Family Voices Colorado selected for the Connect for Health Assistance Network!

We recently learned our application was approved to become an Assistance Site with Colorado’s Connect for Health Assistance Network! This means Family Voices Colorado will be one of 58 organizations providing in-person assistance to customers of the new health insurance marketplace starting in October.

Read the full press release from Connect for Health Colorado

Family Voices Colorado (FVC) has nearly 20 years’ experience helping consumers navigate both public and private health insurance  applications, eligibility, benefits, and appeals. Specializing in resources for families of children and youth with special health care needs, FVC will continue this focus while also being available to others needing help understanding their options in the new health insurance marketplace, Connect for Health Colorado.

As part of the Connect for Health Assistance Network, FVC will serve our community across Colorado, helping individuals, families and small employers better understand the new landscape of health insurance. At least two of our staff will serve as Certified Health Coverage Guides, providing unbiased assistance with considering health plan options, applying for insurance affordability programs and enrolling in health coverage. In addition, we will conduct outreach and public education about Connect for Health Colorado and the range of health coverage and financial assistance options.

View the complete list of Assistance Sites

We here at Family Voices Colorado are honored to be chosen for this role and excited to begin helping individuals and families better understand how health insurance works under the Affordable Care Act and Colorado’s own health care reform efforts!

ConnectforHealthLogo-centered2More about Connect for Health Colorado

Starting in October, Connect for Health Colorado will offer individuals, families and small employers a new online marketplace for health insurance and exclusive access to new up-front financial assistance, based on income, to reduce costs. Customers will shop through a website and get expert help in person and over the phone from a network of customer service professionals, including Customer Service Center Representatives, Health Coverage Guides and certified health insurance agents and brokers. The marketplace is a public, non-profit entity that was established by a 2011 state law. More information is available at www.ConnectforHealthCO.com.

The importance of advocacy: Call for stories

Family Voices National is partnering with Genetic Alliance and Parent to Parent USA (P2P) to collect resources that will support individuals who wish to act as advocates on behalf of themselves, their families, or others living with the same condition. To date, we have collected over 240 resources that will help users build leadership, communications, outreach, and advocacy skills. The tools will be part of an accessible online toolkit, with advocacy resources grouped by topic area.

We would like to include a personal story that demonstrates the importance of advocacy from an individual, family member, or caregiver in each of the toolkit topic areas.

For this project, ‘advocacy’ can include any example of a time when you or your family communicated a need, shared your story, or took steps to get something you wanted or needed.

Do you have a story to share about advocating in one of the following areas?

  • Youth Leadership
  • Transition to Adulthood
  • Insurance and Financial Assistance
  • Communicating about Your Health
  • Access to Health Care
  • Accessible Communities

To have your story included in the advocacy toolkit for individuals and families, please send a 1- to 3-paragraph summary to Sharon Romelczyk, Program Manager at sromelczyk@geneticalliance.org. Please only include information you wish to be shared, including any and all names or other identifying information.

If we include your story on the toolkit, we will contact you to let you know your story has been selected. Please let us know if you have any questions about the stories, how they will be used for the toolkit, or the toolkit in general. Thanks!

Increasing Medical Home Access

For nearly four years, Family Voices Colorado has served as a subcontractor with the Colorado  Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to assess and support a wide range of health care practices in becoming certified as medical homes.

A medical home is not a residential facility; it’s not even a building. Rather, it is an approach to health care that is comprehensive, coordinated, family- and patient-centered, accessible, and committed to quality and safety. (Learn more at the Colorado Medical Home Initiative.)

Sounds ideal, right? Like what you’d look for in a primary care office, regardless of your age or level of health care needs? And while every provider seeks to do their best in providing the kind of care that patients and families deserve, the medical home certification process helps by identifying specific benchmarks and practices that improve the quality of care and the patient experience, assessing both staff and family perspectives on how well those benchmarks are currently implemented, and then supporting the clinic or office or hospital department in taking steps to improve in areas that are assessed less positively.

Since 2009, Family Voices Colorado has helped certify more than 2,000 practices, from private family and pediatric practices to school-based clinics, federally qualified health centers, mental health providers, and more. In the course of that work, our staff have met tens of thousands families and thousands of providers; conducted and analyzed close to 32,000 family surveys and 20,000 staff surveys; and traveled more than 30,000 miles across the state!

Now that our contract has ended, we are moving into different approaches to our ongoing work of increasing access to and quality of health care for all children, especially those with special health care needs. Without wanting to be too mysterious, we’re not quite at liberty to describe the details of these new programs yet, but keep an eye out for some announcements in the next month or two!

Susana Herrera and Suzette Elledge, two of Family Voices Colorado's Medical Home certification staff
Susana Herrera and Suzette Elledge, two of Family Voices Colorado’s Medical Home certification staff

Tremendous thanks go to Suzette Elledge, our Medical Home Project Coordinator; Susana Herrera, Medical Home Navigator; Colleen Roahrig, Western Slope Coordinator; and other staff who have supported the program over the years. Together, they have helped make sure that more children across the state – both those with special health care needs and those with typical needs – have access to a medical home, which leads to both cost savings and improved health outcomes. Thank you for your commitment to this important work!

Making Colorado a better place for children and youth with special health care needs