Health-insurance companies’ group makes 27 grants of up to $25,000 each to improve vaccination rates in Kentucky

The Kentucky Association of Health Plans, which represents companies offering health insurance in Kentucky, has awarded 27 grants aimed at increasing acceptance of vaccines, especially those for Covid-19.

The grants of up to $25,000 will help various organizations “pursue efforts toward improving vaccination rates through outreach, communication, education, training, transportation, and/or support,” KAHP said in a news release.

“For many months now, we have been partnering with various groups across the commonwealth and have had a lot of success in our vaccination efforts,” KAHP Executive Director Tom Stephens said. “We applied some of what we learned in that programming to launch a broader grant initiative that we think is quite impactful because we are really leveraging local organizations who know their communities best. It’s great to see so many different populations served. We certainly aren’t letting up because vaccines are the best defense against hospitalization and death.”

The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky, which publishes Kentucky Health News, obtained a $25,000 grant for the Kentucky Press Association to subsidize publication of special vaccination sections in newspapers that will be delivered to every household in some low-vaccination counties.

The Clinton County News received a grant that Editor-Publisher Alan Gibson said will be used for four-color advertising to recognize local employers that have 100 percent vaccination rates, modeled after the “house ad” that he ran about his own business.

Other grants have gone to the Lawrence County Health Department, the Lewis County Health Department, the Louisville Jefferson County Metro Government Department of Public Health and Wellness, Jefferson County Public Schools, St. Joseph Children’s Home, Boulware Mission, Americana Community Center, Family Scholar House, Lexington Community Radio, Presbyterian Child Welfare Agency, Owensboro Health Twin Lakes Medical Center, Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital, the Hopkinsville-Christian County NAACP, Appalachian Early Childhood Network, Mark 12 Ministries, the Kentucky Pharmacists Association, the Kentucky YMCA Youth Association, Maysville Community and Technical College, the Casey County Public Library, the University of Louisville, Presentation Academy, The People’s Clinic, Operation Warm and the KCEOC Community Action Partnership, which serves 16 counties in Eastern and Central Kentucky.
“Some organizations like the Newcomer Academy at Jefferson County Public Schools have already initiated programming, conducting vaccine outreach and a clinic for English as a Second Language families,” the release says.

“In September, KAHP completed a Disney trip sweepstakes for 20 grand prize winners who received their shots during the month of September. In August, in partnership with Volunteers of America Mid-states, KAHP launched ‘Take 1 for the Team,’ a hyper-local, targeted vaccine outreach and incentive campaign in Clay County, which combines heavy digital advertising featuring local influencers like pastors, coaches, doctors, and others, as well as offers for free food, free drawings for cash prizes, a free professional wrestling match, and a competition between local schools for $6,000 in sports equipment.

“The program has steadily raised vaccination rates, and building on this success, the two organizations launched a parallel effort in the West End of Louisville called ‘Healthy West Lou.’ KAHP provided an unlimited ride wristband and $20 gift card to all individuals who received the vaccine at the Kentucky State Fair.

“In June, KAHP visited Mercer, Montgomery, Estill, Nicholas, and Rockcastle counties for a ‘Hottest Concerts’ ticket giveaway at county health departments. KAHP visited the Lee, Owsley, Breathitt, Magoffin, and Leslie County health departments and gave away $100 Visa gift cards to those who received the shot. KAHP also held a “Shots Across the Bluegrass” live broadcast and pop-up vaccination clinic tour with Kentucky Sports Radio, with stops in Barren, Green, McCracken, Clay, and Laurel counties. . . .

“Kentucky’s Medicaid managed-care organizations and commercial insurers are reaching their members through digital and radio ads, robust cash incentives, transportation coordination, pop-up clinics, clinics staffed by bilingual personnel, homebound vaccination visits, text and email campaigns, yard signs, billboards, outbound calls to members prioritized by risk tier, personalized assistance from advocates with sign-ups and digital site navigation, direct mail, and follow-up on second dose appointments based on claims data.”

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