Family and Children's
19, No. 3
"Fostering Health NC" Builds Medical Homes for Children in Foster Care
The North Carolina Pediatric Society (NCPeds), the state's chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, has introduced Fostering Health NC, a multi-faceted approach to developing and strengthening medical homes for infants, children, adolescents and young adults in foster care.
A Unique Approach
The key to Fostering Health NC's unique approach is integrated communication that ties health professionals together to provide better care for each child. "Fostering Health NC features a unique multi-disciplinary approach to ensure that each child's medical care is overseen by a team of health professionals. Medical professionals, local Departments of Social Services and Community Care of NC Networks form the 'three-legged stool' or the foundation on which to build a medical home to meet the needs of each child," said Leslie Starsoneck, Manager for Fostering Health NC.
The medical home model is a comprehensive approach to primary care to ensure all of the child's medical and non-medical needs are met through a unique partnership involving the pediatric care team, the child and the child's family. The medical home is a particularly good fit for children in foster care, whose families include foster and birth families, because of its emphasis on coordination and comprehensive care. Children in foster care suffer a higher incidence of problems with physical, oral, and mental health than any other group of children.
"Fostering Health NC is designed to help the 9,600 children in foster care statewide receive better care for improved health outcomes. An added bonus is that the focus on abundant coordination for these highly mobile children saves health care costs almost immediately," said Starsoneck.
Fostering Health NC will bring technical assistance and consultation to local primary care providers, county Departments of Social Services and each of the 14 Community Care of NC (CCNC) Networks. This will be supported by a state team that will oversee the work and develop policy solutions that facilitate the development of medical homes for children in foster care. The team will be comprised of professionals in child health, mental health and social services. Through monthly meetings, the team will identify and develop policy and practical solutions that promote the implementation of medical homes for children in foster care.
"Through various initiatives, CCNC regional networks and the NC Pediatric Society have been working to improve medical access in North Carolina's foster care system for years, and we are pleased about the possibilities that Fostering Health NC provides to continue that work," stated Dr. Marian Earls, the lead pediatrician for CCNC Pediatrics.
Fostering Health NC is supported by a federal grant from the Children's Health Insurance Program – Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) administered by the North Carolina Foundation for Advanced Health Programs, Inc. in cooperation with Community Care of North Carolina.
Want to Learn More?
For more information or to request technical assistance, contact Leigh Poole (firstname.lastname@example.org) or if you have policy questions or recommendations, contact Adam Svolto (email@example.com).
Medical Homes Make a Difference
When they're enrolled in Community Care of North Carolina, children are assured of having a medical home. With CCNC's medical homes:
- Families may have a care manager who can help them manage the child's health care, show them how to keep the child healthy, and access specialists and other service providers, such as Early Intervention.
- Families can choose a medical home for the child or continue to use the child's existing medical home. If an enrolled child does not already have a medical home, one will need to be chosen. Many pediatricians and family doctors are already medical home providers with CCNC. Contact the Medicaid program in your agency for a complete list of CCNC medical home providers.
- Families can call the medical home for advice 24/7. For daytime and after-hours phone numbers, check the child's Medicaid ID card.
- The child will receive regular sick care and well care at the medical home. Care by specialists is coordinated by the medical home.
Children in Foster Care
Some children in foster care in North Carolina today do not have a medical home through CCNC. As a child welfare professional, you can do something about this.
If you are a foster care (placement) worker, confirm that every child you work with already has a medical home. If so, try to ensure the child continues to see that provider. If that's not possible, try to keep the child in the same CCNC network so information from the previous medical home can be shared with the new one.
If a child in foster care does not have a medical home, partner with the Medicaid staff in your agency to enroll the child in Community Care of NC.
Changing Medical Providers Is Easy
A common misconception about CCNC is that it can be hard to change providers. Actually, it's easy. When a child or family wants to change primary care providers, they submit a change request to the Medicaid program within their county DSS. The new primary care provider's number is entered, a new Medicaid card is automatically generated, and voila, the change is made.
Find CCNC Providers Near You
Simply contact the Medicaid program in your agency for a complete list of medical home providers participating in CCNC.