ThedaCare in Shawano One of 10 Grant Recipients in USA
Shawano Medical Center is the recipient of a grant for $75,000 each year for up to three years to increase health insurance enrollment and outreach in rural communities. The Rural Outreach Benefits Counseling pilot program is administered by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP). Shawano Medical Center will use the grant to educate eligible uninsured people about their options for health insurance, and to teach newly insured people about how to access primary and preventive health care.
“We see families every day who are financially devastated or distraught because of unexpected medical expenses. It’s our job to help them sign up for these benefits to improve and protect their health and their families’ futures,” said Dorothy Erdmann, CEO of Shawano Medical Center.
ThedaCare in Shawano expects to partner with regional county and tribal agencies to strengthen the outreach of the benefits counseling program. “Our county does not currently have any benefits counseling services in conjunction with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). People have to travel Green Bay, Appleton, or Wausau,” said Erdmann. “This grant will help address that missing piece, and it’s quite noteworthy, because only 10 of these grants were awarded in the entire United States.”
“With the large number of uninsured individuals living in rural areas, this program addresses a critical need,” said Tom Morris, FORHP director. “It will help us identify the creative and effective models that are reaching the rural underserved.”
Erdmann expects that the grant money will be used to hire a benefits counselor, set up program infrastructure, and establish a program for educating individuals and groups about the ACA. The Rural Outreach Benefits Counseling pilot program will start providing services this fall.
For more than 100 years, ThedaCare™ has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast Wisconsin. The organization serves over 200,000 patients annually and employs more than 6,800 healthcare professionals throughout the region. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 35 clinics in 14 counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service. Construction of ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center in Appleton and ThedaCare Medical Center – Shawano is underway. For more information, visit www.thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.