The University of Kentucky’s Center for Excellence in Rural Health is one of 38 organizations to receive funding from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services. The $1 million grant will be used to help children in Appalachia get the health insurance they need, as well as provide to families that are eligible to coverage. Many Kentucky families are unaware they qualify for healthcare coverage so do not look into signing up for them or their children. This is especially difficult in rural parts of Eastern Kentucky, where healthcare providers have a hard time gaining access to those that need it most.
The bipartisan federal Medical Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) legislation that provides these grants focuses on increasing the number of children in Kentucky that have access to healthcare. According to a news release from University of Kentucky, less than 1 in 20 children do not have healthcare currently, which reflects gains since the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
Director for the Center for Excellence in Rural Health Dr. Fran Feltner says providing healthcare for children in Eastern Kentucky is vital for the future of Kentucky.
“It is a proven fact that having access to healthcare is important for their mental, physical, social growth. We’re really happy to be able to provide the services to Appalachia.”
With current talks in Frankfort about overhauling Medicaid in Kentucky, Centers such as this hope to further the progress that began with the Affordable Care Act and keep the momentum going to allow children access to Medicaid.
Doctor Feltner says if changes do occur within Medicaid after Governor Matt Bevin's proposal, her employees will be trained accordingly.
“Receiving this grant at this time is very timely with the changes that are happening in Medicaid. Trying to help people understand what the eligibility really is, community health workers will all be trained in the new system to help people.”
The first of three public health talks regarding the Bevin overhaul took place Wednesday.