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Please Hold For The President

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) Linn County organizations are getting national attention for helping Iowans get health insurance. Since the federal exchange launched last year, people have been dealing with enrollment problems across the country. But the Linn County Community Partnership has accomplished so much locally that President Barack Obama is taking notice.

The magic word is collaboration. In the corridor it started in 2008, putting the pieces in place for the Affordable Care Act rollout starting last October.

"One of the things we recognized right after the flood particularly related to federal assistance was the only way you were going to get things was on a collaborative basis, said Linn County Supervisor Linda Langston.

That incentive to work together opened the lines of communication long before the Affordable Care Act became law. It meant 24 organizations in the county could easily come together to help facilitate the rollout. Their work meant people like Mimz Grabau, Bob Pelletier and Heather Windfield got covered.

We have an understanding that if you work collaboratively, your reach is so much further, said Langston.

The payoff wasnt just for individual people. About a quarter of the previously uninsured now have coverage, so hospitals are already losing less money on charitable care. Even if a patient cant pay and doesnt have insurance, theyll still be cared for in a hospital.

That's our mission as a not-for-profit entity so we would provide the care but there just wouldn't be a payment necessarily for that, said UnityPoint Healths Lori Weih.

So today, the President included the 24 Linn County organizations on a conference call thanking them for their work so far, but looking ahead to the final month of open-enrollment.

"It really spring boards us into these next five weeks knowing we're coming up against the March 31st deadline, said Affordable Care Act Education Enrollment Specialist Jeff Tourdot. We're looking forward to getting everyone we can enrolled.

The President offered a pat on the back that the groups dont always take for themselves.

"Sometimes in the classic Midwestern way we don't always toot our own horn, said Langston.

Now those groups shift their attention to the end of the enrollment process. On March 8 there will be widespread enrollment efforts in Linn County ahead of March 31, the end of open-enrollment.

The full list of organizations in the Linn County Community Partnership is as follows, in alphabetical order, as of February 24th, 2014.
-    Abbe Mental Health Center
-    Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC)
-    AARP
-    CarePro Health Services
-    Cedar Rapids Family Medicine Residency Program (CRMEF)
-    Cedar Rapids Physician Hospital Organization (CRPHO)
-    Community Health Free Clinic
-    Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP)
-    HACAP I-Smile (Dental Coordination)
-    Heritage Area Agency on Aging
-    His Hands Free Clinic
-    Iowa Department of Corrections (Sixth Judicial District)
-    Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
-    IowaWorks
-    Linn Community Care
-    Linn County General Assistance
-    Linn County MHDD
-    Linn County Public Health
-    Mercy Medical Center/MercyCare Clinics
-    Neighborhood Transportation Service Inc. (NTS)
-    Planned Parenthood
-    Ryan White Program
-    St. Lukes Hospital/UnityPoint Clinics
-    United Way 2-1-1
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