SignUpNow Outreach
Communities Connecting Kids with Health Coverage 
Summer 2011

Welcome to the Summer edition of the SignUpNow Outreach Newsletter. SignUpNow (SUN) is an initiative of the Virginia Health Care Foundation (VHCF) that is focused on increasing enrollment of eligible uninsured children in Virginia's FAMIS programs.  Please share this newsletter with colleagues and encourage them to register to receive SignUpNow Outreach themselves at

In This Issue
2011 Child Health Champion
Virginia's 2010 Profile of the Uninsured
DMAS Update
SignUpNow Updates
Faces and Facts

2011 Child Health Champion

Denise Parker Photo 2011
Denise Parker

Denise Parker, FAMIS Outreach Worker at The STOP Organization, was recognized as the Unsung Hero - Child Health Champion at the Virginia Health Care Foundation's 2011 Heroes in Health Care celebration. This award is given to an individual who has gone "above and beyond the call of duty" in the execution of his/her job related to assisting families with applying for and enrolling in Virginia's FAMIS programs. In addition to her award, Denise also received a Commendation from the General Assembly that was presented to her by Senator Yvonne Miller.


Denise has changed the lives of hundreds of children in Hampton Roads.  She takes to heart the outreach worker's philosophy to "meet people where they are," both physically and emotionally.   In her two and a half years as an outreach worker, she has helped to enroll 485 children and 214 pregnant women in Virginia's FAMIS Programs, opening the door to comprehensive health care and a healthier future.   She has done this with respect and dignity for each individual, and a willingness to go the extra mile every time.


Denise's prior experience at the local department of social services helped pave the way for the collaborative community relationships which are critical for outreach workers and the families they serve.  Building on other strong partnerships, she quickly set up outreach sites at the Norfolk Health Department, Norfolk Public Schools, local churches, and with community groups and homeless shelters.   This established Denise as the "go-to" person in Norfolk for enrolling eligible, uninsured children in FAMIS. 


Denise's supervisor noted that, "The passion and compassion that Denise demonstrates is a joy to watch.  If she could, she would enroll every child that she meets.  Her ability to support her clients with dignity while helping them to apply is wondrous to watch.  A number of her clients had never applied for nor received any type of assistance and with her support, they applied and their egos and pride stayed intact."

Just Released - Virginia's 2010 Profile of the Uninsured

The mission of the Virginia Health Care Foundation (VHCF) is to increase access to primary health care for uninsured and medically underserved Virginians. To inform its work, and that of the Commonwealth, VHCF contracts with the Urban Institute to produce the Profile of Virginia's Uninsured. The Profile provides analysis on the most recent data on the uninsured across the state, including regional rates of uninsurance, demographics, work status and much more. This year, the Urban Institute analyzed data from two sources: the American Community Survey, an annual survey conducted by the Census Bureau (2009); and the Current Population Survey, a monthly survey of households conducted by the Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2009). 


Virginia, like the rest of the nation, experienced a severe economic downturn during this time. As a result, the number of uninsured adults in Virginia increased by more than 44,000 from 2008 to 2009. The number of uninsured children, however, decreased by about 7000, thanks, in part, to their enrollment in the FAMIS Programs (FAMIS and FAMIS Plus).  Overall, there are still almost one million Virginians without health insurance coverage and 130,000 of them are children.  Eighty-one thousand of those children are income eligible for the FAMIS programs. The majority of Virginia's uninsured live in working families, but most are low-income workers. And, while Virginia's uninsured come from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, the overwhelming majority are US citizens. 


Key findings, comprehensive data tables and maps can be found at of the data sources, methodologies, and sample sizes are found in the text and in footnotes. These data may come in handy for you as you apply for grants or try to get the attention of your local media to promote your program.

DMAS Update

New Policy for Pregnant Legal Immigrants

The Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services and the Virginia Department of Social Services have officially implemented a new policy which will allow certain pregnant legal immigrants, who were previously ineligible for any coverage, to enroll in FAMIS MOMS, even though their income is under 133% FPL (see DSS Broadcast 6900 dated May 3, 2011).


The new policy is for pregnant legal immigrants who: 

  • have been in the US for more than 5 years;
  • have income below 133% FPL; and
  • are ineligible for Medicaid because they can't meet Medicaid's requirements to show a connection to the US military or 40 quarters of work (counting their own, spouse's and parents' work experiences).

 These women will now be enrolled in FAMIS MOMS to get their prenatal, labor and delivery services. This is a major improvement in coverage for pregnant legal immigrants!


The policy is effective immediately and is retroactive to July 2010. If you know a woman denied coverage for Medicaid for Pregnant Women due to the lack of 40 work quarters and who had out of pocket expenses for her pregnancy-related care, urge her to request a re-evaluation of her eligibility at her local department of social services. If she fits the criteria, she may be retroactively covered and those expenses may be paid for by FAMIS MOMS.


Note: if these women met everything except the 40 quarters or attachment to the military, they may have been enrolled as emergency services only and their labor and delivery costs may have already been covered by Medicaid.


Also please note: this eligibility determination has to be done manually by the DSS eligibility worker. ADAPT, DSS' computer system, has not been updated to perform this determination of FAMIS MOMS eligibility for pregnant women who are not eligible for Medicaid because of alien status and whose income is less than or equal to 133% FPL. So please be diligent in making sure the new policy is implemented.


FAMIS Web Site Redesign

Great news! After many months of hard work, the newly redesigned FAMIS web site is now live. Visit to see the new redesign. Features on the new site include:

  • Rotating stories on the homepage to focus on different programs/initiatives, etc.;
  • Easy to use drop down menus across the top tool bar;
  • Links to apply and renew online on each page for easier navigation;
  • Member services link available on each page for easier navigation;
  • More family friendly look and feel for the site.

SignUpNow Updates

SUN will be hitting the road in August! Once again, VHCF staff will be conducting free comprehensive workshops on the FAMIS programs for children and pregnant women. The training includes an overview of the programs, information on who is eligible, what verification documents are needed, the role of Managed Care Organizations, and an overview of benefits. For more information about who should attend and registration links go to


Note: If you are interested in having a SUN training session in your area, please contact Polly Raible at or (804) 828-6062.


If you are unable to attend a workshop, you can complete the online SUN training modules. This online, ondemand training curriculum contains the same information covered in the live, in-person workshop, but you can complete them at your convenience. Go to to access the online training.

Faces and Facts

While the economy seems to be slowly recovering, many people across Virginia are still finding themselves suddenly without jobs and insurance. In addition, there are thousands across the state that cannot afford to insure their entire family.


Recently, "Jeannette," a grandmother of two called a Project Connect Outreach Worker because she was worried about her grandchildren. Her son had just been laid off from his job and could not afford COBRA. In addition, he was going through a divorce. He had a lot on his plate, and was still in shock from being laid off. So, the grandmother offered to call around and see how she could help find information on what insurance options were available for her grandchildren. One of her grandchildren had a chronic illness and needed medication to control the condition. 


The Outreach Worker eventually spoke directly to Jeannette's son, helped him complete an application, obtain the correct verifications, submit the application and they are currently awaiting a disposition from the local department of social services.


There are many more families across the Commonwealth just like this one. Thanks for all that you and your organizations do to help reach these families and assist them with applications.


Enrollment as of June 1, 2011:

Children's Programs:

464,778 in FAMIS Plus and 108, 553 in FAMIS


Pregnant Women's Programs:

15,653 in Medicaid For Pregnant Women and 1,328 in FAMIS MOMS

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.

Polly Raible 
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