You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Local health centers receive more than $1M in Affordable Care Act grants.

Eleven community health centers in southwest Ohio have received more than $1 million in federal grants to help residents enroll in the state’s health insurance marketplace or health exchange, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday.

Nationwide, a total of $150 million in grants were awarded to 1,159 health centers to help uninsured Americans enroll in health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, which will require most U.S. residents to obtain health insurance next year or pay a tax penalty.

The health center grants are to be used to hire outreach and eligibility assistance workers to help consumers — including the estimated 1.5 million uninsured Ohioans — learn about options available to them on the health exchanges.

Surveys show that more than three-fourths of uninsured Americans who are most likely to qualify are unaware of their coverage options on the exchanges, which will open to enrollment Oct. 1 with coverage beginning next year.

The health centers will supplement the ACA’s “navigator” program, which will also provide grants to nonprofits and other entities to help facilitate enrollment in qualified plans on federally run state health exchanges like the one in Ohio.

HHS is still accepting applications and has yet to announce navigator award winners in Ohio. They will share $2.2 million in grant money.

Navigators will be required to participate in training programs to ensure that they are prepared to assist Ohioans in how to use the exchange, but HHS so far has offered only general guidelines and not specific training standards.

“The training requirements haven’t been fully cooked yet,” said Gregg Hopkins, executive director for Community Health Centers of Greater Dayton, which received just over $99,000 in federal grants to hire and train ACA outreach workers.

“With all this stuff, the challenge for us is that the whole implementation is still a little fuzzy.”

Health centers receiving grants will be required to hire a full-time outreach worker or the equivalent combination of part-time workers dedicating at least 40 hours a week to performing the same functions as the health navigators.

“There are a lot of questions and uncertainty out there that we all have about the health care law, and our job will be to get out into the community and identify people that we should work with to get signed up,” said Dana Engle, chief executive of the Rocking Horse Community Health Center in Springfield, which received more than $73,000 in grants to hire ACA outreach workers.

“We’ll be recruiting somebody to move into a full-time position, but these outreach positions will have to try a few different things as we try to figure out what works best and what the best methods of outreach are,” Engle said.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Politics

Tremont City barrel fill: What’s really going on?
Tremont City barrel fill: What’s really going on?

Local leaders have fought for decades to get a proper clean-up at the Tremont City Barrel Fill site in northern Clark County — which they worry could seep into Springfield’s drinking water supply — including hand-delivering a letter to President Barack Obama’s staff during his visit to the city in 2012. A local activist group...
Ohio’s public pension systems shift more health care costs to retirees
Ohio’s public pension systems shift more health care costs to retirees

Cops, firefighters, teachers and other public employees in Ohio have long rested easy knowing a steady pension check and affordable health care would be there for them at the end of their careers. But big changes — and considerably higher costs —are coming for many of the 442,000 Ohioans who look to the pension system for all or a portion...
John Lewis joins Saturday protest as Trump heads to Atlanta for NRA convention
John Lewis joins Saturday protest as Trump heads to Atlanta for NRA convention

UPDATE: Atlanta’s U.S. Rep. John Lewis has just been confirmed for Saturday’s protest rally in Woodruff Park, upping the event’s profile on the eve of Donald Trump’s visit Friday to the city. The civil rights icon famously traded barbs with Trump on Twitter earlier this year about Lewis’ accomplishments as well...
Lake events at Clark County Fairgrounds could bring in millions
Lake events at Clark County Fairgrounds could bring in millions

The Clark County Fairgrounds will begin hosting water and cross country events at its lake this summer, which tourism officials say could pump millions into the Springfield economy in the future. Later this year, the fairgrounds will host the 24th annual Solar Splash on June 7 to 11, a five-day solar boat regatta previously held in Dayton and known...
Another round of base closures is likely in 2020, Turner says
Another round of base closures is likely in 2020, Turner says

Rep. Mike Turner Wednesday told a crowd of Dayton civic and business leaders that they should be prepared for the possibility of a round of base closures in 2020 – a move that could have a sweeping impact on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Speaking at the Dayton Development Coalition’s annual fly-in in Washington, D.C., Turner, a Dayton...
More Stories