108A-70.26. Application process; outreach efforts; appeals.

(a) Application. - The Department shall use an application form for the Program that is concise, relatively easy for the applicant to comprehend and complete, and only as lengthy as necessary for identifying applicants, determining eligibility for the Program or Medicaid, and providing information to applicants on requirements for application submission and proof of eligibility. Application forms shall be obtainable from public health departments and county departments of social services. Applications shall be processed by the county department of social services and may be submitted by mail. The Department may adopt rules for the submission and processing of applications and for securing the proof of eligibility for benefits under this Part.

The application form for the Program shall have printed on it or attached to it a notice stating substantially: "The Health Insurance Program for Children is a federally and State funded program that may be discontinued if federal funds are not provided for its continuation."

(b) Outreach Efforts. - The Department shall adopt procedures to ensure that the Program is adequately publicized statewide and to comply with federal outreach requirements. The Department shall make information about the Program available through the Internet and shall explore the feasibility of securing a 24-hour toll-free telephone number to facilitate access to Program information. In order to avoid duplication of efforts, in developing outreach procedures the Department shall establish system linkages to ensure the collaboration and coordination of information between and among the Program and such ongoing programs and efforts as:

WIC Program.

Maternal and Child Health Block Grant.

Children's Special Health Services.

Smart Start.

Head Start.

The Department shall seek private and federal grant funds for outreach activities. The Department shall also seek the participation of the private sector in providing no-cost or low-cost avenues for publicizing the Program in local communities and statewide. The Department may work with the State Health Plan Purchasing Alliance Board to develop programs that utilize the expertise and resources of the Alliances in outreach activities to employees of small businesses.

(c) Appeals. - A person who is dissatisfied with the action of a county department of social services with respect to the determination of eligibility for benefits under the Program may appeal the action in accordance with G.S. 108A-79. (1998-1, s. 1.)