CAHEP | 5250 Leetsdale Dr., Suite 110 | Denver, CO 80246
Tel: 303.954.0058 | Web: www.cahep.org

Alok Sarwal, PhD
Colorado Alliance for Health Equity and Practice

CAHEPFor more than 12 years, Colorado Alliance for Health Equity and Practice (CAHEP) has provided comprehensive preventative education, screening, navigation, and follow-up treatment (as a continuum of care) to more than 40,000 Asian Pacific Americans, and recently to new immigrants of Africans and Middle-Eastern origin. To the population, it has been a safety net clinic, delivering a broad range of health care services to medically underserved and uninsured populations, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.

CAHEP works in collaboration with underserved individuals and families from all Asian-Pacific, African and Middle-Eastern communities in order to improve their overall quality of life. In the course of providing these services it also enrolls people in various insurance programs. It have conducted extensive outreach and taken these services to the people with health and wellness events at the community sites all over Colorado. Till now we have conducted about 300 such health screening and insurance enrollment events.

CAHEP currently provides a primary care clinic. It also works with Inner City Health Center to provide services at its site. Basic Family Medical Care by PASC Denver Clinic at CAHEP include: Medical Examinations for Diagnosis and Treatment, Care for the Elderly, Disease Screening with Full Blood Chemistry Analysis, Bone Density Scans for Osteoporosis, Screening and Treatment for Diabetes, High Cholesterol, and High Blood Pressure, Hepatitis Management and Preventive Medicine.

This also includes proving Vaccinations, Women’s Health that include free Mammograms through St. Josephs Mobile Mammography, Annual Exam, and Cervical Cancer Screenings. It now had Dental Health services in partnership with Senior Mobile Dental program.

Certainly, some insurance programs including Medicaid and CHP+ play a vital role in filling the gap left by spotty employer-sponsored
coverage for some low-income immigrants and refugees. However, many members of emergent populations who are eligible are often confused about what it means for them and their families. Consequently, low-income members of emerging communities are much
less likely to be enrolled in insurance programs than low-income US-born individuals.

In low-income populations, almost third of US-born were enrolled in Medicaid or SCHIP coverage, compared 15% of foreign-born. And even if an immigrant had lived in the US for more than six years, this percentage did not change. These issues also impact the large
number of low-income immigrant children and children of immigrant parents. One out of every four low-income children is living in a family with at least one foreign-born parent, and many of these children are eligible for some form of insurance such as – Medicaid or CHP+.

However, low-income immigrant children and US-born children living with an immigrant parent are much more likely to be uninsured than US-born children with American-born parents. Members of emergent population are less likely to have employer-based health coverage and less likely to be enrolled in Medicaid and CHP+ and live in Colorado counties’ which have high rates of EBNE. Due to language and cultural barriers, these populations are hard-to-reach and hard-to-serve for most non-community-based agencies.

The people CAHEP serves are from Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Cambodian, Burmese, Bhutanese, Asian-Indian, Filipino, Hispanic, Arabic and Muslim communities. To ensure success, there is direct partnership with formal and informal community leaders
with genuine understanding of the culture and values of the target population. This work requires utilizing trained navigators who are from the same community and speak the language in a setting where they feel secure and respected. This promote a culture of wellness in the target immigrant communities where no-one is denied access to care due to lack of insurance. After enrollment in an appropriate insurance program, these people can be directly referred to a particular Primary Care Provider.

The Affordable Care Act has already moderately increased access to health insurance through programs for young adults and senior Americans. In 2014, two new features of the law: 1) the expansion of Medicaid to uninsured parents and adults without dependent children and 2) the opening of the Colorado Health Benefits Exchange – will markedly increase access to health insurance for Denver and front-range residents.

In general, racial and ethnic minorities are significantly less likely than the rest of the population to have health insurance. They constitute about one-third of the U.S. population, but make up more than half of the 50 million people who are uninsured.

Evidence indicates that the best method to reach these individuals is to go to them instead of trying to convince them to utilize standard health care methods. Directly working with the community stakeholders has demonstrated to be most effective for screening, enrolling and then treating high-risk individuals. These approaches were selected because it empowers people to take control of their health, through (our) support, (sharing) knowledge and best practices, and (family) actions leading to improved capacity of “access to health care”.

All bilingual and bicultural services are supported by Navigators working to facilitate a continuum of care adapted to their needs. The
project with Connect for Health Colorado will contribute to substantial cost savings for health care in Colorado and assist in accomplishing the goals of the Affordable Care Reform Act.

Connect for Health Colorado is marketing this new health insurance exchange. It has created a statewide Assistance Network to certify assistance sites where local guides can provide in-person education to clients. Once the exchange opens on Oct. 1, those same local
guides can help their friends and neighbors determine their eligibility for health coverage and get them enrolled in the most appropriate plan.

CAHEP has been selected to support this lofty goal as an assistance site to Asian Pacific Islanders and immigrants along its target population in Colorado’s front-range region. All potentially eligible individuals, families and small businesses are welcome to contact CAHEP for eligibility determination and subsequent enrollment starting in Oct. 1.