SignUpNow Outreach
Communities Connecting Kids with Health Coverage 
Fall 2011

Welcome to the Fall edition of the SignUpNow Outreach eNewsletter. 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 forward this newsletter to colleagues and encourage them to register via the "Join Our Mailing List" button to receive the SignUpNow Outreach eNewsletter themselves.

In This Issue
SignUpnow Training Opportunities
DMAS Updates
Enroll America Launches
Faces and Facts

SignUpNow Training Opportunities


Want to learn about the latest policy changes or the managed care expansions? Need a refresher on who is eligible for FAMIS and what the benefits of enrollment are? Have new staff that need to learn more about the FAMIS programs? Well, there are two options available for you and your staff to learn all this and more.  


From the comfort of your own office, try our on-line, on-demand training. Consisting of nine 25-30 minute modules, valuable information is available on-line so that you can access it anytime that is convenient for you. Each module contains:

  • Learning objectives;
  • Detailed user-friendly content arranged in a format that allows the customer to complete the entire training or pick sections they are interested in learning more about;
  • Links to attachments, documents, web sites and a glossary of terms that can be of further assistance; and
  • A post-test to help you determine if you have grasped the most important information or if you should repeat the module.

The on-line, on-demand training is available at

There are also two in-person trainings available in October (click below to link to the on-line registration):

October 6th - Front Royal

October 18th - Alexandria 

DMAS Updates

Cindi Jones Returns to DMAS!

On August 1, Governor Bob McDonnell announced his appointment of Cynthia B. Jones as Director of the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS). She has more than 31 years of public service experience in various health care positions in Virginia-more than 20 years of that service was in a variety of positions at DMAS, including serving as interim director and chief deputy director. Cindi was part of the leadership team responsible for the turn-around of FAMIS. She is a strong supporter of the program and a tireless advocate for Virginia's children and families. We welcome her back! While she assumes her new responsibilities, she will continue to serve as director of the Virginia Health Reform Initiative.


Telephonic Interview Renewals Now Available at DSSs

Beginning October 1, local departments of social services (LDSS) will have the option of conducting telephone renewal interviews with Medicaid enrollees. VDSS is hopeful that telephone renewal interviews will result in more families renewing their children's FAMIS Plus (Medicaid) benefits and maintaining coverage.

Under the new policy, LDSS Medicaid staff may call the enrollee or the parents and have him/her answer questions that are necessary for the renewal process and that are on the current written renewal form. After completing the telephone interview, the local worker will send the client the list of verifications that are needed for the renewal of the enrollee's benefits. Upon receipt of the verifications, the enrollee's coverage will be renewed. A written record of the telephone interview will be kept in the enrollee's file.

Not all LDSSs may want to use the telephone interview process, but many should find it helpful since it eliminates the steps of sending the written renewal application to the enrollee and waiting for the enrollee to complete, sign and return it to the local agency. The telephone interview renewal or the traditional process of sending the written renewal form to the enrollee would be conducted if an Ex Parte renewal is not possible. While it is not required that LDSSs use this mechanism to renew families, please let us know how it is working in your locality or if it is being utilized.

Teen Health Week

As part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Maximizing Enrollment Grant, DMAS is partnering with VHCF's Project Connect and the Department of Education to launch Teen Health Week - November 7-12, 2011. The idea of Teen Health Week is to focus attention on the more than 34,000 teens in Virginia who are eligible, but not currently enrolled in FAMIS or FAMIS Plus.


At the beginning of Teen Health Week, DMAS plans to unveil the new FAMIS Facebook page. A Facebook page will help DMAS connect with teens and communicate messages and information about FAMIS directly to them - information that they can share with their friends. A FAMIS Facebook page will allow for timely updates to be posted. It also has the ability to track followers and "likes," and to determine the number of teens being reached with each update.


During Teen Health Week, two new Teen spokespersons will be showcased on the Facebook page and the FAMIS Teen web page, and an exciting statewide poster and video contest will also be announced. Materials will also be available to partners and grantees to help get the word out about Teen Health Week so please look out for ways to help.


DMAS is currently on the look-out for two teens (one male and one female) to serve as spokespersons. These teens should be between the ages of 13 and 18 and currently be enrolled in FAMIS or FAMIS Plus. The family must be willing to sign a release of information form for DMAS to use their son or daughter's image and story. A small scholarship will be available for the selected spokespersons. If you know of a teen who you think would be a good spokesperson, please forward the information to Shelagh Greenwood at [email protected].


DMAS hopes that Teen Health Week will become an annual event aimed at engaging and encouraging teens and adolescents to get health care coverage.


Expansion of Managed Care Services in the Roanoke and Alleghany Regions

DMAS announced that it has contracted with six managed care organizations (MCOs) to expand the availability of managed care services in the Roanoke and Alleghany Regions.


These MCOs will provide coverage for medical services to eligible Medicaid/FAMIS Plus and FAMIS individuals in the counties of Alleghany, Bath, Craig, Bedford, Botetourt, Floyd, Franklin, Giles, Henry, Highland, Montgomery, Patrick, Pulaski, Roanoke, Rockbridge, Wythe and the cities of Bedford, Buena Vista, Covington, Lexington, Martinsville, Radford, Roanoke, and Salem.


Effective January 1, 2012, Medicaid and FAMIS eligible individuals in these localities will access health care services through one of the following MCOs: Amerigroup Community Care, Anthem HealthKeepers Inc., MajestaCare - A Health Plan of Carilion Clinic, CareNet-Southern Health, Optima Family Care, and Virginia Premier Health Plan.


Individuals in MEDALLION will go to Fee-for-Service Medicaid on November 1st. They may seek care from any provider that is enrolled in Medicaid until enrollment into an MCO. Letters will be mailed at the end of November to all Medicaid managed care eligible individuals in Fee-for-Service. These pre-assignment letters will place the individual in a health plan. If the individual (FAMIS Plus and Medicaid for Pregnant Women) wants to change health plans, he/she needs to call the Managed Care Help Line (1-800-643-2273) for assistance. If the individual wants to remain where they have been pre-assigned, they do not need to do anything. However, they may call the Helpline for any questions. FAMIS and FAMIS MOMS enrollees should call the FAMIS Central Processing Unit (1-866-873-2647) for assistance in selecting their health plan.

Individuals enrolled in Virginia Premier will also receive an open enrollment notice at the end of November showing all the plans available to them. They can stay with Virginia Premier or call the Managed Care Helpline if they would like to change MCOs.


Plan First Income Levels Increasing on October 1

Plan Fist, Virginia's Family Planning Services program for men and women, will increase its eligibility level from 133% to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) effective October 1, 2011. Additional program changes include: availability of transportation to family planning services appointments and pharmacies through the services of Logisticare; retroactive coverage for up to three months prior to enrollment (which allows providers to receive reimbursement for services already provided to eligible men and women); and eligibility for applicants with private insurance (provided they meet all other requirements). Interested applicants should apply through their local department of social services. More details on Plan First can be found at


Focus on Reform: What's Next for Children's Coverage?

Want to learn more about the Affordable Care Act and the impact it will have on children's coverage? DMAS is hosting a summit on Wednesday, November 9th (1-4PM at the Cultural Arts Center in Glen Allen) specifically for local department of social service's Directors and Eligibility Workers, community health outreach workers and child health advocates. National child health experts and state level leaders will discuss the impact of health reform on Medicaid and CHIP (FAMIS) in Virginia. Don't miss this opportunity to learn about what will be happening over the next several years as health care reform becomes reality. Click here to register. 

Enroll America Launches!

In September, a new health care initiative, Enroll America, was launched that will help educate Americans about health insurance options available to them under the Affordable Care Act. The organization's goal is to ensure that all Americans are enrolled in and retain health coverage. Enroll America will work to inform Americans about their options through awareness campaigns, a best practices institute for professionals and by serving as a clearinghouse for those looking for specific state-level information and resources.


More information about Enroll America can be found at their web site (, which is appropriate for both professionals in the field and individuals and families looking for coverage.

Faces and Facts - The Value of Going the Extra Mile!

Renewal time was approaching for one of the families of a Project Connect outreach worker. She mailed her customary reminder postcard and it was returned as undeliverable. The Outreach Worker tried the home number for the family, but it was no longer in service. The cell phone response indicated that the father was out of minutes so she could not leave a message. She double checked with the local department of social services and they had the same address for the family. This was not good, because mail from any department of social services is not forwarded, even when a forwarding address card has been submitted to the US Postal Service by the family. If the local department of social services sends out a renewal notice and it is returned, the child's coverage is terminated.


The Outreach Worker knew that the child had asthma and needed regular medication to keep him healthy. If there was a break in coverage, the child wouldn't have access to the medication. The Outreach Worker knew that the child was enrolled at the local high school, so she contacted the school nurse who said she had an updated address for the family, but could not release it. The Outreach Worker sent the nurse aletter to give to the student, so he could take it home to his parents. Within a week the father contacted the Outreach Worker, and they worked together to get the address changed at the local department of social services and successfully complete the renewal application for the child.


As of September 1, 2011:

61,793 children are enrolled in FAMIS

517,357 children are enrolled in FAMIS Plus (including the CHIP Medicaid Expansion)

1,356 pregnant women are enrolled in FAMIS MOMS

16,037 pregnant women are enrolled in Medicaid for Pregnant Women

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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This newsletter is made possible with support from the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services
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