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Three-Year Partnership Between UnitedHealthcare & Connecticut Children's Reveals Ways to Improve Coordination of Care for Children and Families

HARTFORD, Conn. (Aug. 29, 2017) – A unique 3-year partnership between UnitedHealthcare and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center has identified ways to create a more connected care experience for children, families and communities to improve health outcomes.

The organizations are detailing the results of their partnership through a newly published paper and video. Highlights include a pilot program launched by Connecticut Children’s that reduces patients’ reliance on the Emergency Department for mental health crisis intervention; new quality improvement and training programs for primary care physicians regarding health issues such as asthma and lead screening; and building a network of local innovators who can explore new ways to address children’s health issues.

The relationship began in 2014, when UnitedHealthcare provided a 3-year, $1 million grant and other company resources to Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health (the Office). At that time, the Office was only two-years’ old and wanted to expand its programs and initiatives that address children’s critical health needs by better connecting the medical center with community-oriented programs and services. UnitedHealthcare’s grant enabled the Office to expand its programs and touch more Connecticut families and children with their services.

“The importance of the Office’s strategic partnership with UnitedHealthcare in terms of reach, experience and support that have enabled our organization to maximize resources and achieve scale cannot be overstated,” said Paul H. Dworkin, M.D., executive vice president for community child health at Connecticut Children’s. “UnitedHealthcare has been an extraordinary partner for us, not just in providing funding to enable us to grow our office and initiatives, but also in terms of being a key partner in our thinking and planning.”

The Rosario family of East Hartford is among hundreds of families who have benefited from the increased capacity Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health now has to address critical health issues.

Having just moved to Connecticut from Puerto Rico, Veronica Rosario contacted Connecticut Children’s Center for Care Coordination (the Center) for help finding services for her youngest son, who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The Center connected her with various support services including medical appointments, physical therapy, speech therapy, housing assistance and transportation.

“Connecticut Children’s Center for Care Coordination is a lifeline for me, a support system. They’re family,” she said. “I had all the necessary appointments coordinated within a week or month, depending on the need—that’s how fast and coordinated they are.”

Rosario’s story, and the services she was able to access to support her son’s care, is just one example of the partnership’s many programs and successes. Some of the key initiatives include:

  • Pilot program aimed at reducing the number of patients who rely on Connecticut Children’s Emergency Department for mental health crisis intervention. The pilot provides enhanced care coordination services to such children in order to establish care plans for them; connect them to community-based support services upon release; and reduce future returns to the ED. So far, the program has served more than 500 children.
  • Connecticut Children’s Practice Quality Improvement (PQI) program. PQI now offers 24 data-driven, quality improvement projects to help primary care physicians enhance the services they provide to children, such as identifying children with autism and other developmental or behavioral concerns and implementing best practices in managing asthma. To date, nearly 270 physicians have enrolled in PQI projects.
  • Connecticut Children’s Co-Management program. Co-Management is a cost-effective model that expands the capacity of primary care providers to address high-volume, low-acuity issues such as headaches, obesity and depression rather than referring such cases to busy subspecialists. The program has established referral guidelines for more than 30 conditions. To date, more than 1,000 pediatricians have used these tools.
  • Advancing Kids Innovation Program (AKIP). AKIP seeks to establish a network of innovators and a pipeline of innovations that address children’s health, strengthen families, and show promise for sustainability and expansion.

“One of the greatest things I’ve seen working on this partnership is how relationships are forming differently between insurers, care providers, and communities—because it’s complicated to keep people healthy,” said Donna O’Shea, M.D., national senior medical director for population health management at UnitedHealthcare. “I’m seeing more and more deeply collaborative partnerships in my work, and UnitedHealthcare’s relationship with the Office is emblematic of that shift.”

Interviews are available upon request.

                                                                   About UnitedHealthcare:
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, military service members, retirees and their families, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at uhc.com or follow @myUHC on Twitter.

                                                About Connecticut Children’s Medical Center:
Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is the only hospital in Connecticut dedicated exclusively to the care of children and is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best children’s hospitals in the nation. With a medical staff of more than 1,000, Connecticut Children’s provides comprehensive, world-class health care in more than 30 pediatric specialties and subspecialties. Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is a not-for-profit organization, which serves as the primary pediatric teaching hospital for the UConn School of Medicine, has a teaching partnership with the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University and is a research partner of The Jackson Laboratory. Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health is a national leader in community-based prevention and wellness programs.