Huntington-based Valley Health Systems CEO Steve Shattls said one part involves informing clients during health clinic visits about how enrollment procedures work. Whether they actually decide to enroll is another matter.
More difficult is the task of finding and persuading people who now only seek help in hospital emergency rooms to instead acquire insurance through the health care program so that they can see regular doctors.
"Surely we have concerns about reaching people in the general community who maybe seek care outside of a primary care access point," Shattls said. "There may be people that resist the enrollment for various reasons. I don't know what the impact is going to be. I hope we insure many more West Virginians than are currently insured."
According to the AP data, $14 million in state-awarded grants will be spent on outreach programs. More than two-dozen health centers statewide will share $2.5 million from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration to hire 53 workers who will assist the uninsured with enrollment. And $600,000 in federal grants will be doled out to community groups.
Federal funding for the community health clinic outreach is based on the number of patients. Valley Health Systems, which has clinics in 30 locations in six counties, will receive the most funding, $230,000.
"We plan in our communities to do what we can to get the word out," Shattls said. "It's like with anything else, are we going to be able to get them to that place where they can see the enrollment forms and get online and work with staff? Until the time comes . . . we'll know then. But we're going to begin to gear up."
In addition, Bryant said foundation-funded smaller grants will help train nonprofit and faith-based groups, libraries and health departments statewide so they can further help residents at the local level understand the enrollment process.
Specifics of the state outreach programs were unavailable. Jeremiah Samples, an expert on the federal law who recently moved from the state Insurance Commission to become assistant secretary for the Department of Health and Human Resources, didn't immediately return a telephone message Wednesday.