterers, banquet facilities, grocers, and even large-scale, 24/7 operations such as a casino would exponentially increase their impact on the region’s food insecurity.

Staff and Training: Initially, two part-time ProMedica employees were trained and educated on the technique and proper process for reclaiming and repackaging unserved food at Hollywood Casino Toledo. Those two part-time food packers now serve as trainers for community partners who have joined the reclamation process.

The importance of partnership: ProMedica partnered with Seagate Food Bank of Northwest Ohio to distribute food to homeless shelters and other communal feeding sites. However, it was clear from the start that in order to deliver on the all components of this program well, ProMedica would need to broaden its relationships with a variety of food service providers, including sports and concert venues, banquet and conference facilities, grocers, and even smaller restaurants. ProMedica would also need to reach out to social service agencies to aid in the distribution of food.

Scalability and starting at home: Based on the success of the Hollywood Casino program, ProMedica Toledo Hospital started to repackage unserved food at its own facility. As the largest hospital in the system, it became the example and soon-to-be norm for other programs and the 12 hospitals in its network. Thanks to ProMedica’s Come to the Table national advocacy initiative to address hunger as a health issue, its reclamation and distribution model is becoming an exemplary practice for health systems and communities around the country to emulate.

Identifying hunger as a health issue: ProMedica screens patients for hunger prior to discharge in order to provide initial assistance (usually a one- to two-day supply of diet-appropriate food) and then ensure individuals are connected to community resources. It is a “treatment” plan that is based on a diagnosis of an individual’s health issues as presented in a clinical setting, as well as the environmental and social conditions in which he or she may live.

Results: More than 53,000 meals were served in Toledo communities, but ProMedica and its many community partners are committing to the reclamation of 100,000 pounds of salads, meats, side dishes, fruit, and other nutritious food to help people fill one of the most basic needs in their community.


New Blog Launched by the HHS Office on Women’s Health

By Dr. Nancy C. Lee, Director, HHS Office on Women's Health

I’m pleased to announce that the HHS Office on Women’s Health (OWH) now has a blog! We hope to spark a dialogue about important women’s health issues and hear your thoughts in the comments section.

Our posts will cover a broad range of topics, from important women’s health topics such as domestic violence or heart disease, to policy topics such as how the Affordable Care Act is improving the lives of women. We want to hear what you think about these issues and what important questions we should be considering. 

I invite you to join the conversation by sharing your thoughts in the comments section. You can also keep the discussion going by sharing blog posts with friends, neighbors, family members, or co-workers.

Help us spread the news! Faith and community leaders like you play an important role in promoting women’s health. Encourage the women in your community to visit the OWH blog to exchange ideas and learn about women’s health issues. 

Don’t miss your chance to join the conversation. Be the first to know when we publish a new post by subscribing to the OWH blog.


Supporting Older Adults’ Behavioral Health

Did you know that behavioral health problems, such as depression, substance abuse and misuse, and suicidal thoughts, are not a normal part of aging? Yet these issues impact the lives of many older adults. In fact, one in four persons aged 55 and over has experienced a behavioral health issue at some point in their life. Many older adults with behavioral health problems do not receive help with these issues, sometimes because they are not aware that treatment is available, due to stigma, or for other reasons.

Research shows that spirituality and social connectedness can be important in helping older adults maintain good behavioral health. Faith leaders can play a critical role in helping connect older adults who may be experiencing or at risk for a behavioral health issue with important resources.

For more information about older adult mental health, visit the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Council on Aging.

To find help and treatment, go to MentalHealth.gov.


Groundbreaking Federal Interagency Report on Women and Trauma-informed Approaches

In September, a groundbreaking report – Trauma-informed Approaches: Federal Activities and Initiatives – from the Federal Partners Committee on Women and Trauma was released. The report documents the projects, programs, and initiatives of more than three dozen federal agencies, departments, and offices – one of the largest interagency collaborations in federal government history. With agencies’ commitment to implementing gender-responsive, trauma-informed approaches, this report addresses the growing national interest in this issue, the work of the Federal Partners Committee, and the specific progress that participating agencies have made over the past three years (2010-2013), since the Committee’s publication of its first report in 2011. This new report, developed with support from SAMHSA’s National Center for Trauma-Informed Care, clearly demonstrates the application of trauma-informed approaches across a wide range of settings and systems. It encourages other governmental and nongovernmental agencies to implement a cross-sector, interagency, inter-systems’ realization, recognition, and response to trauma.

Download the report at SAMHSA’s National Center on Trauma-Informed Care page page on the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.


Let’s Move Faith and Communities

Upcoming We Can! Webinars

We invite you to join Let’s Move Faith and Communities for a special series of on-line training opportunities that equip health leaders to run the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) We Can! program in their communities. We Can! is a science-based national education program that provides parents, caregivers and communities with tools and strategies to help families improve food choices, increase physical activity and reduce screen time.

We Can! offers two core curricula:

  1. The Energize Our Families: Parent Program is a multiple-session curriculum designed to provide parents and caregivers with the knowledge and skills they need, along with practical tools, to help families maintain a healthy weight. Specific topics include shopping for healthy food on a budget, controlling portion sizes, increasing physical activity in youth and reducing family screen time.

  2. Media Smart Youth®: Eat, Think and Be Active! is an after-school program designed to help young people ages 11 to 13 understand the connections between media and health and to help youth build media analysis and production skills. The program uses nutrition and physical activity examples to help youth think critically about how media influences the choices they make.

To register for a We Can! webinar, please click on the title below:

Webinar on “Energize Our Families: Parent Program”

Wednesday, December 11, 1-3 p.m. EST

 

Webinar on “Media Smart Youth®: Eat, Think and Be Active!”

Thursday, December 19, 1-3 p.m. EST

 

We Can! Q&A Café

Thursday, December 12, 1-2 p.m. EST

The We Can! Q&A Café webinar has been planned specifically for health leaders who have previously participated in a two-hour webinar training on either the “Energize Our Families: Parent Program” or “Media-Smart Youth.”

Let's Move Faith & Communities and We Can! want to answer your questions about implementing Media-Smart Youth and the Parent Program in your community! We’ll also have a community leader share her experience planning and implementing We Can! in her community. Whether your efforts are underway or you’re looking for help to get started, we hope you'll update us on your work and let us know how we can support your efforts.


Upcoming Events

Interactive Webinars on the Health Care Law

The HHS Partnership Center has updated webinars on the health care law for faith and community leaders. All webinars are open to the public and include a question and answer session.

To participate in one of the webinars, please select your preferred topic from the list below and submit the necessary information. Please click on the title of the webinar and fill out the registration form. After registering you will receive an e-mail confirmation containing information about joining the webinar. Please contact us at ACA101@hhs.gov if you have problems registering or if you have any questions about the health care law. All webinars are one hour.

Please note that the first 1,000 people who join each webinar at the start time are able to attend. If there is significant interest in a webinar, we will do our best to schedule another session. If possible, please use your computer speakers to listen to the audio portion of the webinar.

 

Latinos and the Health Insurance Marketplace (in Spanish)

Wednesday, December 11 at 3:30 p.m. ET

According to the Census Bureau, nearly 16 million Hispanics are uninsured. When key parts of the health care law take effect in 2014, there will be a new way for individuals, families and small businesses to get health insurance. This webinar is co-sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families and the HHS Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

 

Latinos y la Ley De Cuidado de la  Salud a Bajo Precio

*en español*

Organizado por el Centro para las Asociaciones Religiosas y Comunitarias del Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos de los Estados Unidos

11 de Diciembre 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. ET

Para inscribirse para participar en la presentaciόn, haga clic aquí

Después de inscribirse usted recibirá un correo electrόnico de con más informaciόn sobre la presentaciόn.

Por favor envίe sus preguntas, comentarios y sugerencias a ACA101@hhs.gov

 

Affordable Care Act 101 – The Health Insurance Marketplace

Tuesday, December 17 at 4:00 p.m. ET

A presentation on the main provisions of the Affordable Care Act, the health care law. Information on the Health Insurance Marketplace, how to enroll in health insurance and key websites with resources on the law will be shared. We will end with a question and answer session. Please send any questions to ACA101@hhs.gov prior to December 17 at noon ET.


Empowering America's Grassroots

Grant Opportunities

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Grants Forecast is a database of planned grant opportunities proposed by its agencies. Each Forecast record contains actual or estimated dates and funding levels for grants that the agency intends to award during the fiscal year. Forecast opportunities are subject to change based on enactment of congressional appropriations.

When funding is available and an agency is ready to accept applications, the agency will issue an official notice, known as a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), which will be available on how to apply.

As always, the final section of our newsletter includes an updated grants listing that faith-based and community non-profits can pursue.  All of these grant programs are competitive.  It is important to review the funding announcement thoroughly to ensure that the grant opportunity is one that is appropriate to your organization’s mission, size, and scope.

 

Grants Information

Title: Transitional Living Program and Maternity Group Homes

Description: The Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau is accepting applications for the Transitional Living Program and for the Maternity Group Homes funding opportunity announcement. The purpose of these grants is to provide runaway and homeless youth an alternative to law enforcement, child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice systems.  

Link to Full Announcement: Link to Full Announcement

Last day to Apply: January 15, 2014

Grant administered by the: Family and Youth Services Bureau

 

Title: Academic-Community Partnership Conference Series

Description: The purpose of this grant opportunity is to bring together academic institutions/organizations and community organizations to identify opportunities for addressing health disparities through the use of Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR). The objectives of meetings conducted as part of this award will be to: (1) establish and/or enhance academic-community partnerships; (2) identify community-driven research priorities, and (3) develop long-term collaborative CBPR research agendas.

Link to Full Announcement: Link to Full Announcement

Last day to Apply: October 17, 2014

Grant administered by the: National Institutes of Health

 

Grant Announcements

Affordable Care Act helps National Health Service Corps Increase Access to Primary Care

Over 5 years, the Obama Administration has supported nearly 14,000 health care providers practicing in the communities that need them most

The National Health Service Corps made more than 4,500 loan repayment and scholarship awards to clinicians and students in fiscal year 2013 thanks to an investment of more than $284 million from the Affordable Care Act. Grants were also made to 32 states to support state loan repayment programs thanks to this funding. This is part of the Administration’s commitment to strengthen and diversify the nation’s workforce to meet growing demand.

With historic investments from the Affordable Care Act and the Recovery Act, the National Health Service Corps has supported nearly 14,000 health care providers between 2009 and 2013. A new report shows that more than half of the nearly 1,000 Corps scholars in the pipeline report that they are minorities. The report also includes new state-level data on awards. 

“Because of the Affordable Care Act, the National Health Service Corps is providing loans and scholarships to more doctors, nurses, and other health care providers, so more people get the care they need,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “National Health Service Corps clinicians are providing care to approximately 9.3 million patients across the country.”

The National Health Service Corps provides loan repayment and scholarships to health care providers who commit to practicing in the areas of the United States that need them most.

There are nearly 8,900 primary care clinicians currently providing care in the National Health Service Corps. The number of providers has increased by nearly two and half times since 2008.  In addition to Corps clinicians currently providing care, nearly 1,000 students, residents, and health providers in the National Health Service Corps pipeline are preparing to go into practice.

“More than 85 percent of National Health Service Corps  providers continue to serve in high need areas two years after their service commitment is met, “ said  HRSA Administrator Dr. Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N. “The Affordable Care Act’s investment in the Corps  helps ensure underserved communities have access to quality health care.”

 

SAMHSA awards up to $56.9 million in grants over four years in FY 13 to support safe schools and healthy students

In October, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced it awarded up to $56.9 million in grants over four years to states across the nation for the Safe Schools/Healthy Students program. This round of grants will run from FY 2013 through FY 2016 and will support state and community partnerships to create safe and supportive schools and communities by building partnerships among educational, behavioral health, and criminal/juvenile justice systems.  

The Safe Schools/Healthy Students State Program develops and implements evidence-based programs, effective policies, and innovative strategies that address youth violence and promote the wellness of children, youth, and families. These grants will support work to increase the number of children and youth who have access to behavioral health services; decrease the number of students who abuse substances; increase supports for early childhood development; improve school climates; and reduce the number of students who are exposed to violence.

“With this investment, SAMHSA is continuing its commitment to safe and secure schools where children can focus on learning and develop their full potential,” said Pamela Hyde, SAMHSA Administrator. “Safe, nurturing school environments can help children achieve academic success, healthy emotional development, and fulfilled lives as adults.”

Earlier this year, President Obama proposed a new $130 million initiative in FY 2014 to make it easier for young people, adults, and families dealing with mental health problems to seek help and support. This initiative includes $40 million to enable more states to build on the Safe Schools/Healthy Students program by helping teachers recognize early signs of mental illness in students and improving referrals and access to mental health services.

In terms of the FY 2013 Safe Schools/Healthy Students State Program, SAMHSA plans to award seven grants of up to $2,035,014 each annually over the course of four years.  Actual awards amounts are subject to the availability of funds.

The following are the grantees and their annual amounts:

 

Grantee                                                                                        Amount

State of Connecticut                                 Hartford, Conn.               $2,035,014


Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instruction        Madison, Wis.                 $2,035,014


New Hampshire Dept. of Education          Concord, N.H.                  $2,026,640


State of Nevada                                       Carson City, Nev.            $2,035,011


Michigan Department of Education           Lansing, Mich.                 $2,035,014


Ohio Department of Mental Health           Columbus, Ohio              $2,035,014


Pennsylvania Department of Public          Harrisburg, Pa.               $2,035,014

Works, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse