Expansion of Outreach for Insurance Enrollment of Native American Children

Background: Past outreach efforts were created many years ago to address the need to remain part of the community, educate the community about various health related issues, gather information about community needs, and increase the client population. Recent funding has allowed for a higher dedication to staff for outreach efforts to meet the needs of the high rate of uninsured American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) children in the clinic and service area.

Objective: To reach AI/AN children who are not currently enrolled in a Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) program and to reach beyond the current and usual client pool to a larger and new client pool.

Description: Seattle Indian Healthboard (SIHB) has trained all staff to talk about CMS programs and half of the staff are trained in application assistance. The ability to outreach outside of the normal community events has allowed for an increase in events that were hosted or attended by staff. Outreach was expanded to to nearly all the Native events in the area, as well as non-Native focused events. The Community Services Department Manager is responsible for outreach efforts and assigns a lead Children’s Outreach Specialist to document efforts, find new outreach possibilities, and help coordinate staff and materials for outreach.

Results/Accomplishments/Evidence: The agency increased outreach efforts by nearly 210% from 77 events in 2011 to 161 events in 2012. An increase in the awareness of the SIHB among the larger community and the organization has increased the number of new clients at the SIHB. In addition, the number of applications taken by resource advocates/enrollment specialists have increased since the inception of our increased outreach efforts. In 2011 over 600 Medicaid applications were processed at the SIHB. Over the last 2 years, they have sent letters home with students in 8 school districts and sent letters to each school counselor or family support worker, for a total of 2,356 letters sent to AI/AN school children in addition to a few hundred sent to clients.

Population of Focus: American Indian or Alaska Native, Adolescents, Children

Setting: Community center, Community health center, Mental health clinic, Parks & recreation, Primary care facility, School, Grocery stores, Urban

Level of Intervention: Community, Family, Individual

Resources/Qualifications Needed: Holding 160 events a year required a budget of $60,000 ( $2,500 for event-related fees, $3,000 in mileage, $4,500 in administrative, and about $50,000 in wages) plus a dedication to working with many partners, networking, and an open mind to find new opportunities. The majority of this outreach effort is funded by a Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) grant, however each of the community services department staff have a portion of their time dedicated to outreach efforts.


Jenny Serpa, Children’s Outreach Specialist
Seattle Indian Healthboard
PO Box 3364, Seattle, WA 98114