Last summer, Broward Health changed the acronym of its Medical Out-Patient Eligibility Department (MOPED), to Medical Options for Patient Eligibility Department. The name is more inclusive of expanded service options the department provides that make a difference in the lives of Broward County residents.
MOPED was initially begun in 2009 at Broward Health Medical Center to proactively help thousands of the county’s uninsured qualify for Medicaid and other types of charity assistance. But now, healthcare reform has prompted another MOPED service offering since October 2013 – enrollment assistance for the health insurance marketplace.
“We like to say that MOPED provides financial assistance on steroids,” said Calvin Glidewell, CEO, Broward Health Medical Center. “It’s an opportunity for us to broaden and reach out to the community and provide a service to uninsured or underinsured eligible recipients – to let them know what financial resources are available through either Medicaid or the healthcare exchanges.”
To attract patients who would otherwise be dissuaded from seeking out medical insurance, MOPED works to make the process as seamless and comfortable as possible. Since its inception, MOPED has received more than 110,000 patient visits, completed more than 35,000 applications for Medicaid and other charity assistance, and expanded to three additional Broward health hospitals. With MOPED assistance, patients have secured more than $175 million of healthcare.
MOPED now offers support in financial assistance eligibility processing for:
• Health insurance marketplace
• Medicaid, including Medicaid PSN and Medicaid HMOs
• Florida KidCare, Healthy Kids
• Tax funds/charity programs
• Other state and federally funded programs
To provide enrollment assistance for the healthcare exchange marketplace through its MOPED program, Broward Health has become a certified application Counselor Dedicated Organization (CDO), training counselors to assist people with enrollment at 18 locations. Broward Health “Navigators” also go out into the community and do outreach to help people enroll.
“Initially, we set up five different information kiosks in discreet locations in the hospital where counselors can help individuals navigate the new government healthcare website,” said Glidewell. “Once the word got out, we started seeing between 50 and 80 clients a day. “We can’t speak to how many people are completing the process and enrolling, but we can say the process has become smoother, and we’re getting some successes for individuals.”
An uninsured Ft. Lauderdale patient, who first learned about MOPED when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, credits the program with saving her life. “MOPED helped me obtain a taxpayer funded grant that paid for my mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation,” she said.
The patient recently sought additional help from MOPED after unsuccessfully trying to register for insurance on the new site. “I have worked my whole life, but I recently lost my job again and my grant is expiring in December,” she said. “The MOPED staff helped me look at options on the exchange and select a plan that worked for me. The insurance will help me see specialists who were not available through my grant. Anyone who needs financial assistance should see the MOPED people. I think they’re just super.”
Since MOPED was created, Broward Health has actively worked to create awareness of its services both in the hospitals and the community at large. Multi-lingual counselors provide printed materials in English, Spanish and Creole which are available at all MOPED locations.
MOPED’s community outreach includes affiliations with the Department of Children & Families, the Hispanic Unity of Florida and the YMCA. Information is also distributed at community events, and Broward Health’s staff is available at many health fairs and non-profit charitable events to let people know what services are available. Glidewell noted that the hospital may soon begin advertising in appropriate media to raise awareness of where to go for help and assistance.
Glidewell noted that MOPED is win-win for Broward Health and the community. “Sixty percent of Medicaid-eligible patients do not know they qualify, he said. “We believe that people ought to be able to access what funding is available.”
Glidewell said that Broward Health is proud of MOPED’s success and the enthusiasm of its 25-member staff, which actively promotes the service to existing patients and the community.
“In some cases, MOPED has probably saved lives,” he said. “Some patients would not have sought medical assistance due to fear of financial consequences. Now they are more apt to seek primary care or physician care and not have to wait until an emergency occurs.”