Doctor listens to child with stethoscope

Children’s Health Month

Since 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has designated October as Children’s Health Month to increase public awareness of the value of preventive health care for children.

In keeping with this tradition, the Martinsville Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness’ Project Connect Outreach Advocate, Ann Walker, reminds families how important it is to have health care coverage for their children. It is an important part of preventive care and is crucial in times of sickness or injury.

Health care coverage helps parents know that their child will get the medical care they need—when they need it—no matter what the cost!

For families without employer-based family coverage or the means to purchase individual coverage for their  logochildren, Virginia offers the FAMIS (Family Access to Medical Insurance Security) programs. The FAMIS programs are a 16-year-old program aimed at making health care affordable for Virginia children. They cover all the medical care children need to avoid getting sick, and any care they need if they do get sick or get hurt.

There are no enrollment costs or monthly premiums for FAMIS. For some services, the family will have to pay a very low co-payment. Many services, like regular check-ups, are free.

To be eligible for the FAMIS programs, children must:

  • Live in Virginia
  • Be under age 19
  • Be U.S. citizens or lawfully residing immigrants
  • Live in families meeting FAMIS income guidelines (i.e. a family of 4 with an income of less than $51,455 annually or $4,289 monthly may be eligible).

It is estimated that there are 63,000 students statewide who may qualify for the FAMIS programs, but aren’t yet enrolled.

Children with insurance are more likely to be healthy, and healthy kids do better in school. Children with insurance miss fewer days from school and because of this their parents also miss less time from work. Getting kids covered is a win/win for the whole family.

Ann Walker reminds families that, unlike the Affordable Care Act, enrollment for the FAMIS programs is open year round, but requires an annual renewal. There are several options for enrollment:

For those seeking one-on-one help with an application, as a Project Connect Outreach Advocate serving Martinsville, Henry County and Patrick County, Ms. Walker can assist families with the process for new applications or renewals; as well as help find a doctor or dentist and answer many questions regarding coverage and the Managed Care Organizations. She can be reached at 276-732-0509 or you can apply:

  • By phone at Cover Virginia, at 1-855-242-8282,
  • Online at 
  • Visit your local Dept. Of Social Services

If you are in need of a primary care doctor, Bassett Family Practice (276.629.1076) and Ridgeway Family Health (276.956.2233) are accepting new patients. Our health centers operate on a sliding fee scale based on household income, in which all patients are encouraged to apply. Our health centers welcome uninsured, underinsured, Medicaid, Medicare and privately insured.


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