Erie Family Health Center – a local leader on the implementation of the ACA

Erie Family Health Center, a provider of high quality health services to underserved communities, has started implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). “Despite the glitches in both our state’s and the federal websites, despite the logjam in training navigators and despite the lack of Spanish language websites, Erie has had significant success in enrolling our patients under the ACA,” said Iliana Mora, chief operating officer of Erie.

Erie’s Results to-date
Erie Family Health Center has been serving the Latino community for 57 years with culturally competent providers, almost all of whom are proficient in Spanish. Erie accepts patients regardless of their ability to pay and has already been focusing on the 27 percent of Illinois Latinos who are uninsured. The ACA now provides an opportunity for many in this community to obtain health insurance for the first time and the peace of mind that comes with it.

Between Oct. 1 and 9 (seven working days), Erie enrolled 58 patients under the ACA/CountyCare and has fielded another 250+ telephone inquiries. In addition to its employees enrolling patients into CountyCare, Erie will soon have seven additional full-time navigators at its sites helping patients discover the plan(s) for which they qualify, assess their needs and assist them in obtaining coverage in real time.

CountyCare, a forerunner to this success
Another reason Erie has been successful with the ACA is that it learned so much during its implementation of CountyCare in Illinois. CountyCare is an early execution of the expanded Medicaid portion of the ACA program for qualified Cook County, Ill. residents that started in January 2013. Since then, Erie has enrolled over 2,600 patients who never had health care before. Because the expanded Medicaid requirements under CountyCare and the ACA are identical, Erie has been able to enroll qualified ACA patients into CountyCare—despite the above challenges.

Further, Erie has learned that successful implementation involves coordination among its entire organization from senior management all the way to front desk personnel. Included are providers, those responsible for partner relations, i.e., hospitals, marketing, of course, and, importantly, the phone center. Based on this experience, Erie was already prepared for the ACA—unlike other organizations that are starting from scratch.
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