Putnam County Leaders Educate Public on HIP 2.0

The leadership in Putnam County understands the importance of taking care of their community, and that includes working to help residents get insurance coverage and develop healthy habits. With that mindset, county leadership set out in May 2015 to form a steering committee to educate its residents, community leaders and community organizations about the new Healthy Indiana Plan, or HIP 2.0.

The steering committee, comprised of Putnam County Hospital leaders, such as Lori Lucas, Putnam County Hospital’s director of community relations and marketing manager, Chief Executive Officer Dennis Weatherford and others from the hospital, made it their mission to help members of their community better understand their health care coverage options. The region, including Putnam County along with nearby Morgan and Brown counties, was estimated to have more than 8,000 individuals who were uninsured but in the eligibility range for HIP 2.0 before the program was approved.

“Our community is thriving with hard-working, blue-collar families who could really benefit from programs like HIP 2.0,” said Lucas, who originally formed the local steering committee. “The whole insurance-coverage process can be intimidating, and we never want our community members to feel overwhelmed when looking for health care options.”

Other community members involved in the steering committee include the local health department, Johnson Nichols Health Clinic, local schools, Purdue Extension Office, Beyond Homeless and TRANSFORMERS, which is a program built to help individuals break the cycle of poverty.

The committee’s mission is to deliver the word about HIP 2.0 throughout community organizations that engage with Putnam County residents who may be eligible for the nationally recognized program. The round table discussions that have resulted from the group’s meetings focus on ways to educate community members about HIP 2.0, but do so via community events and forums, such as the local 4-H fair, farmers’ market and school enrollment events. The steering committee also reached out to local Affiliated Service Providers of Indiana, Inc. (ASPIN) navigators to help spread the word of the program at the planned events.

Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray got involved in the committee as well, which has met three times since forming this past spring.

“The health and well-being of our citizens is a primary concern for us all. The efforts being spearheaded by Putnam County Hospital to bring together an advisory group to help strategize and spread the word about HIP 2.0 speaks to that concern. The more eligible people we can enroll, the closer we are to having a healthier community,” Mayor Murray stated.

“It’s a win-win for everyone,” adds Lucas. “The hospital benefits, but, most importantly, our hard-working community benefits. I’m proud to be a part of this committee who has come together to make Putnam County a healthier place.”