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Program receives $62,000 grant

By Lori O'Brien


SPRINGFIELD The Community Health/Health Care for the Homeless Department at Mercy Medical Center has received a $62,000 state grant to assist in MassHealth and post-enrollment services for 300 individuals between now and June.

The MassHealth program provides comprehensive health insurance or help in paying for private health insurance to almost 1 million children, families, seniors and people with disabilities in the state.

"Our goal is to assist individuals with insurance so they can be assured access to quality health care," said Doreen Fadus, Director, Community Health/Health Care for the Homeless Department.

Fadus added that the grant also allows case managers to provide assistance with choosing a primary care provider, translation services, transportation assistance and a support fund to help with additional needs that may include bus tokens and access for birth certificates.

"The support fund will assist clients with needs to acquire identification, transportation anything to help with their application and post enrollment," said Fadus.

The grant centers on Hampden County with a "population of focus" including those of Spanish, Russian, Somali and Mexican descent, according to Fadus. Case managers will be available weekdays at several sites in Springfield and Holyoke during business hours.

"This grant will assist community members with connecting to insurance and understanding the effects of the new health care plan," said Fadus, adding "many individuals may not realize they are eligible or not know how to go about accessing services. This grant will assist them."

Fadus said the Community Health/Health Care for the Homeless Department was an ideal department to seek this grant because they currently have funding for a MassHealth grant to work with the homeless and the Vietnamese population.

"Our experience in providing MassHealth enrollment services will complement this new grant nicely and the current staff has participated in numerous training programs and will serve as a resource to the new staff," said Fadus.

Fadus added the case managers are committed in the grant to post-enrollment services to ensure that individuals receive access, sign up with a primary care provider and follow through with needed medical care.

For more information on the services available, contact the Community Health/Health Care for the Homeless Department weekdays at 748-9064.