From 1997 to 2000, staff at the Community Service Society of New York to expand an education program for Medicaid beneficiaries enrolled in managed care. Researchers from New York University evaluated the program.
The program included:
- A handbook about how to choose and use a health plan.
- Workshops for Medicaid beneficiaries to prepare them to ask questions, research a health plan and advocate for themselves.
- A training program to prepare community volunteers to conduct these workshops.
- A training program for human service providers on managed care's impact on their clients.
- A telephone assistance line to provide guidance to beneficiaries and social service providers.
In New York City, project staff conducted nearly 500 workshops in English, Spanish and Chinese to reach more than 8,000 participants.
In Philadelphia, Community Service Society and its project partners conducted 75 workshops to reach more than 2,200 English- and Spanish-speaking beneficiaries and almost 200 workshops to reach nearly 750 people in the city's Asian communities.
In an evaluation conducted by New York University researchers, workshop participants indicated that they viewed the workshops as unbiased because the information came to them through trusted community organizations, not health care companies seeking customers.