Webinar-based Affordable Care Act training for California library staff

If you are getting the sense that there is a whole lot of variation in the format, content and provenance surrounding essential library staff-specific information about the Affordable Care Act, then you have read the scene accurately!  Before you throw up your metaphoric hands, reach for your mine pick and/or shovel, or take to your bed with an affordable headache, let’s break this down into approachable chunks. Today we’ll look at webinars:

Yes, there are webinars surfacing in abundance online. And yes, you and public library staff with information and referral duties are going to have to attend more than one or two in order to get your Affordable Care Act (ACA) knowledge skills up to your library community’s needs.

So, start with what we already know is out there and has California library staff’s viewing name on it. Oh, and mark your calendar:

September 9 will arrive with an essential and California library staff friendly guarantee.  At noon that day Kelli Ham and Barbara Bibel will bring us all timely and well evaluated information on how to Get Covered @ the Library: Affordable Care Act Resources for Libraries. As with all Infopeople webinars, if you absolutely can’t make it to the live webinar, you will still be absolutely able to view the archived presentation very soon after the live broadcast (or as soon as you get back to your desk).

Both the Federal government, under the auspices of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and the California state government, under the auspices of  the California Health Benefits Exchange, offer library staff accessible and helpful webinars as well.  Here’s what you can expect to tap from these resources:

CMS offers three webinars specifically geared to the audience of “in-person consumer assisters.” While being called an “in-person consumer assister” isn’t exactly either a friendly or transparent title, rest assured that the term as used here does include library-based community and general information providers (I call ’em library reference staff). These webinars are, of course, national in focus and so references to regulations and mandates are at the national federal level of regulation and policy. They are archived on the referenced site page and there are some upcoming live sessions still scheduled.

ACA  has a lot of Federal-State flexibility built into it. That means that a webinar from a federal government resource can’t address the particulars California is applying at some of those points of flexibility. However, these webinars from CMS go far in introducing the basic underlying structure of both healthcare consumer and  small business employer responsibilities and rights. There are no scary math formulas but there are clearly presented illustrations of such new healthcare insurance terms as “metal levels” (No, this term refers to neither Van Halen, nor to lead and mercury). These webinars are also where you can begin to refine your understanding of how applying for government subsidized healthcare coverage is changing.

And then, from California’s government and quasi-government agencies charged with fulfilling ACA’s programmatic details, Covered California (coveredca.com/) and the  Health Benefits Exchange (http://www.healthexchange.ca.gov/Pages/Default.aspx) are important resources for library staff who need to learn our stuff. By the way, a librarian word of caution: two commercial domains have already done excellent jobs of mimicking the California government URLs in this paragraph, so double check your address box and make sure you aren’t relying on Coveredcalifornia.com or Californiaexchangeplans.com.

It’s at the Health Benefits Exchange, for instance, that you can start getting up to speed about what small business employers in your area may be asking. You might also want to choose some new features for a library page you have to serve such small business information needs.

All in all, there’s a whole lot of webinar-ing going on. Kelli and Barbara’s is a great place for you to begin!

Lots of training news!

Is there really a slow time around Infopeople training roll outs?  Nah! And so far, this August is proving to be busy for those of us creating lots of new content areas and formats for library staff training and development!

Here’s an overview of what’s happening, and a glimpse ahead, too:

With the Affordable Care Act approaching a new stage, that of health insurance enrollment, libraries and library staff have been called upon to prepare to assist our community members to accessing information and the tools needed to expedite individual and family enrollments. There is a humongous amount of information for us all to recognize and absorb–and we know you are already busy. So, upcoming very soon is Infopeople’s online resources page dedicated to leading you and your staff to the most urgent Affordable Care Act news and resources. By “soon,” you can think “end of this very week.”

Also in the hopper related to the Affordable Care Act is a webinar featuring our excellent Kelli Ham, along with the ever knowledgeable Barbara Bibel, and another panelist from Covered California. The one-hour webinar is scheduled for noon, on Monday, September 9. Kelli, besides being a librarian at UCLA, is Infopeople’s link with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Pacific Southwest Region. Barbara has been certified by the Medical Library Association and regularly provides training to public library staff around health and wellness materials.

As of Sunday, the independent online learning series Infopeople has hosted for UC Davis, titled Health and Wellness Competencies, has moved to Infopeople’s direct aegis.  Any generalist who wants to gain a better understanding of how to deliver health and wellness information to his or her library community, making use of best practices, can enroll in this six-module wholly asynchronous series by registering on the Infopeople training site. While this series does not address the Affordable Care Act, we have another series of independent online learning rolling out in September, titled Affordable Care Act @ Your California Library.

And speaking of independent online learning series, what had been called CORE 2: Subject Area Reference is now titled Subject Area Reference. We’ve returned its layout to that of a single strand with six modules, one evaluation and one certificate of completion.

With two fully developed independent online series already underway and a couple more in development, this is a good time to remind everyone that these series are low cost ($25 for Californian library staff, with free registration for rurals, and $50 for out of state participants). Each series is available for registration any time and each one runs all the time. A participant has two months to work at his or her own rate on any of the modules within the series for which he or she has registered.

Now, if you would like to receive such updates in breaking moment and perhaps more specifically concise way, here’s a reminder that you can follow Infopeople on Twitter (@infotweets), receive updates on Facebook by “liking” us there(facebook.com/infopeople.org), connecting your RSS feed to Infopeople’s home page, and/or making sure you are subscribing to this blog.



How to change a life

I have been helping produce Infopeople webinars for several years, and have listened to some great presentations. But something amazing happened recently. This May, San Francisco Public Library’s Karen Strauss and Leah Esguerra presented two webinars on Handling Challenging Situations: What Do I do Now? (Here is Part 1 and here is Part 2 – and both archives are worth viewing in their entirety.) These were excellent presentations about SFPL’s placement of a social worker at the Main Library to link users to housing and social services. In Part 2 they focused on the development of a program they call Health and Safety Associates (HaSA), providing opportunities to develop marketable skills for people who had been homeless. That program in itself is really cool, but what really set this webinar apart was the guest speaker, Kathleen Lee.

Kathleen has been a Health and Safety Associate at the San Francisco Public Library since October, 2010. Before that she and her partner owned a painting and restoration business in Sacramento. During the recession in 2009, they lost their business and became, for the first time, homeless. Thanks to services provided by the City and County of San Francisco and the Homeless Outreach Team, Kathleen and her partner have since been able to recover from homelessness. Through her training as a HaSA, Kathleen was hired as a counselor at a local shelter and is now working full-time employment with the Homeless Outreach Team — the same program that helped her and her partner find permanent housing. She continues to work as a part-time HASA at the Library.

Her story is wonderfully inspiring! Kudos to SFPL for giving her a chance, and kudos to Kathleen for her journey from homelessness to a new life – and for being willing to share her story with us. We found it so remarkable that we created a podcast of her talk. It’s a TED Talk-worthy listen!


Mary Minow webinar this Thursday!

Be sure to tune in this Thursday at noon for Infopeople’s next webinar, Writing a Library Behavior Code, with Mary Minow. It starts at noon and will last an hour.

This webinar will benefit participants by helping them draft legally enforceable behavior codes. It offers guidance on reasonable behavior rules, distinguished from restrictions on user’s free speech rights. What type of notice must the library give its users about its behavior policies? When is an appeals process required, and what should it entail?