UMass Medical School evaluates outreach worker grant program

August 19, 2014

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) Foundation’s Connecting Consumers with Care grant program can serve as a model for other organizations, states or policymakers interested in supporting and training outreach workers enrolling consumers into health plans, according to a new report developed by UMass Medical School.

Deborah Gurewich, PhD, Linda Cabral, MM, and Laura Sefton, BA, from the Center for Health Policy and Research, a unit within UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division, evaluated data from the October 2011-September 2013 grant program to create the written report. 

Connecting Consumers with Care was established in 2001 to help health centers and organizations reach members of the community who are eligible for health insurance coverage. A total of 13 organizations across Massachusetts received $685,000 in funding during the 2011-2013 grant cycle.

UMass Medical School’s Massachusetts Area Health Education Center (MassAHEC) Network became a key part of the grant program in March 2013, when it began providing technical aid to grantees. The MassAHEC Network was charged with assisting grantees in their efforts to teach consumers how to become increasingly self-sufficient in maintaining and using their insurance, as well as caring for their health. The network also developed and now manages a learning community that offers grantees in-person and online training.

The MassAHEC Network has a long-standing history of training health care workers in Massachusetts. It operates the Massachusetts Health Care Training Forum in partnership with MassHealth, the state Medicaid program. The forum provides up-to-date information about public assistance programs to health care and community organizations that work with MassHealth members.