Thirty nonprofit organizations across the state are receiving grants to help with enrollment in the new health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act.
The grants will fund "community assisters" who will arrange for educational programs and connect the uninsured to navigators and in-person assisters - people trained to enroll the uninsured. The West Virginians for Affordable Health Care will provide training for those who will be helping with enrollment, which will include privacy training and ongoing technical support.
"This is a very innovative program," said Perry Bryant, executive director of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care. "Four different foundations have pooled their resources so that nonprofit organizations, including faith-based organizations and local agencies, can assist in enrolling the uninsured in the expanded Medicaid program and private health insurance policies."
The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the Highmark Foundation, the Sisters of St. Joseph Charitable Fund and The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation are funding the grant program.
The groups receiving the mini grants include free clinics, family resource networks, faith-based organizations, grassroots community groups and local health departments. The groups cover different areas of the state, including the Eastern Panhandle, the Northern Panhandle, north central West Virginia, the Mid-Ohio Valley, Kanawha Valley and southern West Virginia.
The 30 organizations that received funding for community assisters and their locations include:
Beckley Health Right, Beckley, Hinton and Princeton; Berkeley County Health Department, Martinsburg; Big Creek People in Action in McDowell County; Boys Girls Club of Parkersburg; Brooke County Health Department, Wellsburg; Catholic Charities. Wheeling; Christian Help, Mingo County; Community Connections, Princeton; Covenant House, Charleston; Eastern Pan Free Clinic, Ranson; Future Generations, Franklin; Good Samaritan Clinic, Parkersburg; Greenbrier County Health Department, Ronceverte; Hancock County Health Department, New Cumberland; West Virginia Health Right, Charleston; Lewis County FRN, Weston; Marshall University, Huntington; Mineral County FRN. Keyser; Morgan County Starting Points, Berkeley Springs; Milan Puskar Health Right, Morgantown; Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Community Corrections, Parkersburg; Nicholas County Starting Point Center, Richwood; Partnership of African American Churches, Institute; Raleigh County CAP, Beckley; Southern Appalachian Labor School, Oakhill; Taylor County FRN, Grafton; Tucker County FRN, Parsons; WV FREE, Charleston; and West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, Charleston.