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Safety Net Hospitals Brace for Medicaid Expansion

Rene Letourneau, for HealthLeaders Media, January 13, 2014

In addition to launching its HIX, Colorado is one of 26 states—including Washington D.C.—that is expanding its Medicaid program, and, so far, about 86,000 residents have qualified under the new guidelines.

This could be good news for her organization, Burnette says. "We're very interested in the Medicaid piece, which is going to have a bigger impact initially… For a safety net provider like Denver Health, Medicaid is our single biggest payer… We are hopeful and believe that many of the patients we are seeing currently as uninsured patients will now qualify for Medicaid."

To encourage Medicaid enrollment, Denver Health employs staff to assist patients with getting through what can be a daunting application process.

Enrolling Medicaid Patients on Site
"For the Medicaid population there are some challenges. For example, there are folks who are homeless who qualify for Medicaid, but have a hard time navigating where to go or how to come into the system," Burnette says. "We can actually enroll people in Medicaid on site. Our patients come here in need of care and can walk right into the enrollment center and get enrolled."

Denver Health also has onsite navigators to help patients enroll in exchange products, including its own health plan, which it has had since 1997.

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