Our strategic plan challenges Cincinnati Children’s to measurably improve the health of local children.
Leading large-scale efforts to reduce prematurity and infant mortality is one of the ways we’re doing this.
Another is by creating the Health Network by Cincinnati Children’s to improve the health of children in our region who are insured through Medicaid − a large population that includes both low-income and chronically ill children.
After more than a year of preparation, the Health Network officially began on July 1, 2013.
Re-Imagining the System
Traditionally, hospitals define their responsibility as taking care of patients who walk through their doors. If you’re sick or hurt, hospital staff is there 24 hours a day to provide expert care.
The Health Network is different.
It’s a re-imagined system designed not just to respond when children are ill but to proactively promote health and wellness for each child enrolled in the network.
It’s an approach that will meet the dual goals of improving child health while reducing healthcare costs, says Camille Graham, MD, interim co-medical director of the network.
The redesigned system starts by linking children to a medical home − a home base responsible for coordinating care. The medical home may be in a hospital-based primary care clinic or a community-based practice.
Doctors, nurses and social workers in the medical home pay special attention to children at risk of falling through the cracks, and to patients with ongoing medical issues. Care coordinators may reach out to the family with reminders to keep the child on track with checkups and vaccinations, follow-up on missed appointments, offer education to help parents better manage their child’s chronic medical condition, and connect the family to needed services.
Better Health, Lower Cost
The Health Network’s intensive focus on prevention, communication and care coordination is an approach that promises to keep kids healthier and, by doing that, to reduce healthcare costs.
Both halves of the equation − better health, lower costs − are consistent with Cincinnati Children’s vision to be the leader in improving child health, as well as with the goals of healthcare reform in our state and the nation.