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Worker to assist residents with Medicaid enrollment thanks to Harvest grant

LEFT TO RIGHT: Emily Roller, child health insurance program manager at VHCF, Denise Konrad, director of strategic initiatives and policy, Ann Walker, Project Connect outreach advocate at the Martinsville-Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness, and Sheryl Agee, impact officer and team leader at The Harvest Foundation

MARTINSVILLE – The Harvest Foundation will partner with the Virginia Health Care Foundation (VHCF) in its SignUpNow/Project Connect initiative in Martinsville-Henry County to assist area residents in applying for Medicaid coverage.

Harvest is providing a two-year $65,000 grant to VHCF to employ an outreach worker to assist local, uninsured residents in gathering needed documents and successfully enrolling in Medicaid. Although coverage is available, enrollment is not automatic for newly eligible residents, according to the grant application.

To apply for coverage, individuals must complete a seven-page application with multiple attachments to document their citizenship and income eligibility. The process can be overwhelming and create challenges for people with limited experience applying for government programs or those with limited literacy skills. According to the grant application, the outreach worker will be able to serve an additional 700 residents over the next two years, or approximately 16 percent of eligible residents.

“We are pleased to partner with the Virginia Health Care Foundation, which has a strong history of working with the Coalition for Health and Wellness to aid local residents in addressing barriers to health care access,” said Sheryl Agee, impact officer and team leader at The Harvest Foundation. “This opportunity will provide additional resources to help our community connect eligible local residents with much-needed healthcare coverage.”

Deborah Oswalt, executive director of VHCF, said she is excited about the productive partnership with The Harvest Foundation.

“(This grant) will help bring greatly needed health care to many of the 3,800 uninsured citizens of Martinsville and Henry County who are newly eligible for Medicaid health insurance, reduce or eliminate the large percentage of local individuals who have medical debt, and, ultimately, help create more health care jobs,” she said.

This project aligns with the workforce goal of Harvest’s strategic plan by developing a ready workforce.

“Access to healthcare ultimately will improve health indicators because area residents can receive the medical treatment and preventative screenings they need,” said Agee. “Access to this free or low-cost health care will result in a healthier, more productive workforce, which is critical to revitalizing Martinsville-Henry County.”

The Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission provided a matching grant for the outreach worker. The Martinsville-Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness will provide office space and supervision for the worker, and the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services and the Virginia Department of Social Services will meet quarterly with the worker to ensure they stay up-to-date on any changes in policy or implementation practices.

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