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Shapiro Administration Working with Community Health Centers to Help All Pennsylvanians Amid Major Federal Changes to Medicaid Renewals

05/17/2023

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Wilkes-Barre, PA - Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) Acting Secretary Dr. Val Arkoosh joined representatives from The Wright Center for Community Health and Pennie® today to highlight how the Shapiro Administration and community organizations are collaborating to support Pennsylvanians through federal changes to Medicaid and CHIP renewal requirements so they can protect their health and stay covered. 

“Everyone deserves the dignity and peace of mind of having access to affordable, high-quality, local health care and knowing they can go to the doctor when they need it. DHS’ goal throughout the renewal process is to make sure that all Pennsylvanians stay covered,” said Acting Secretary Arkoosh. “I urge all Pennsylvanians who get their health coverage through the state to do a few things right now so that your renewal goes smoothly: make sure your contact information is up-to-date with DHS, check your renewal date so that you are ready to renew when the time comes, and complete your renewal by the deadline when it’s your turn to renew.” 

The federal public health emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic allowed for individuals to remain enrolled in Medicaid even if they became ineligible, except in certain circumstances. This is also known as the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement. A federal law ended the continuous coverage requirement on March 31, 2023. Now, all Pennsylvanians receiving Medicaid or CHIP must once again complete their annual renewal when it is due to determine if they are still. No one will lose Medicaid or CHIP coverage without first having an opportunity to renew their coverage or update their information

Pennsylvanians can update their contact information, report changes in their personal circumstances, and check their renewal date: 

  • Online at www.dhs.pa.gov/COMPASS 
  • Via the free myCOMPASS PA mobile app 
  • By calling 1-877-395-8930 (215-560-7226 if they live in Philadelphia)  

Renewals will be completed over 12 months at a person’s usual time of renewal renewals due in April 2023 will be the first to be affected by the end of continuous coverage. If a person is found ineligible for coverage or does not complete their renewal on time, their Medicaid coverage will end. Pennsylvanians who are no longer eligible for Medicaid will be referred to other sources of affordable medical coverage, like CHIP and Pennie, so they have no lapse in quality, affordable health care.  

A Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike, The Wright Center for Community Health’s patient-centered medical home is an essential community provider of primary and preventive health services. It is also a state-designated Opioid Use Disorder Center of Excellence and a Ryan White HIV/AIDS Clinic. The Wright Center for Community Health's nine locations in Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Wayne counties include a mobile medical and dental unit called Driving Better Health, and serve more than 40,000 unique patients annually. The Wright Center's network of practices ensures everyone in their service area has access to integrated, high-quality, compassionate, affordable health services regardless of their insurance status, ZIP code, or ability to pay. 

The Wright Center for Community Health is affiliated with The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education and serves as the cornerstone service provider in ambulatory whole-person care within The Wright Center’s Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Safety-Net Consortium. Together with their community partners, The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education train primary care residents and fellows in a community-based, needs-responsive, interprofessional workforce development model. This work advances their shared mission to improve the health and welfare of their communities through inclusive and responsive health services. 

“The flexibilities provided through the public health emergency successfully increased enrollment in Pennsylvania’s Medicaid and CHIP programs during the public health emergency,” said Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, president and CEO of The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education. “These critically important government-sponsored relief initiatives undeniably saved the lives of many vulnerable and historically underserved patients by removing barriers to health care access.”  

“The Wright Center for Community Health’s dedicated provider teams began educating our patients, families, and the communities we serve in July 2022 about the anticipated changes for Medicaid and CHIP program eligibility, enrollment, and renewal,” said Thomas-Hemak. “Our enrollment staff and community health workers are an invaluable resource for anyone who needs assistance assessing their eligibility and applying for Medicaid or CHIP. They will also assist with enrollment in Medicare low-income subsidy programs or a marketplace insurance plan.” 

To learn more about Medicaid and CHIP renewals and to access educational resources, visit www.dhs.pa.gov/staycovered

For more information on health insurance options available to Pennsylvanians, visit www.pa.gov/healthcare

MEDIA CONTACT: Brandon Cwalina - ra-pwdhspressoffice@pa.gov

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