On November 18, 2015, the Phoenix Area Indian Health Service and the Phoenix Indian Medical Center (PIMC) hosted a Benefits Fair in support of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Native American Week of Action. The event was coordinated by a number of organizations committed to providing education, From Coverage to Care . There were over 500 participants in attendance.
PIMC outreached to thousands of patients. One 64-year old man shared that he has not kept up with information about health insurance coverage and needed help figuring it out. He is retired and caring for his parents who are in their 90s. He was excited about the onsite enrollment assistance.
The fair opened with the posting of colors and a traditional invocation. A formal presentation featured Melissa Stafford Jones, regional director for the HHS Region IX; Dr. Rose Weahkee, director for field operations, Phoenix Area Indian Health Service; and CAPT Michael Weahkee, chief executive officer, Phoenix Indian Medical Center. Additional remarks were given by Lillian Celaya, health supervisor for the San Lucy Village of the Tohono O'odham Nation; L. HoMana Pawiki, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; and Zepporah Fuller, medical office manager for Native Health.
Open enrollment runs from November 1 through January 31, 2016. This is a great time to continue increasing knowledge and awareness of health care coverage opportunities and protections as a result of ACA, including the Health Insurance Marketplace , Medicaid and Medicare. It is important to note that federally recognized tribal members and Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act shareholders can enroll in Marketplace coverage any time of year and they can change plans up to once a month through the Special Enrollment Period. You may contact your local Indian health facility for more information on how you or someone you know can seek education and assistance about your health care coverage options.
The event's collaborators will continue to provide education and outreach to our American Indian and Alaska Native patients. Many thanks to the following partners for a successful event: Department of Health and Human Services, Phoenix Area Indian Health Service, Phoenix Indian Medical Center, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Administration for Children and Families, Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, Native Health, Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., National Council of Urban Indian Health, National Indian Health Outreach and Education partner organizations, the University of Arizona's SHARE program and the Arizona Association of Community Health Centers.
Ms. Dorothy Dupree (Assiniboine and Sioux) is the director of the Phoenix Area Indian Health Service, overseeing the delivery of care to nearly 160,000 patients in the states of Arizona, Nevada and Utah. Ms. Dupree has also previously served as the director for both Tucson and Billings Areas.