Enrollment Specialist and Tribal Outreach Positions

Background: High rates of uninsured children, uninsured American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs), and uninsured individuals in King County in Washington make outreach and education about CMS programs and eligibility criteria to these populations critical. King County has one of the largest uninsured children’s populations in Washington State. AI/ANs are one of the largest uninsured populations in the state as well. In Washington, a child whose family is above 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is eligible for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), but is required to pay a monthly fee. Those  who are enrolled in a tribe are exempt from this fee and are also able to opt out of the managed care model that the state currently uses. Outreach in the urban area is a specific need due to the dispersed AI/AN population. Schools might have only one or two AI/AN children, and not everyone participates in all cultural events. Objective: To reach out to the uninsured AI/AN population about Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) programs, including CHIP, to provide information about eligibility, enrollment, and program benefits.

Description: The Seattle Indian Healthboard (SIHB) does outreach to  individuals who are not enrolled in public insurance programs and might be eligible, but also to educate those who are currently enrolled about beneficial provisions and other opportunitiesto meet their health needs. The organization conducts outreach during various cultural events (coastal, plains, and urban) as well as non-cultural events to connect with the target population. SIHB also conducts mailings as part of its outreach efforts to enroll AI/AN children. The goal is to write a letter to each uninsured child in the client population at least every quarter, and to write a letter to each AI/AN child in King County at least once a year to be sent through the Indian Education programs and School Districts.

SIHB also offers enrollment assistance to address comprehension and other barriers to the application process. The organization employs an ADATSA enrollment specialist, CHIP and Children’s Outreach Specialist, and Enrollment Specialists who are all focused on CMS programs and the application process.

This level and focus of outreach started at the end of 2010 a few months after being awarded a CHIPRA outreach grant. The Community Services Department previously conducted outreach and education but only at a handful of usual places/events each month. In the last 2 years, they have gone from attending/hosting approximately 40 events in 2010 to 77 in 2011 and 161 (projected) in 2012 (with proper documentations of events, mileage, approximate number of individuals at the event, and how the event and event analysis). After expanding outreach to nearly all the Native events in the area, branched out to non-Native specific events such as summer fairs, back to school events, health fairs, community center events, and more. In the last few months they have added Goodwill and grocery stores to the outreach efforts.

Results/Accomplishments/Evidence: As part of CHIPRA grant, stated attending 4 AI/AN children specific events per month and host 1 event per quarter. Have far exceed that the quota. There has been a decrease in uninsured clients at the clinic. The organization has processed more applications. Efforts to enroll children have been recognized by the State.

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

Setting: Community center, Community health center, Faith-based organization, Media, Parks & recreation, Primary care facility, Reservation, School, Urban

Level of Intervention: Community, Family, Individual, Tribal

Resources/Qualifications Needed: Community Services Department Manager, “lead” Children’s Outreach Specialist to document efforts, find new outreach possibilities, and help coordinate staff and materials for outreach. Flyers, brochures, social media.

Partners: Volunteers, community partnerships


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