The Division of Community Health recently received a $400,000 grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust to improve access to health insurance and primary care among uninsured residents in five rural North Carolina counties.
The Duke program aims to increase understanding, enrollment and use of the Affordable Care Act and other services among low-income residents of Granville, Franklin, Person, Vance and Warren counties.
Called LATCH Rural Health, the effort is an offshoot of the current LATCH program of the Division of Community Health in the Department of Community and Family Medicine in the Duke University School of Medicine. LATCH, which stands for Local Access to Coordinated Healthcare, has provided services to the uninsured and under-insured in Durham County since 2002.
In Granville, Franklin, Person, Vance and Warren counties, up to 22 percent of the population is uninsured, according to data collected by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2013. The five rural counties share only a few ACA navigators and two Certified Application Counselors – individuals who help look for health coverage options, including completing ACA eligibility and enrollment.
LATCH Rural Health will partner with the Rural Health Group and Franklin Community Health Services to provide ACA education. Outreach will be conducted within local health centers, community agencies, religious congregations and other community organizations. Care managers will provide an overview, screen and enroll patients or schedule appointments.
Patients will also receive assistance locating primary care providers and accessing case management for medical appointments, transportation, medication assistance, utilization of the health care system, and referrals to other needed services.
LATCH Rural Health has an expected launch date of Nov. 18.