For months, South Kern’s Building Healthy Communities (BHC) partners have been meeting and organizing efforts for a major WE Connect Health Care Enrollment and Resources Fair. Held on May 18, the event brought together dozens of partners and engaged more than 1,500 residents. The effort helped connect families to free health care enrollment assistance and information about new coverage opportunities under the Affordable Care Act. This event is only the beginning for South Kern’s ongoing efforts to enroll residents into coverage opportunities and link them to a health home for preventive health care services. Along with local partners, hundreds of youth from Arvin High’s Health Careers Academy and the Dolores Huerta Foundation Youth Collaborative filled the Kern County Fairgrounds for over six hours, serving families from across the county.
Leading health coverage enrollment efforts was the Building Healthy Communities- South Kern Health Action Team which included Clinica Sierra Vista, Kern Medical Center Health Plan, Kern County Health and Human Services and the Kern County Children’s Health Initiative. Together they organized over 21 certified application assistors and other team staff to screen over 400 individuals for existing health care coverage programs such as Medi-Cal or the county-run Kern Medical Health Plan (Low Income Health Program). Residents were also screened for future coverage opportunities under Covered California and the expected Medi-Cal expansion. Over 360 enrolled for health coverage and over 30 were found to be likely eligible for enrollment in October through Medi-Cal expansion. Local partners will lead the charge to follow up with residents to ensure they receive the ongoing help they need.
South Kern’s BHC community partners including Clinica Sierra Vista, Kern Health Systems, the Family Resource Centers, Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, United Farm Workers Foundation and the Dolores Huerta Foundation, Boys and Girls Club, Paramount and Grimmay Farms among others led a strategic canvassing effort to do door-to-door, flyer drop offs and phone banking outreach prior to the event. Through these canvasing efforts, families considered hardest to reach were educated about potential low-cost coverage opportunities available to them and informed about how to prepare for onsite enrollment. Local partners will be able to build upon this momentum to support continued efforts around outreach and enrollment this year.
As a one-stop-shop, a core number of other services were offered not only as an incentive to attend, but to drive home the message about preventive care. With the help of 46 partner agencies and organizations over 800 attendees received free medical screenings such as dental, vision, glucose and BMI screenings. All residents requiring follow up care were connected to local clinics where they will be able to receive low cost treatment. Families were also connected to important programs, from CalFresh to discounted utility programs. Private partners like Walgreens and Intuit also stepped up to connect families to helpful resources.
Thanks to the outreach and education done by media, including KGET, KBAK, KUZZ, To Your Health, New America Media, De-Bug Youth Media, Univision and Telemundo, coordinated messaging helped provide the information that residents needed to take advantage of the onsite resources available to them and the new health coverage opportunities available to them in the future.
Click here to go to the event’s Storify page
by Annalisa Robles
Program Manager, South Kern
May 21, 2013