SignUpNow Outreach
Communities Connecting Kids with Health Coverage
December 2009
Welcome to the December electronic edition of the SignUpNow Outreach Newsletter. SignUpNow (SUN) is an initiative of the Virginia Health Care Foundation (VHCF) that seeks to increase enrollment in Virginia state-sponsored health insurance programs for children and pregnant women. This issue includes information on new staff at VHCF; a milestone it has reached in child health insurance outreach; and new staffing, policy, and managed care changes from the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services. Please share this newsletter with colleagues and encourage them to register to receive SignUpNow Outreach.
In This Issue
Project Connect Expansions and Continuations
DMAS Staffing Changes
Policy Changes Coming!
Did You Know? Managed Care Changes
SignUpNow On-Line Training

Project Connect enrolls its 50,000th child!
In October, Schileiar Fonfeld, an eight year-old third-grader from Norfolk, became the 50,000th child connected to coverage by a Project Connect outreach worker since VHCF's child health insurance initiative began in 2000. Schileiar lives with his Grandmother, a retired special education teaching assistant and bus driver, who was thrilled to receive application assistance from Denise Parker at The STOP Organization, the Project Connect grantee in Norfolk. 
New Director of Child Health Insurance Initiatives Hired
VHCF is thrilled to announce that Polly C. Hathaway, MPH will be joining us as the new Director of Child Health Insurance Initiatives. Starting in January she will oversee the Project Connect and SignUpNow programs. Polly comes to us from the Wake County (NC) Medical Society where she was the Director of the CapitalCare Collaborative, eight health safety net providers (three hospitals, a faith-based clinic, a free clinic, a Federally Qualified Health Center, Wake County Human Services and the Wake County Medical Society) seeking to increase access to health care and improve the quality of care in Wake County. Prior to this position, Polly was the Manager of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of North Carolina. VHCF looks forward to drawing on her experience of working with the health safety net and the Medicaid program. Welcome Polly!

Project Connect Expansions and Continuations

Project Connect Expands Statewide with Federal Funding
In September, VHCF received a federal Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) Outreach and Enrollment Grant. The grant of $988,154 will be used to expand Project Connect and fund up to 10 additional outreach workers for twenty months (February 1, 2010 to September 29, 2010) in areas of the Commonwealth with the highest numbers of uninsured, but potentially eligible children. Twenty-five agencies representing 14 localities attended the mandatory pre-proposal workshop and proposals were due to the Foundation on December 11th.
As part of this effort, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) held a Child Health Insurance Summit in Chicago from November 4th-6th. More than 500 people (including the federal grantees and others interested in child health insurance outreach and retention) gathered to learn more about the topic, share best practices, and network. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius kicked off the meeting and expressed the Obama administration's commitment to children's health insurance coverage. As part of CMS's efforts, a new and improved website ( includes information on state Medicaid and SCHIP programs, policy information, data and enrollment best practices. More information from the Summit will soon be published at the site and an excellent Outreach Tool Kit is also available. 
Project Connect Expands to the Danville Area
Using funds from the Danville Regional Foundation, VHCF has awarded a grant to Pittsylvania County Community Action, Inc. to hire three outreach workers (two to target Pittsylvania and one to work in Danville). These outreach workers will work with the school divisions, healthcare providers, businesses and VEC Workforce Centers and other community-based organizations to find uninsured children and assist them in enrolling in the FAMIS programs. For more information on this project contact Marsha Mendenhall at (434) 432-8250 ext. 222 or
Contribution from Anthem
With a $100,000 contribution from  the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, Inc., VHCF was able to continue the Project Connect grants at Johnson Health Services, Martinsville Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness, and Stafford County Head Start (in partnership with Stafford County Department of Social Services) for an additional year.


DMAS Staffing Changes
Shelagh Greenwood has been promoted to Marketing and Outreach Manager in the Division of Maternal and Child Health. Additionally, this summer, Dan Plain was named as the Smiles For Children Dental Manager. He was formerly a Senior Managed Care Administrator in the managed care division at DMAS.

Policy Changes Coming!

As a result of provisions in the federal CHIPRA legislation passed last February, Virginia's FAMIS Programs will be undergoing some changes.

Coverage of Babies Born to Teens Enrolled inFAMIS
Effective December 1, 2009, babies born to teenagers enrolled in FAMIS will be automatically eligible for FAMIS or FAMIS Plus without having to file an application. (Babies born to teenagers enrolled in FAMIS Plus/Medicaid already had this option). When the birth of a baby is reported to the CPU (by the parent, hospital staff, or managed care organization), staff will review the mother's information in the existing FAMIS record to determine if the child is FAMIS or FAMIS Plus eligible based on income and household composition. (The grandparent's income is not countable towards the eligibility of the newborn.) The staff completing the enrollment will send a notice of action to the baby's parent.

Responsibility for ongoing case maintenance for these children will be handled by the CPU until the child turns age one, even if the local Department of Social Services becomes responsible for other family members. Approximately 75 days prior to the child's first birthday, the mother will be sent an application by the CPU to apply for continued coverage for the child. If the application is not returned to the CPU, an advance notice of termination will be sent and the child's coverage will be cancelled in the MMIS (DMAS's computer system). If an application is returned, continued eligibility will be determined by the CPU using established policy and procedures. Cases of children found to be eligible for FAMIS Plus will then be transferred to local departments of social services for case maintenance.

Verification of Identity and Citizenship
Beginning in January, Virginia will begin requiring applicants for FAMIS and FAMIS MOMS to verify their identity and US citizenship. Beginning in February, when a Social Security Number is provided for an applicant on the "Application for Health Insurance Coverage for Children and Pregnant Women," the local Departments of Social Services and the FAMIS Central Processing Unit will contact the Social Security Administration to electronically verify citizenship and identity. Only in cases where the information retrieved does not match that of the applicant, will a family be required to provide other documentation. This match should greatly relieve the burden on families and eligibility workers.
Did You Know? Managed Care Changes
Virginia Premier Health Plan
Virginia Premier Health Plan exited six (6) localities effective October 1, 2009. These localities were: Caroline, Culpeper, Madison, Orange, Rappahannock and Warren. All localities, except Culpeper, had at least two remaining health plans in their area. In Culpeper, only AMERIGROUP provides coverage as of October 1st.
A letter was sent to the affected individuals at the end of August to inform them of this change in health plans. For all of the localities, except Culpeper, the normal pre-assignment process took place. As a result, Medicaid/FAMIS Plus individuals who were enrolled in Virginia Premier were placed in fee-for-service as of October 1st. This change did not change recipient's eligibility and recipients received services through Medicaid's fee-for-service program during October and November. Enrollment into a new health plan was effective December 1st. FAMIS enrollees affected by this change were automatically enrolled into a new Managed Care Organization (MCO) effective October 1, 2009. FAMIS enrollees in all the affected localities except Culpeper had ninety (90) days from October 1 to change to a different MCO if they chose to do so. FAMIS enrollees were notified of the changes by letter in late August.
On December 1, 2009, Amerigroup began providing services in Orange, Madison and Rappahannock counties.

(Sources: DMAS's The Case Manager Communiqué October 2009, Volume 4, Issue 2 and December 3, 2009 CHIPAC Meeting)

SignUpNow On-Line Training

SignUpNow LogoDo you have questions about eligibility for the FAMIS programs? Are you familiar with the verification documents required with an application submission? If you need a refresher, or have new staff who will be working with families, please visit the SignUpNow (SUN) On-line, On-Demand Training Modules. You no longer need to wait for a training to be held in your area. The SUN online training modules can be accessed by going to:

The SUN training modules, developed as collaboration with DMAS, provide in-depth information on the child health insurance application process. The modules include an overview of the FAMIS programs, eligibility information, comprehensive application assistance training, and information on delivery of FAMIS benefits. The curriculum is designed for individuals and organizations, especially those working one-on-one with families, and those who are interested in learning how to assist families in completing the health insurance application for children and pregnant women.

As policy changes are made, the modules are updated. We expect several changes in the coming months, so please visit the site often, and pass along the information to interested colleagues and partners.
If you have colleagues who would benefit from receiving SignUpNow Outreach, please forward this email to them and encourage them to subscribe to our mailing list. We look forward to providing additional information on children's health insurance in the near future.
Kim Bemberis
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This newsletter is made possible with support from the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services
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