Colorado Covering Kids and Families (CKF) staff assembled the following resources for Colorado schools interested in starting or expanding outreach and enrollment efforts for Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+). This toolkit will be updated regularly, so check back often! If you have comments, questions, or suggestions related to CKF's new toolkit, email Stephanie Denzin at sdenzin@cchn.org or click here to take our short survey.

For general information, click on the links below:

The CKF Coalition, Agency Partners Work Group, and Health Policy Work Group provide helpful updates, networking opportunities, and support to people who do outreach and enrollment work. Participants include representation from many schools and school districts, in addition to other outreach and enrollment professionals across the state. For more information on CKF’s Coalition or work groups, click here.

CKF would like to thank Karina Delaney, Kim Erickson, Holly Heartso, Rob Hendershot, Charlena Hill, Shannon Huska, Brenda LaCombe, Andy Lucas, Jill Mathews, Stacey Moody, Emily Moore, Kristin Pullen, The Colorado Health Foundation, Judy Weaver, and Clinton Whatley. Without your knowledge and input, this toolkit would not have been possible!

Outreach includes activities that inform families about Medicaid and CHP+, screen for potential eligibility, and facilitate enrollment and reenrollment through application assistance. Outreach also includes helping families access services. Once an application is submitted and the applicant is found eligible, they are enrolled and notified.

Research demonstrates that health coverage impacts children’s lives. Children are more likely to have a medical home, access to preventative care services, and get the care they need if they are insured. Uninsured children, by comparison, are less likely to receive primary care or have access to vision, hearing, dental, and immunization services. Having health insurance improves social and emotional development, fosters school readiness and performance, and minimizes health disparities (Annals of Family Medicine, 2009). Healthy students come ready to learn, are better educated, and enjoy greater success.

Who do we need to get involved in our outreach efforts?

  • IT department
  • Director of Nutrition
  • Support staff
  • Principal
  • Registrar or enrollment staff
  • Medicaid billing person
  • Secretaries’ supervisor
  • School nurse
  • District grant writer
  • School-based health center (if available)
  • Outreach and enrollment staff (if available)

It is important for schools to work closely with their Nutrition Services department if sharing Free and Reduced School Lunch data to enroll eligible students. See the “Express Lane Eligibility School Lunch Project” section below for more information.

You may want to establish a relationship with your Information Technology (IT) department and district grant writer. Your IT department can help set up a database program that tracks insurance status information so an outreach coordinator can easily access a list of families who identified that their child does not have health insurance. Your district grant writer can help apply for various funding opportunities to support your outreach and enrollment work. See the “Funding Opportunities” section below for more information.

In addition, individual schools may want to consider becoming trained to be a Certified Application Assistance Site (CAAS). CAAS are agencies that assist families in completing medical assistance applications and are certified to verify citizenship and identity documentation. For more information on CAAS, click here.

One outreach strategy is for schools to identify uninsured children already enrolled in the Free and Reduced Lunch program who are also likely eligible for Medicaid or CHP+. CKF published a brief, Innovative School-Based Outreach and Enrollment Tactics for Medicaid and CHP+, highlighting three school-based pilot projects that explored this approach. The pilot sites identified low-income, uninsured children and determined eligibility for Medicaid and CHP+ on site when families provided information on a Free and Reduced Lunch application. This paper provides insights into how to get started doing school-based outreach and enrollment, keys to success, lessons learned, and key partnerships.

The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) implemented Express Lane Eligibility (ELE) using Free and Reduced Lunch application information on Oct. 14, 2011, for the 2011-2012 school year. ELE is authorized by the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009. The ELE School Lunch project is available to all Colorado school districts and participation is voluntary. 

It is important for schools to work closely with their Nutrition Services department if sharing Free and Reduced School Lunch data to enroll eligible students. Below are a few resources that will help facilitate and build this relationship:

  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) memo on Free and Reduced Lunch information sharing
  • Colorado Department of Education (CDE) guidance letter on disclosure of Free and Reduced Lunch information
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services guidance letter on ELE option
  • CDE’s 2011-2012 Free and Reduced Meal Benefit Packet – see page 11, part 5 for sample opt out language, allowed by USDA
  • Sample memorandum of understanding describing a data-sharing agreement between a school district and eligibility site. Contact CKF to receive a copy in Microsoft Office Word to edit for your own use.

In addition, HCPF has a PowerPoint presentation on the ELE School Lunch manual interim process for the 2011-2012 school year and a helpful contact sheet.

For more information on HCPF’s ELE School Lunch project, please contact Patricia Garcia at patricia.garcia@state.co.us.

Colorado School Health Services Program
HCPF, in collaboration with CDE, administers the Colorado School Health Services Program. School districts participating in the program can receive federal matching funds for health services provided to certain students on Medicaid at public schools. For more information on receiving federal reimbursement under the School Health Services Program, click here.

Medicaid Administrative Claiming
Medicaid Administrative Claiming (MAC) offers reimbursement to schools for the cost of administrative and outreach activities that support the Medicaid program. For more information, read the MAC section of the School Health Services Program manual and review HCPF’s School Health Services Program MAC training.

For more information on the Colorado School Health Services Program and MAC, please contact Shannon Huska at shannon.huska@state.co.us.

TCHF Funding Opportunity
The Colorado Health Foundation (TCHF) has a special funding opportunity for increasing enrollment of eligible students in Medicaid and CHP+ by funding partnerships between school districts and agencies that can process applications for Medicaid and CHP+. Click here for more information.

School districts interested in starting or expanding their outreach and enrollment work have found that it is helpful to identify contacts at other districts who have experience establishing and running an outreach and enrollment program. The following contacts are willing to be resources for you as you begin exploring outreach and enrollment opportunities in your district:

Gabriela Aguilar
Community IMT Program Manager, Healthy Kids Initiative
Boulder County Housing and Human Services
(303) 678-6074
GAguilar@bouldercounty.org

Rob Hendershot
Supervisor, Medicaid Department
Denver Public Schools
(720) 423-8139
Rob_Hendershot@dpsk12.org

Kristin Pullen
Community Resource Specialist, Student and Family Outreach Program
Adams 12 Five Star School District
(720) 972-6012
Kristin.Pullen@adams12.org

Karina Delaney
Community Resource Specialist, Student and Family Outreach Program
Adams 12 Five Star School District
(720) 972-6011
Karina.Delaney@adams12.org

Judy Weaver
School Medicaid Consultant
Aurora Public Schools
(303) 326-2000, ext. 28535
jaweaver@aps.k12.co.us

Clinton Whatley
Outreach and Enrollment Specialist
Cherry Creek Schools
(720) 554-5063
cwhatley2@cherrycreekschools.org

In addition, the Consortium is a Colorado nonprofit organization that provides training, technical assistance, and claiming assistance to school districts participating in the Medicaid School Health Services program. For more information, email info@coconsortium.org or call (303) 217-8460.