Once you have identified children's health care leaders, you should consider reaching out to corporations and local organizational partners and asking them to participate in your efforts by making families aware of the availability of Medicaid and SCHIP. Partnerships allow you to reach more potential beneficiaries, and allow partners to provide useful information to their members, customers and employees. Additional benefits include:
• Raising community awareness about the issue of uninsured children
• Providing new communications channels and resources to reach eligible families with an important health care coverage message
• Gaining the trust of AI/AN families because they are hearing about the information from respected entities within their community
Every outreach opportunity is unique, and we encourage you to tailor your outreach efforts to fit your coalition's needs. Building successful relationships requires time, persistence, creativity and enthusiasm. Here are the first steps in the relationship-building process:
Make sure that your goals fit with the aims of your coalition and the participating company. Encourage involvement in a way that makes sense in your community - a way that will spark interest, fulfill needs and match your coalition's goals.
Based on your outreach goals, determine which companies or organizations you should approach. You should tailor the AI/AN template. Following are examples of organizations and businesses that have access to large numbers of families and may be willing to use their communications and marketing channels to reach families with important information about Medicaid and SCHIP:
• Local IHS Clinics and Providers: Talk to providers about the importance of accepting Medicaid and SCHIP patients and explain how increased enrollment can help expand services and resources for their communities. Ask if you can leave applications and informational packets at the clinic. You should plan to work with the I/T/U programs to provide training about SCHIP.
• Local Businesses: Local businesses are ideal partners because they interact with potentially eligible families within the community on a day-to-day basis.
• Powwow Announcers: Ask powwow announcers to disseminate information. They can distribute fliers or read public service announcements (PSAs) throughout an event.
• Tribal Councils: Ask to attend a tribal council meeting to discuss Medicaid and SCHIP enrollment with the leadership. Stress how Medicaid and SCHIP enrollment can improve IHS services and benefit the tribal community.
• Tribal Health Boards/Committees: Most tribal nations, health clinics, urban programs and organizations have a health board of some sort. Include them as partners in your outreach efforts.
• Schools: Teachers, parent associations and groups affiliated with schools that serve Indian children are a great way to reach parents of eligible, uninsured children.
• Tribal Colleges and Universities: Tribal colleges and universities are an excellent source of volunteers, expert advice and graphics/photos. In addition, many students and children of employees are potential enrollees.
• Tribal Elders: Tribal elders play an important role in AI/AN communities and enlisting their support will demonstrate to the community that Medicaid and SCHIP are trusted programs that benefit everyone.
Remember you are working to better the lives of people in the community, which means everyone in the community should share an interest and want to be a part of your effort. Asking community businesses to use their marketing channels or donate materials for events offers them the opportunity to get involved and show the community they care.
Before meeting with business or organizational leaders, determine how they could get involved. Ideas include:
• Hanging fliers on community bulletin boards in stores
• Distributing fliers about Medicaid and SCHIP at check-out counters
• Including information in e-mails and newsletters to their members or customers
• Hosting an enrollment booth so customers can apply for Medicaid or SCHIP
• Providing in-kind donations such as paper from the local office supply store, free printing from the local print shop to copy fliers, or soda and cookies from the supermarket for an upcoming informational meeting
See Identifying and Working with Community Leaders for tips on how to prepare for a meeting.
All partners, whether they are paid staff, volunteers, corporate partners or community leaders, need to be acknowledged and heard. Meet with your partners individually and as a group. Group meetings can stimulate creativity and promote camaraderie, while individual meetings give people a chance to voice personal concerns. Be respectful of their insight - it is an invaluable contribution to your efforts. Look for ways to thank them. In addition to sending a thank you letter and the certificate of appreciation, make sure to give them public acknowledgement for their participation. This could include recognition at a public event or an advertisement in a newspaper.