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Movement Looks to Improve Children’s Health, Well-Being

Sectors partner to explore data sharing across agencies, state lines

It started with a burrito challenge. The diners were hungry and the potential prizes highly coveted—the special burrito with the hefty price tag would be on the house, a $25 gift card would be pocketed, and the champion would realize immortality on the restaurant’s wall of fame.

Yet the challenge seemed insurmountable and fronting the cost of the burritos too much of a risk. Not only were there the starchy ingredients and spicy kick of the hot sauce to consider, but also the sheer volume of the tortilla-wrapped entrée. The diners realized that if they could band together they could conquer the challenge with ease. There was no chance of succeeding alone.

Matt Obert, director of operations at Alliance for Children and Families member Chaddock, Quincy, Ill., was one of the diners facing the jumbo burrito during a group dinner as part of the Alliance Executive Leadership Institute. It was in that moment that he found the inspiration to tackle another perceptibly unbeatable challenge: to bend the health care cost curve and increase the number of children and families living healthy and safe lives. He rose from the table determined to create, with help from others, a national movement to transform child care.

Convening Different Perspectives

Led by Obert, the National Childcare Transformation Movement (NCCTM) seeks to create a sustainable, integrated care coordination service model that breaks down silos through data sharing.

“The movement started as an extension of my project from the Alliance Executive Leadership Institute,” says Obert. “The project discussed the changes that are taking place within the health care arena and how they might or might not impact future care delivery for agencies that provide child care services.”

More than 50 agencies, including child welfare organizations, behavioral health service providers, and for-profit technology companies, convene via teleconference on a quarterly basis to discuss ways to improve child well-being. They address ways to provide access to affordable health care, prevent trauma, and increase economic security for children and their families.

“What some of the founding members of the movement and I found was child welfare agencies were not involved in the discussion of what role they should or could play in the world of integrated behavioral and primary health care,” says Obert.

Members of the NCCTM have expertise that is relevant in coordinating care for families who have children with complex physical and mental health needs or are at risk of developing significant health concerns. Each member of the movement is committed to approaching medical providers within their communities with proposals to institute the integrated care coordination service model.

The movement is comprised of individuals serving on four subcommittees: Health Information Technology (IT), Integrated Care Coordination, Outcomes and Social Impact Measures, and Funding.

Health IT Committee

This committee studies privacy, integration, and policy issues related to patient information. The committee, led by Joel White, executive director of Health IT Now, and Jim Bialick, CEO of Newborn Foundation, studies how organizations are using technology to take human services to areas where they are needed.

“Locally, what’s being shared has engaged rural area hospitals in extending family services,” says Obert. “This had led us into telehealth, telemedicine outreach, and a joint effort in which we’re planning for compatible systems.”

The NCCTM also has been examining electronic health records.

“This committee’s work is to look at how to integrate electronic medical records across agencies and systems. We invited businesses, such as Social Solutions and Robert Bosch Healthcare Systems and policy advocates like Health IT Now, to brainstorm ideas with us on how to begin shaping the policies and procedures around information exchange and technology.”

Integrated Care Coordination Committee

It discusses how to improve care through coordination between different systems and providers.

“As we begin to develop some of our outcome measures, we have to inform the technology folks on how we’re going to collect data through our technology,” says Obert. “When looking at defining care coordination, we’re going to be looking at measuring the impact of care coordination. The definition of care coordination impacts the definition of the outcome measure that we want to capture.”

Outcomes and Social Impact Measures Committee

It looks at defining and measuring the cost savings and quality of integrated care coordination. It also seeks to evaluate how this approach to service delivery will alter the cultures of nonprofits and primary health care agencies and identify whether or not it can reduce stigma associated with behavioral health care.

“We are looking at finding five or six agencies that work together to identify data using the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study as the base to come up with impact measures that we collectively use to inform the industry to shape policy,” says Obert.

Funding Committee

It seeks ways to fund a pilot project that would show the benefits of care coordination and information exchange.

“The pilot project would help to develop the outcome measures, learn how to fund care coordination, and inform policymakers,” says Obert. “What I think this movement has done has helped individuals get over the fear of data and defining it in a more meaningful way.”

Goals of the Movement

The NCCTM’s goal is to disseminate best practice knowledge, tools, and resources on service coordination. Members of the movement aim to do this by:

  • defining service coordination and identifying what is billable and reimbursable,
  • developing an integrated electronic health record that is designed to allow for data sharing across agencies, and
  • building partnerships among families, providers, community members, and state agencies.

Partnering for Collective Impact

The Alliance recognizes Partnering with Purpose as one of the Commitments of high-impact organizations and encourages all agencies to advance solutions to complex problems by working within networks and sharing control around implementation, funding, and recognition in support of the cause.
The movement looks to realize the benefits of working across public, private, and nonprofit sectors when advocating for changes in federal and state policy, as well as providing a framework to ensure shared responsibility for outcomes.

Learn more about the NCCTM or join one of the committees by contacing Matt Obert.

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