The director of an organization that received a sizeable federal grant to help the uninsured sign up for coverage said the workers she hired won't be collecting personal information and will be trained to avoid confidentiality breaches.
Those comments by Jodi Ray of Florida Covering Kids & Families directly address concerns raised by Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and other Cabinet officials. Ray said the workers, known as "navigators," will be trained and ready to begin Oct. 1.
"We're not really collecting information, we're assisting people with the application," she said during a conference call with the media this morning. "So we're not going to be walking away with their information, there's no reason for that."
Ray's organization, based at the University of South Florida, has been helping families sign up for Medicaid and a similar insurance program for children for 15 years. She said the navigators-in-training, paid using a $4.2 million federal grant, will be well versed on privacy laws and also are required by the state to be licensed and pass background checks.
There was a second controversy Ray wouldn't address: the dustup over the Department of Health policy that bars navigators from working inside local health departments. She declined to comment.
Ron Pollack, executive director of national organization Families USA, said that's because groups like theirs want to steer clear of the political debate about the health care law and instead focus on its implementation.
"I think the time for politics about the Affordable Care Act is over, and so we're not going to engage in that controversy here and now," he said during the call.