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Libraries and the Affordable Care Act: Helping the Community Understand Health-care Options
Francisca Goldsmith
Item Number: 978-0-8389-1288-1
Publisher: ALA Editions
Price: $28.00
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112 pages
6" x 9"
ISBN-13: 978-0-8389-1288-1
Year Published: 2015
AP Categories: A, C

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Ever since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, public library staff throughout the country have been working hard to provide access to information about the law while educating their communities about how implementation affects them. But defining the expectations and limitations of libraries’ roles regarding support of the new law remains a challenge. This important guide, the first written specifically for library staff, offers best practices, advice, and examples of library responses from the first open enrollment period (October 2013-March 2014). Offering clear and explicit guidance related to the ethical and legal aspects of Affordable Care Act policy support through local library services, this resource
  • Analyzes the nearly 20 different state-level marketplace regulatory ecosystems to find common ground, then pathfinds the quickest routes to state-level information for each state
  • Addresses the diverse needs of public library communities in both urban and rural settings, while examining staff capacities at various libraries
  • Encourages a pragmatic approach through the inclusion of “to do” lists at the end of each chapter
  • Provides strategies and tools for building community healthcare awareness
Published in advance of the second open enrollment period, this invaluable guide will encourage broader and more assured community support during this period of major policy changes to healthcare access and availability.
Table of Contents


Chapter 1: The Affordable Care Act: Overview and Context

Legislation Facts and Texts
A Brief History of Affordable Health-Care Legislation in the United States
Affordable Care Act Synonyms and Editorial Names
Roles of the Federal and State Governments
Federal Law
Insurance Exchange (Marketplace) Types
Outcomes Already in Place
Insurance Enrollment
Who Is Affected by the Enrollment Requirement?
Recognizing Local Needs
Project Management and Staff Awareness of Affordable Care Act News

Chapter 1 To-Do List

Chapter 2: Health Insurance and Insurance Exchange Structures

Federal and State Insurance Exchanges: More than Enrollment Portals
Criteria for Exchange Shopping Eligibility
Insurance Exchange and Insurance Plan Coverage Structures
Research a Plan’s Network Details
Certified Assisters
Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) 
Medicaid and the Health Insurance Exchange
Health-Care Access and the Library

Chapter 2 To-Do List

Chapter 3: Know Your Community

What You Already Know
Digging More Deeply 
Ethnicity, Culture, Language, and Health
Linguistically Isolated Populations
Your Community around the Clock
Learn Firsthand
Community Focus Groups
The Small Business Community
Growing Ties with Diverse Communities

Chapter 3 To-Do List

Chapter 4: From Affordable Care Act Policies to Functional Library Tactics

From Goals to Tactics
Goals of the Federal Health Agency
Five Policy Objectives of the Affordable Care Act
Strategies: What Has Happened Already and What Comes Next
Extracting “Library Tactics” from the Current Policy Strategies
Language Access
Access to Technology
Expanding Diversity Awareness
Your Library’s Tactics

Chapter 4 To-Do List

Chapter 5: Ethics and Legal Matters Related to Health-Care Information Services

Ethics: Codes of Appropriate Behavior
Other Ethics Codes of Interest to You and Your Community’s Health-Care Information Consumers
Ethics and Politics
Ethics and Diversity
Ethics and Library Collections
Legal Aspects of Health-Care Insurance Questions
Technical Access and Technology Access

Chapter 5 To-Do List

Chapter 6: Health-Care Related Reference Interviewing

Best Practices: An Overview
Practicing Good Health and Health-Care Reference Interviewing Techniques
Building the Inquirer’s Reference Capacity
Professional Interpretive Services a Must
The Adult Researcher
Responding to Health-Care Insurance Questions
Affordable Care Act Reference Questions beyond Health-Care Insurance
Evaluating Reference Interviewing Success
Inventorying the Environment for Best Practices in Health-Care Reference 

Chapter 6 To-Do List

Chapter 7: Literacy, Health Literacy, and Financial Literacy 

Many Literacies 
Demystifying Health Insurance 
Why Household Income Now Matters to Insurance Providers 
Recognizing Literacy Issues Related to Negotiating Health Insurance
Motivated Skill Acquisition 
Look Beyond Reference and IT Services
Health Literacy Awareness 

Chapter 7 To-Do List

Chapter 8: Programming to Promote a Healthy Community: On the Ground and Online

Defining Your Library’s Healthy Community Role 
Transparency Communicates the Library’s Role 
Partnerships, Collaborative Activities, and Your Community 
Programming on the Ground
Rural Concerns
Seek Community Stakeholder Assistance in Program Planning 
Online Support for Health Information Awareness

Chapter 8 To-Do List

Chapter 9: Keeping Up Now, Documenting for Future Advocacy

A Need for Ongoing News Awareness 
Ongoing Training Opportunities 
Documentation as an Advocacy Tool
Where Do We Go from Here?

Chapter 9 To-Do List

Appendix A: Affordable Care Act Oversight and Marketplace Access by State

Appendix B: Resources
Government Regulations
Government Sponsored Access Assistance
Tools for Plain Language Communication
Tools for Exploring Community Needs and Assets
Foundations, Nonprofits, and Other Agencies Active in Affordable Health Access
Social Media Resources

Appendix C: Where Do I Find . . . ?

About the Author

Francisca Goldsmith
worked in public and academic libraries, both in the United States and Canada, for more than 25 years before moving into full-time library staff development consulting and instruction, much of it through California’s IMLS-funded Infopeople Project. Most recently, that instructional work has focused on supporting public library staff and administrators in responding to community needs for access to health-care information, both related to Affordable Care Act policies and the changing technology landscape of health-care delivery in rural, immigrant, and other socially isolated communities. Her library experience and consulting includes frontline reference work, collection management, branch services management, and teen services development and advocacy. She has given many presentations on multiple literacies, serving underserved communities, and social media use for community and staff development. This is her third book for ALA Editions.

”A concise handbook that helps library staff make sense of the complicated new reality of health care reform … Even though the second enrollment period of the ACA has nearly concluded, librarians shouldn’t let the ACA fall off their radar. Even though they may not see as much activity until next fall, this book provides a good reference in general, and it will serve librarians well as they plan for services and programming for the next enrollment period."
Newsletter for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Pacific Southwest Region

”Informed, informative, up-to-date, practical, exceptionally well written and organized … should be in the reference collection of every community and academic library throughout the country."
— Midwest Book Review

"This slender volume has got the goods and purchase is a must for any library that wishes to help its patrons answer questions about the new healthcare law."
— Catholic Library World

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