JFS has a Widespread Impact on the Local Economy

Below is my column from our recent Update newsletter. If you are not receiving our newsletter, please visit our website, hcjfs.org, and find the sign up form under the Public header. It is a good way to keep up on what is going on at JFS.

 

Hamilton County Job and Family Services has a $1.8 billion impact on the local economy.

That is what was going through my mind as I reviewed the number of Medicaid applications we have received under the recent expansion. If we receive as many as predicted – 42,000 – that will push us above the 200,000 recipient mark. That is a full one quarter of the county’s 800,000 residents.

But the numbers behind the numbers are the dollars attached to those recipients. Because they have health care insurance, they are able to spend money at local doctors’ offices, clinics and hospitals. Last year, $1.3 billion in Medicaid was spent at local medical facilities.

JFS also accounted for $232 million in food assistance spent at local grocers. Another nearly $100 million was spent at local child care centers and homes. Various other programs account for nearly $200 million in spending at local businesses.

This is something I try to keep in mind when going about the day-to-day business of running JFS. Our reach goes far beyond the 275,000 people involved in a child support case, or the 167,000 Medicaid recipients or the 145,000 food assistance recipients. Yes, we help 17,000 abused children a year, but that help extends beyond those children to doctors who heal their wounds, psychologists who help them become whole and social service providers who help meet their other needs.

It is hard to say exactly how many people we serve, because many of the recipients are duplicated across programs. My guess is we directly serve about 500,000 of the county’s 800,000 residents. But if you consider the dollars that reach beyond those half million, it is a good bet there are very few in this community who do not benefit from the work we do. 

 

Medicaid Expansion: More than 5,000 Applications so far

Our agency is processing about 200 more applications a day with the expansion of Medicaid.

If you will recall, the state extended Medicaid to cover people with incomes up to 138 percent of the poverty level – $15,856 for a single person or $32,499 for a family of four. The application period started Dec. 9.

Since that date, HCJFS has received 5,224 applications under the expanded program. Officials estimate that about 42,000 more Hamilton County residents will qualify for Medicaid under the expansion.

Online is still the best way to apply: www.benefits.ohio.gov .The best way to ensure a quick response it to fill out the application completely. If all the information is there, the computer cross-checks it with other federal data. If everything checks out, the card is issued immediately.

Medicaid Expansion Launches Monday

Beginning Monday, more low-income Ohioans can apply for Medicaid, with coverage starting on or after January 1.

Now, families can earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level and still be eligible for Medcaid. That is $2,245 (gross) a month for a single mother of two or $2,708 a month for a family of four. We expect an additional 42,000 Hamilton County residents will be eligible. That is on top of our current caseload, which totals more than 175,000 county residents.

That is approximately one out of every four people in this county!

One key message: apply online! This is the fastest and easiest way to apply. I wrote about this subject in our Update Newsletter,  so you can find more detail here: http://www.hcjfs.hamilton-co.org/UpdateNew2013/December/Letter.htm

While you are there, become a subscriber!

A Thank You to This Agency’s Important Partners

For my most recent column in Update, our community e-newsletter, I expanded on my last blog post. My goal was to thank all of those who partner with us and ask nothing in return. I could not mention everyone, but I picked some of our most prominent partners, who really help us provide services that make this community a better place to live.

Also, check out some of the other stories in the newsletter, which comes out monthly. We would love to have you as a subscriber.

Thank you!

http://www.hcjfs.hamilton-co.org/UpdateNew2013/February/Cover.htm

Closed for MLK Day

Our offices will be closed Monday for Martin Luther King Day. We will open again on Tuesday. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend.

Special Edition of Update Tells You How to do Business with Us

We produced a special edition of our Update community newsletter that details the best and fastest ways to do business with us. You can also read my column on our renewed commitment to customer service.

Here’s the link. While you are there, please sign up to regularly receive our newsletter via email.

http://www.hcjfs.hamilton-co.org/UpdateNew2013/January/Letter.htm

Retiring Employees will be Missed

Changes in the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System will result in the retirement of more employees than usual this year. Come Dec. 31, we will have lost more than a dozen employees with a combined total of about 400 years of service.

They will be difficult to replace. We have others who are eager to fill the void, but anytime you lose that kind of experience, it takes a toll on a business. We will work hard to ensure the transitions are seamless to the public and service is not impacted.

Many of the people who are leaving are dedicated public servants who gave more than 30 years of their lives to serving Hamilton County residents. I am extremely grateful for their commitment and proud to have served along side them.

They will be missed.