SALT LAKE CITY — Utah officials are gearing up to begin enrolling people in a new Medicaid program that’s estimated to cover about 6,000 of Utah’s poor.

Utah Department of Health spokesman Tom Hudachko said Thursday that officials are training workers who will help sign up people who are homeless or in court-ordered mental health or substance abuse treatment programs, probation or parole for the insurance.

Utah’s program approved by U.S. health officials Wednesday is an alternative to expanding Medicaid as offered under the Affordable Care Act.

Instead of opening Medicaid up to more than 100,000 people, including the working poor, Utah’s plan covers the state’s neediest and is part of a plan to tackle overcrowding and crime at Salt Lake City’s homeless shelter.