Washington, D.C. – Arizona has received $777,000 from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to provide counseling for public health program beneficiaries on their rights as patients and the range of medical assistance available to them. The money will be available during the grant year starting April 1, 2010, and ending March 31, 2011.
The money will support one-on-one patient counseling and targeted community-based outreach to all beneficiaries. CMS will offer states training and technical assistance to ensure that public health networks are capable of using CMS’ 1-800-MEDICARE hotline, regional office resources and online tools whenever necessary.
The grant is part of a $41.6 million nationwide CMS effort to assist public health programs nationwide with their outreach and public information campaigns.
“This is an excellent opportunity to inform and educate Arizonans about the public health options available to them,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva of the funds. “The better informed we are, the better choices we make and the more money we save. Making sure patients are fully aware of their medical choices is an important part of a functioning health care system, and this money is well spent if it achieves that goal.”
State Medicaid programs, including the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), plan to focus their outreach efforts on people with limited incomes, beneficiaries with disabilities, and members of diverse racial and ethnic groups, particularly those individuals with limited English proficiency. Before the funds were awarded, several state applicants presented plans to CMS for expanding outreach activities to reach more American Indian and Hispanic populations.
“Being healthy takes more than just a checkup,” Grijalva said. “Getting information about government services and using it wisely is crucial. Sometimes people need help navigating the health care system, and this funding will help make that possible.”
For more information, call CMS at (202) 690-6145.