30 WV groups get money to help uninsured - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

30 WV groups get money to help uninsured

CHARLESTON (NEWS RELEASE) -- Thirty nonprofit organizations and agencies throughout West Virginia are receiving mini grants to assist with enrollment in the new health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act."

"This is a very innovative program," said Perry Bryant, Executive Director of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care (WVAHC). "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 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. In addition to the funding, WVAHC will provide training to the community assisters, including privacy training, and provide on-going technical support. "Now that the Affordable Care Act is being implemented and the uninsured are gaining access to health insurance coverage, it is important for community assisters to have up-to-date information and can provide timely and accurate information to the uninsured," said Bryant.

The four foundations that pooled their resources to fund the mini grant program are the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the Highmark Foundation, the Sisters of St. Joseph Charitable Fund, and The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation.

"Every day, the Benedum Foundation strives to improve the lives of the citizens of West Virginia. The opportunities for people to gain health insurance coverage through the Marketplace, and obtain care for their health and the health of their family, are extraordinary. However, we know that people have many questions about this new system. The provision of community assisters is one way to help individuals receive factual information and make referrals so the uninsured can get coverage" said Kim Tieman, Project Director for the Benedum Foundation.

"We have a significant opportunity to greatly improve both the quality of life and the health status of thousands of West Virginians," said Catherine McAlister for the Highmark Foundation. The Highmark Foundation is a Pittsburgh-based foundation whose mission is to improve the health, wellbeing and quality of life of the individuals who reside in communities served by Highmark Health Services. "Individuals and families will have access to wellness activities and prevention programs. Being insured is an important factor in improving health status."

"The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation is pleased to join with the other Foundation Partners to provide funding for the mini-grant program. Access to health care is a critical component for individuals and families to reach their potential. Healthy individuals and families are a critical component for a community to reach its potential" said Becky Ceperley, President and CEO of The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation.

"Because the Affordable Care Act is happening, we wanted to support any efforts to provide useful/'how-to' information to give the uninsured the opportunity for inclusion and access to health insurance," said Cynthia Drennan, Executive Director of the Sisters of St. Joseph Charitable Fund.

The groups receiving the mini grants include free clinics, family resource networks (FRNs), 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 thirty 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.

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