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November/December 2004

 

Will the Real Numbers Please Stand Up

    The US Census Bureau recently published data on children’s uninsurance  rates. The Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) conducted in March of every year, showed that West Virginia has 36,000 children without health insurance. The estimate was based on an average of 3 years of survey data.
   
The West Virginia University Institute for Health Policy and Research conducted state surveys in 2001 and 2003.  The 2001 Survey showed that 28,371 (6.6%) of children were uninsured at a point in time; the 2003 survey showed that 30,884 (7.6%) children were uninsured at a point in time.
      Another way to look at health coverage for children is to estimate the number that go without coverage for a full year.  In that instance, the West Virginia Survey showed in 2001 that 18,399 (4.3%) of children were without coverage for a full year; the 2003 survey showed that 15,036 (3.7%) children were without coverage for a full year. 
 

Reasons for Difference in Numbers:
     The key reasons for the variation between state estimates and CPS estimates of rates of uninsured are differences in:

Sample selection and size: The sample size for the WVU survey in 2003 was 1,600 (including 460 children); the CPS sample is about 600 or 1,800 for three years.  

Survey administration:  CPS interviews families in person as well as by phone.  The WVU survey was exclusively a telephone survey , but takes people without a phone into calculation.

Definition of the uninsured:  The CPS defines a person as uninsured only if he or she lacked insurance for the entire year.  The WVU survey defines a person as uninsured (1) at a point in time  if he or she is uninsured at the time of the survey, (2)  uninsured for the entire year.

Survey question design:  The CPS may tend to underestimate public program coverage.  Respondents on Medicaid may not know the name of the program (they may know they have a medical card but not know that it is an insurance card called Medicaid or CHIP); The growth in uniquely labeled Medicaid managed care programs may be an additional source of confusion, causing respondents to fail to report Medicaid coverage. 

Policy Implications
     State policy makers and analysts should understand the reasons why the state and CPS estimates differ as well as the appropriate uses of each type of estimate.  The CPS estimates are consistent and available on an annual basis.  They are more appropriate for examining aggregate data trends over time and for cross-state comparisons. 

     Estimates from state surveys are more useful for sub-state geographic and population estimates.  State surveys can help define more specifically which populations (children) are uninsured within the state to facilitate the design and evaluation of state-specific programs.  They can also be used to detect year-to-year changes in the uninsurance rate if the sample size is large enough. 

     In West Virginia, we believe that the CHIP and Medicaid programs are reaching the target population and that the WVU Survey estimates are a realistic reflection of the rate of insurance among children. 

WVHKFC Partners with WV Immunization Network (WIN)

     The West Virginia Immunization Network (WIN) is a coalition of volunteers working together to improve the health of all West Virginians through increased awareness of the importance of immunization.  It is made up of business people, health care organizations, government agencies, and volunteers from the community, who work cooperatively to prevent disease through increased immunization rates across the lifespan of West Virginians.
WIN’s goals include:
-Promoting current national immunization recommendations
-Promoting accurate assessment or statewide immunization levels
-Promoting accurate surveillance of vaccine-preventable disease
-Supporting statewide public and professional education
-Facilitating and supporting partnership formation among community groups, health care providers, businesses and other agencies throughout West Virginia
-Advocating legislative and organizational policy issues relating to immunization
Together we can WIN the battle against vaccine-preventable diseases.
     For more information or to become a member visit the WIN website at www.immunizenow.org or contact:

Sherri McCowin
Center for Rural Health Development
500 Westmoreland Office Center, Suite 201A
Dunbar, WV 25064
304-766-1591
sherri.mccowin@wvruralhealth.org

Mark Your Calendar for Children's Day at the Legislature 2005

    
Once again, child and family advocates from across the state will join at the State Capitol for Children’s Day at the Legislature.  This annual event is set for February 16, 2020.
     A Children’s Policy Forum will also be held preceding Children’s Day on February 15, 2020.
     These events are still in the planning stages.  We will have more complete information in the next issue, but mark your calendar now for these important events.

What We Learned from the Process Improvement Collaborative

Reminding families to re-enroll at the end of the 12-month enrollment period. 

     West Virginia was one of thirteen states working with the Southern Institute on Children and Families and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in studying ways to improve eligibility and enrollment for CHIP and Medicaid children.  State CHIP officials were concerned that 45 percent of CHIP children lost coverage at the end of the 12-month enrollment period.  Starting in December 2004, we began calling CHIP families close to the end of the enrollment period.
     After eight months of data, we found that 27 percent of all children did not re-enroll because they (1) were too old for the program, (2) their families got jobs with higher pay and/or health care coverage, (3) family income declined and children were enrolled in Medicaid, (4) families were leaving the state.  We are still concerned about the 18 percent who lose coverage because they do not re-enroll in a timely manner. 
     Community health programs and outreach workers need to remind families that it is important to maintain continuous coverage and re-enroll annually. 

Coalition Holds Gubernatorial Forums

     The West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition together with its partner organizations held a gubernatorial forum in September with Gayle Manchin, wife of Democratic candidate for governor Joe Manchin (now Governor-elect).  A similar forum was held in October with  Monty Warner,  Republican candidate for governor. 
     Both candidates or their representatives answered the same set of questions.  The goal of the forum was to promote understanding and engage in dialogue on children’s health issues in non-partisan way. 

Educating New Lawmakers

    
The Healthy Kids and Families Coalition is planning a Children’s Health Institute in early February for new legislators to help them understand CHIP and Medicaid. 

WVCHIP Enrollment Continues to Increase 

      CHIP enrollment has stabilized around 24,000 children per month – this number represents an increase over previous years.  About 166,000 children are enrolled in Medicaid in any given month.  Because children go in and out of coverage, numbers enrolled in any one month will be smaller than the total unduplicated count of children enrolled in a one year’s time.  In federal fiscal year 2003, 240,000 children had been enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP during the twelve months of the fiscal year (October 1, 2020 – September 31, 2020).  We expect to see similar numbers or more in federal fiscal year 2004, which ended on September 31, 2004. 

Medicaid and Women: What's at Stake?

     One in 10 women in America are covered by Medicaid. These 16 million women make up nearly three quarters of the adult Medicaid population, yet Medicaid is not typically thought of as a women's health program.
    On November 10th, representatives from leading health care and women's organizations attended "Medicaid and Women: What's at Stake?" a forum hosted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Allan Guttmacher Institute, and the National Women's Law Center. The forum featured an overview of how Medicaid works for women, including new data about the program and the women it serves, as well as an overview of key issues in Medicaid and reproductive health care, and a discussion of what may lie ahead for Medicaid in light of the election and some of the debates facing state and federal policymakers.
     Speaker presentations and the following new materials - "Women's Health Insurance" fact sheet, "Health Insurance Coverage of Women" fact sheet, and "Medicaid's Role for Women" issue brief, are available here.  An archived webcast of the event will be available on this page after 5 p.m. ET, Wednesday, November 10.
     Please contact Usha Ranji for additional information at (650) 854-9400 ext. 257 or uranji@kff.org . For media inquiries, please contact Rob Graham at (650) 854-9400 ext. 237 or rgraham@kff.org .
 

Who Should Get a Flu Shot and How to Prevent Getting the Flu

     Because there is not enough flu vaccine for everyone who may want to get it this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that certain people should have priority getting a flu shot this season. The flu shot should be given to protect people who are most likely to have serious health problems if they get the flu. All health departments and physician’s offices should be using the same guidelines when deciding who should get the vaccine.

Who should get a flu shot?

· Children ages 6 months to 23 months.

· People who are 65 years of age and older.

· People 2 years old or older who have an underlying, long-term illness (heart or lung disease, metabolic disease [like diabetes], kidney disease, a blood disorder, or a weakened immune system (including people with HIV/AIDS)).

· Women who will be pregnant this season.

· People who live in nursing homes or other chronic-care places.

· People who are 6 months to 18 years of age, and take aspirin daily.

· Health-care workers who take care of patients.

· People who have or take care of a baby under 6 months old. (Do not give a flu shot to babies under 6 months.)

     If you are someone who should get a flu shot and your clinic or doctor does not have vaccine, contact the health department or ask your doctor or someone at your clinic where you can get a flu shot. Healthy people aged 2 to 64 years should wait to get a flu shot or skip getting a shot this season so others at risk may receive one.

What can we all do to help stop the spread of flu?

· Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze – throw the tissue away after you use it.

· Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If you are not near water, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.

· Stay away as much as you can from people who are sick.

· If you get the flu, stay home from work or school. If you are sick, do not go near other people so that you don’t make them sick too.

· Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs often spread this way.

All information was taken from the CDC website.

WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition

Next WVHK&FC Meetings:

December 1, 2004

Steering Committee Meeting
2003 Quarrier St., East

Charleston, WV 25311

 

January 5, 2004

Steering Committee Meeting
2003 Quarrier St., East

Charleston, WV 25311

 

CONTACT US:

 

West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition

2003 Quarrier St., East

Charleston, WV 25311

(304) 345-6349  (304) 345-6620-fax
 

Renate E. Pore

(304) 345-6349

renateepore.pore@verizon.net
 

Julie Greathouse

(304) 345-6349

jdg_outreach@hotmail.com
 

www.wvhealthykids.org

 

 



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