Program Offers 'Medical Homes' For Medicaid Kids

September 3, 2008
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First Steps, a community initiative to improve life for Kent County’s youngest residents, announced last week that eight pediatric practices are participating in its first program, the Children’s Healthcare Access Program.

A study showed that the 14,000 to 15,000 local children, up to age 17, who are on Medicaid have higher hospitalization rates, more severe illnesses resulting in hospitalization, higher rates of respiratory illnesses, more visits to the emergency room and higher readmission rates for newborns.

CHAP is a one-year pilot program designed to establish a consistent relationship between children and doctors — called a medical home — which could reduce the youngsters’ need for more expensive medical care.

The eight practices have agreed to establish medical homes for 1,000 Medicaid-eligible children. They will extend their hours and offer more same-day appointments.

Priority Health has agreed to contribute up to $500,000 in additional reimbursements to CHAP-participating doctors, expecting that reduced emergency rooms visits and hospitalizations will recoup the costs.

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