Pinellas County officials say the state Department of Health has agreed that Affordable Care Act enrollment advisors can operate within the same buildings as the local health department staff.
And DOH staff can refer uninsured patients to the advisors, called Navigators, for help in enrolling in a health plan on the Marketplace when it opens Oct. 1.
"What the state said was that we could not hire Navigators, but that we could refer people to county offices within our buildings," said DOH/Pinellas spokeswoman Maggie Hall. She said it amounts to a "compromise."
The county and state agency were able to reach it because Pinellas County owns the buildings that the state DOH rents for its local operations. The Navigators cannot operate within the same offices as DOH staff, under the dictates from Tallahassee, which still stand. But they can be stationed nearby, providing one-stop-shopping to those who seek treatment at the health department.