CareNet Healthcare For Uninsured Residents

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When people talk about the Toledo area’s important assets they invariably mention the Zoo, the Museum, the Metroparks, Lake Erie and the Library. One important asset that is not often mentioned, but likely should be, is CareNet.

Addressing the need for care

In March of 2002 then Toledo Mayor Jack Ford, in his State of the City address, challenged the community to help provide healthcare to uninsured residents. CareNet was founded in the fall of that year. Under the strong leadership of Jan Ruma, Executive Director, CareNet has since provided more than 28,000 low-income uninsured residents of Lucas County with health care service in more than 500,000 instances, services worth more than $200 million.

This work is primarily carried out by approximately 220 physician volunteers, community health workers and a large network of generous organizations and individuals that donate money and services to the cause. Eight hospitals and 15 clinic sites provide care for CareNet members. Physicians viewing working for CareNet as a way for them to pay back and contribute to the community.

Local government provides some grants and funding for otherwise uncompensated care and the balance of the bills are written off by the institutions. In 2016 CareNet income totaled approximately $650,000. Of this, grants and contracts contributed 62%, hospital contributions amounted to 27%, individuals and corporations donated 7% and government provided 4%.

Workers enhance access

To carry out its goals CareNet employs community health workers to help residents navigate the healthcare system and make use of their health coverage. Community health workers also help residents access services such as food housing and transportation.

To be eligible for CareNet’s network individuals must:

-Be a Lucas County resident for six months
-Complete the application process
-Be otherwise ineligible for government healthcare assistance
-Have no access to affordable private coverage
-Have a household income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, which for an individual in 2018 is $24,280.
-An individual story

One individual who CareNet has helped is Kathy S. who lost her home, and a job, at a corrections facility when her case manager position was eliminated. While she did not have health insurance, a doctor, money for needed medications, or enough food, she found a job working with autistic clients.

Heidi Trombley, a CareNet community health worker sent Kathy S. to a healthcare center to address her needs. Ms. Trombley then assisted by referring her for therapy, and arranged for Kathy to have health insurance and food assistance. Through the assistance of CareNet community health workers, stories like this are commonplace.

Volunteer

CareNet is presently recruiting volunteers who would be willing to be trained as Medicaid and marketplace enrollment assistants to provide 4-12 hours of service weekly during open enrollment, from November 1-December 15, 2018. Volunteers will work with consumers one on one to navigate the online process to enroll in health insurance or Medicaid.

Contact Julie Grasson at 419-842-0800 (ext. 117) or email jgrasson@hcno.org to find out more.

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