Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, Laramie County, WY
Cheyenne Regional Medical Center in Laramie County, WY, heads a statewide effort to educate and facilitate health insurance exchange enrollment among the uninsured and underinsured.
The “Enroll Wyoming” initiative is a partnership led by the Wyoming Institute of Population Health, a division of Cheyenne Regional, using a $400,000 navigator grant received from the Department of Health and Human Services.
The Institute came together with previous community partners from an earlier Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Health Care Innovation Award to launch the “Enroll Wyoming” campaign. The statewide collaboration includes one website, www.enrollwyo.org, which helps to limit confusion since it’s the go-to resource. Individuals can also call 2-1-1 from anywhere in Wyoming to speak with operators who have been trained as navigators and have a calendar of local campaign events.
Those local events are the main strategy for outreach. The campaign deploys navigator teams as message experts into the communities via education and access events hosted and promoted by “trusted messenger allies” – organizations that the public trusts and feels comfortable going to such as hospitals, libraries and behavioral health clinics. “Enroll Wyoming” relies on its allies to identify and reach out to those who have been underinsured or uninsured in the past few years or are working on payments.
“Leveraging those established relationships where we provide the expertise and our allies connect us with their community has been our secret sauce,” said Tracy Brosius, who helps to lead “Enroll Wyoming” and serves as operations manager for the Wyoming Institute of Population Health. “Wyoming is a frontier state with over 98,000 square miles to cover, so we have to go to them.”
More than 75 events have been held since October 1, with 18 of the 26 hospitals in the state participating thus far. In addition to hosting events, hospitals have campaign navigator teams conduct staff briefings on the health exchange to dispel myths and answer questions.
“We’ve created a whole other mini army of advocates in each of those communities,” said Brosius. “Hospital staff have extended our reach beyond events, creating a huge ripple effect.”
That ripple effect is critical to Wyoming, where Medicaid hasn’t been expanded and the uninsured rates are among the highest in the nation. While it’s difficult to know the number registered or enrolled thus far, “Enroll Wyoming’s” goal is to enroll those 50% of the state’s 83,000 uninsured who qualify for tax credits.
“Our larger vision is about building bridges between health care and the community – and different bridges,” Brosius said. “Our role is to ultimately move all of the uninsured into the insured status, and we see this collaboration as a learning laboratory where we can share best practices.”
For more on “Enroll Wyoming,” visit www.enrollwyo.org. There you can access a brochure on the value of health insurance and how it works.