County Healthy Start/Healthy Families receives Outreach Excellence award

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Kathy Lee and Bill Jordan never expected any thanks for their work at Healthy Start/Healthy Families.

Regardless, they received it when the Ohio Primary Care Association honored them with the Outreach Excellence award in May.

"I think it is funny they give us an award for doing our job," Jordan, outreach associate for Healthy Start/Healthy Families, said.

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The Ohio Primary Care Association's goal is to ensure equal access to health care for all Ohioans. This award is presented each year to the "help center we feel has done an exemplary job in outreach programs," said Kathleen Gmeiner, director of community outreach support for the Ohio Primary Care Association.

This award was given to Jordan and Lee for "developing a model Medicaid outreach program." The outreach service, sponsored by the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization, provides free comprehensive health care to qualifying families.

"It is a pretty prestigious award," Kathy Lee, supervisor for the program, said. "I don't want any recognition. I just want (Lawrence County) families to get what they deserve. (Our) objective is to enroll as many children or families as we can, so they will receive quality health care."

When they started this program last year, they literally went door to door to let people know about the program. They passed out 5,000 flyers at local schools and visited all of the area hospitals, Lee said.

This service is offered in conjunction with the Lawrence County Department of Job and Family Services, and they have processed nearly 700 applications since the program began, Lee said.

Robin Linkfield, director of operations for Healthy Start/Healthy Families, said this is new to the state and that Jordan and Lee have been so valuable to the community because they are able to get out and reach people.

"Kathy and Bill have literally done the leg work," she said. "It has been crucial. So many families just wouldn't be able to get these services."

Lee will travel to Columbus on June 24 and 25 to talk to the state legislature about receiving additional funding, because current funding will end in 2003. She also encourages people to write their congressman and voice their support for the program.

"I don't understand why they would want to do away with something like this," Jordan said. "It is helping our people and our children."

Lee and Jordan said their work wouldn't be possible without the support of many people, especially Janet Jones, social programs administrator at the Department of Job and Family Services, and Tony Crowe, rural health director for the CAO.

They hope to exceed the success of last year and urge people who were not eligible to reapply because the guidelines are constantly changing, Lee said.

For more information about these services, call Healthy Start/Healthy Families at 532-1714. Michael Caldwell/The Ironton Tribune