The Immigrant Health Access Initiative (IHAI) is part of ICIRR’s immigrant integration portfolio. IHAI launched in 2011 to build capacity at immigrant serving organizations to aid implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Initiative combines active community education, capacity building, and coordinated policy and advocacy with our members. Our goal is to build the foundation for successful immigrant participation in the health care systems in Illinois.
Building power with member organizations is key. In 2014, ICIRR formed a small committee of community organizations looking to find a solution for the remaining uninsured. This effort grew into a large county wide coalition, Healthy Communities Cook County (HC3). HC3 is convened by Communities United and ICIRR and now has grown to more than 40 other community organizations, providers, faith based institutions, and labor groups, all with the goal of expanding access to health care for Cook County residents. HC3 has been organizing since 2014 to push for the creation of a Cook County direct access health care program.
On September 14th, after a more than 2 year campaign, Cook County Commissioners passed an ordinance to establish a direct access program for low income, uninsured Cook County residents. This huge victory will ensure that tens of thousands, and eventually more than one hundred thousand low income uninsured cook county residents will have access to health care services.
The new program will provide:
Comprehensive preventive primary, specialty, emergency and hospital care at an affordable cost
A health network membership card used as a tool to share patient's medical information across network providers
An assigned "medical home" where patients will see the same doctor and provider on a regular basis