Steeler SuperBlogger: ‘No Baby Should Leave the Hospital Without an Insurance Card or a Terrible Towel’ – Say Ahhh! A Children’s Health Policy Blog

(In honor of the Super Bowl, Say Ahhh! is hosting a Super Blog-Off to determine whether the Steeler Nation or Packer fans are doing a better job of Connecting Kids to Coverage.  Please read both blogs and vote for your favorite by submitting a comment.  Comments must be submitted by kick-off Sunday night.  See previous blog for details on the competition.)

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By Reverend Sally Jo Snyder, Director of Advocacy and Consumer Engagement, Consumer Health Coalition

Just like the NFL’s “Defensive Player of the Year”, the
Steeler’s stellar safety, Troy Polamalu, we at the Consumer Health Coalition
(CHC) know and believe in the value of excellent coverage.


 a recipient of a Children’s Health Insurance Program outreach
grant, our game plan was to conduct outreach to inform families and enroll
children in Medical Assistance (MA) and the Children’s Health Insurance program
(CHIP). We huddled-up with our team and together crafted a strategy that would
place a lot of enrollees on the MA and CHIP Insurance “score board.”

A successful offense has to be able to tally huge amounts
of yardage. Therefore, part of our strategy was to conduct outreach to the
surrounding rural counties of Armstrong and Butler – areas that our “stats”
indicated had high numbers of uninsured children.  Because Steeler’s Nation is everywhere and because we wanted to get out the word about MA and CHIP, we attended the Armstrong and Butler county fairs and hosted  information booths.  We also visited their
pediatrician’s offices, their school districts, and their hospitals.

Sometimes, it may be necessary for the offense to put
together a 100-yard drive.  Our
version of that is the 100% pledge. We asked organizations, agencies, and
congregations to sign a commitment wherein they pledge to ask every person who
comes to their organization whether or not they have health insurance coverage. If the
answer is “no,” they are promptly referred to CHC where we work to get them
health care coverage. 

By far the Most Valuable Players (MVP’s) of our outreach
efforts are the members of the SALUD PARA NINOS free clinic.   Every month, CHC’s bilingual
enrollment specialist attends the clinic and enrolls uninsured children on
site.  Knowing how important
special teams are to overall success, CHC’s bilingual outreach specialist
produced Spanish-language pocket cards that informed consumers about enrolling
in CHIP and, even more importantly, reminded them to follow-up on their CHIP coverage

Just as the Steelers are on “The Drive for Super Bowl
XLV” and our Seventh Lombardi Trophy, so to is CHC. One of our community
partners, the Squirrel Hill Health Center, purchased a mobile clinic and once a
month we join them and their medical team as they travel through low-income
areas and offer services to vulnerable populations.  We ride along to ask and
make certain every child has health insurance coverage.

Every football fan knows that the key to lasting success
is a good draft and a constantly strong rookie class. (Just like Steelers’
Rockin’ Rookies: Antonio Brown, Maurkice Pouncey, and Emmanuel Sanders….watch
for big things from them in the Super Bowl!) For our CHIP outreach we partner
with the Birth Circle, a doula organization, to make connections with pregnant
women. By forming a relationship with them, once the child is born, we are able
to make certain the newest members of Steeler’s Nation have health insurance.

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As this photo attests, we are quite serious about making
sure every child gets the best coverage. 
No baby should leave the hospital without health insurance or a Terrible Towel.  Such a beautiful sight, new born babes swaddled in Terrible Towels. (Is it even possible to swaddle a baby in a cheese wedge ??!!??)

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