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CCNC helps more foster care children get the care they need while restraining costs

CCNC helps more foster care children get the care they need while restraining costs

CCNC Helps More Foster Care Children Get the Care They Need While Restraining Costs

Raleigh, N.C. -- April 20, 2015 -- One of the most vulnerable North Carolina populations is benefitting from more consistent medical care and coordinated health records. There are approximately 10,000 children and youth in Foster Care in North Carolina. Their average annual health care costs are three to four times those of other Medicaid children. Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC), the physician-led nonprofit that helps manage care for 1.4 million Medicaid recipients, is improving the health outcomes and well-being of Foster Care children by improving coordination between local Departments of Social Services (DSS), foster parents and primary care providers.

This effort is funded under CCNC's contract with NC Department of Health and Human Services, and aligns well with an area of keen interest for Secretary Aldona Wos, who has identified the health and well-being of children, including those in foster care, as a priority for her department.

CCNC now serves about 75 percent of the Foster Care Medicaid population in North Carolina, up from about 30 percent when the program began only two years ago. Confidential data sharing agreements between CCNC and local DSS agencies provide access to Medicaid data on children in custody. This allows DSS agencies to gather a medical history and provide a comprehensive summary of care to each foster child’s “medical home,” and to facilitate communication with CCNC Care Managers who coordinate their care. Nearly everyone in Foster Care is automatically eligible for Medicaid, so better coordinating their care both improves the health of these vulnerable children and youth, and saves the state money.

Children in Foster Care can sometimes face frequent changes in where they live, moving from one home or residential setting to another. Those moves can lead to gaps in care and interrupt relationships with primary care doctors. That’s is thought to be one factor in why health care costs of foster children are so much higher than Medicaid children generally.

“Many Foster Care children have inconsistent health records, due to crises and frequent relocation,” said Marian Earls, MD, MTS, FAAP, Director of Pediatric Programs for CCNC. “We focus on treating the physical and mental health of these children, while keeping DSS and foster parents up-to-date with their health history and medical records.”

A successful partnership between the Foster Care child, the pediatric care team (local CCNC network and medical home), foster family and DSS means the child’s medical and non-medical needs are met. Keys for CCNC are getting these children access to trauma-focused therapies and regular doctor visits that assess the relationship between parent and child, identify signs of potential problems and provide prompt referrals to specialty care that can help prevent crises.

“We’ve created a coordinated patient record system for children and youth in Foster Care so that care can be coordinated, gaps in care prevented, and the impact of changes in placement minimized,” said Dr. Earls.

About Community Care of North Carolina

CCNC is a community-based, public-private partnership that takes a population management approach to improving health care and containing costs for North Carolina’s most vulnerable populations. CCNC creates “medical homes” in all 100 counties for Medicaid beneficiaries, individuals that are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, privately-insured employees and uninsured people. To learn how CCNC saves North Carolina millions of dollars every year, visit www.ccnccares.com. For more information, visit our website, www.communitycarenc.org. 

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