SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Public officials and several community organizations are collaborating to address the high number of uninsured children, families, and individuals in Utah.
According to Intermountain Healthcare, IHC, the focus of the partnership is to increase the number of families and individuals with health insurance coverage throughout the state and improve overall access to quality health care.
The collaboration includes government leaders, local nonprofit organizations, school districts, and tribal organizations.
“An example is the Utah Health Policy Project and their efforts in providing health coverage for uninsured families. The Utah Health Policy Project utilizes health access assisters as community and family advocates,” emphasizes the team.
According to IHC, it is essential for every community to receive the help and assistance that all humans deserve. “Health access assisters have become crucial to navigating health insurance, especially for families experiencing cultural or systemic financial barriers.”
“Health access assisters live in the community that they work and help in and come from diverse backgrounds. They typically speak numerous languages,” IHC says. “Assisters are, more importantly, advocates for their communities and residents to break down the barriers to get the appropriate insurance needed for vital health screenings and social needs.”
Officials say the Utah Health Policy Project has been working to advance sustainable healthcare solutions for underserved Utahns through improved access, education, and public policy.
“Compared to most states, Utah has many eligible children who do not have healthcare coverage, especially when evaluating minority populations. Intermountain, along with other Utah healthcare systems, payers, and community partners, are collaborating in a coordinated effort to support health access assisters and public outreach messaging,” they add.
“Intermountain is proud to be part of collaborative efforts to improve healthcare enrollment and access in our communities,” Lisa Nichols, assistant vice president of Community Health at Intermountain, states.
Matt Slonaker is the executive director for the Utah Health Policy Project.
“For nearly a decade, health access assisters have played a vital role in helping underserved Utahns get insured, stay insured and access healthcare services,” he says. “This mission-driven workforce is skilled at working with our most vulnerable neighbors to explain complicated programs like the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicaid, and Marketplace Insurance. They pride themselves on meeting clients where they are, whether at a clinic, a school, a jail or prison.”
“Intermountain’s collaboration represents what I hope could be a game-changer in reducing Utah’s uninsured rate,” he adds.