The current economic environment has seen many people lose their jobs, and for those who are fortunate enough to still be employed, benefits may have been reduced, rates increased, or coverage eliminated altogether.
In the seven counties of the Diocese of Syracuse, there are at least 108,000 uninsured individuals under the age of 65, with more than 19,000 of them being children under the age of 19. This is both alarming and largely avoidable.
Fidelis Care, the New York State Catholic Health Plan, began in the Diocese of Brooklyn in 1993. From the beginning, the mission has been to serve the poor, the uninsured and the medically underserved. With the support and guidance of the bishops of New York State over the years, Fidelis Care has experienced tremendous growth and today serves more than 700,000 members in 58 of New York’s 62 counties.
Fidelis Care covers members through all stages of life. Programs include Child Health Plus, Family Health Plus and Medicaid Managed Care. Child Health Plus is noteworthy as it is available to nearly every child in the state regardless of household income, and many families qualify for low- or no-cost coverage. Seniors are served through the Fidelis Medicare Advantage, Dual Advantage, Medicaid Advantage Plus, and Fidelis Care at Home programs, available on a county-by-county basis.
As an extension of the Church’s healing ministry, the mission of Fidelis Care has led to partnerships with each of the eight dioceses in the state, and includes outreach efforts to Catholic schools, Catholic Charities organizations and other health care ministries.
In the Diocese of Syracuse, Fidelis Care actively participates at local Catholic Charities sites in several counties, has worked closely with Catholic schools in Broome, Chenango, Oneida and Cortland counties, and sponsored the All Saints at Seton Middle School’s silent auction in February.
Providing access to quality care and educating members and the community on important health topics is also an important part of the Fidelis Care mission. This effort includes targeted member mailings, statewide public relations campaigns and local outreach.
Within the Diocese of Syracuse, Fidelis Care is preparing a series of wellness and health articles that will appear in the “Mustard Seed,” the Lourdes Parish Nursing and Health Ministry’s monthly newsletter for nurses. May’s article covers asthma awareness, and coincides with Asthma Awareness Month. In July, Fidelis Care staff will present to the Ministry’s semi-monthly meeting.
Local organizations that would like to work with Fidelis Care in outreach to the poor, uninsured and medically underserved should contact Thomas Julian, Director of Marketing for Fidelis Care in Central New York at (315) 434-2125 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those who are in need of health insurance coverage can contact Fidelis Care at 1-888-FIDELIS (1-888-343-3547) or visit fideliscare.org to learn more. The members section of the Fidelis Care web site also contains archived copies of member newsletters which contain important information on a variety of health care topics. This resource is available to everyone, member and non-member alike.