Youth Access to Care


Grantee: Teen Feed
Timeframe: July 2014 – June 2016 | Total Amount: $215,000

Year 1: July 2014 – June 2015. Amount: $100,000
Year 2: July 2015 – June 2016. Amount: $115,000


Access to healthcare plays a vital role in the overall well-being and stability of homeless and at-risk youth, particularly those managing mental health and chemical dependency challenges. Teen Feed’s programs are built on the understanding that homeless youth and young adults (YYA) are remarkable individuals with bright futures who need support to navigate the challenges of homelessness. Teen Feed’s three core programs (meals, case management, and street outreach) are designed to work together to provide a reliable safety net for young people as they meet their needs and develop a path for their future life off the streets.

Beginning in October 2013, Teen Feed embarked on a new project to provide navigation services for YYA newly eligible for Expanded Medicaid and other private insurance plans through the Washington Healthplanfinder. As the only YYA provider statewide contracting directly with the Washington Health Benefit Exchange for outreach and enrollment services, Teen Feed has experienced firsthand the need and demand for accessible healthcare in the homeless and at-risk youth population. However, once clients are successfully enrolled in Medicaid, they often have no cultural familiarity with health networks, finding providers within a network, choosing a primary care provider, or following through on scheduled appointments. Rather, lack of ongoing educational or navigation services following Medicaid enrollment likely results in a continuation of costly habits such as emergency service utilization or no-show patterns.

Building on pre-existing partnership with the 5 Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) currently contracted to provide Medicaid services in King County through Washington Apple Health (Amerigroup, Community Health Plan WA, Coordinated Care, Molina, and United Healthcare) and leveraging our newly established partnership with Within Reach’s “WashingTeenHelp” program, Teen Feed proposes to augment existing outreach and enrollment programming by developing a team of dedicated Youth Health Coordinators who would not only assist YYA in choosing the best MCO network and network provider for their unique health needs, but also travel with the young person to their first PCP appointment to make a warm hand-off and subsequent follow-up. Our goal is to ensure youth actively participate in positive health choices and behaviors to help them achieve stability. Youth Health Coordination services would be offered to all YYA providers in King County on a rolling basis, contingent upon caseload capacity.

Teen Feed believes that chronic homelessness itself is a significant driver in episodic emergency room visits and lack of preventative care, similar to other chronic health conditions, which result in higher cost outcomes for the system. Consequently, project goals would include an analysis of impacts on housing stability and other health metrics including smoking cessation, sobriety, BMI, HIV status, etc., as well as administrative metrics such as PCP no-show rates.

About Our Grantee

Teen Feed

Teen Feed works with the community to offer support to meet basic needs, build strong relationships, and ally with homeless youth as they meet their future off the streets.

Major Grant

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