This year the city of Fort Worth and surrounding area has been extremely affected by Covid-19. Cook’s Children responded with their characteristic community care and swift action in this time of unprecedented need.
- They allocated several million dollars to the refresh of a vacant long term acute care hospital in case it was needed in Fort Worth for COVID.
- To help their members, Cook’s Children markedly increased support for family assistance: housing, electricity, food, and uncompensated care.
- They kept all staff on full payroll through the end of September 2020 despite many having no work, and reassigned staff to other areas.
Their increase in telemedicine and advancements in technology has enabled them to meet the growing need for patient specialty service in the regional communities. They use telehealth to connect patients, families, and their local doctors to the health care team at Cook’s Children. Patient families can virtually connect to specialists in real time without having to travel, and each clinic is staffed with specialized diagnostic equipment that allows physicians to virtually examine the patient.
Cook’s Children also took over 19 school-based clinics in 2020 from the John Peter Smith School Based Clinics. These clinics provided over 42,000 patient visits the previous year. A vast percentage of those visits were covered by Medicaid or CHIP.
- Because of the pandemic, these clinics were forced to close.
- Cook’s Children leaders worked to identify and assist members who needed to find a new medical home.
- In response, they have added additional pediatricians to each of their Neighborhood Health Centers to pick up much of the activity that was occurring at the now closed clinics.
- Impending decision regarding the location of Cook Children’s eighth Neighborhood Health Center will be greatly influenced by the access to care issues created by the closure of the JPS Clinics.
They also make care available to these schools through their expansive telemedicine capabilities.
Cook’s Children is rated higher than their competitors in overall satisfaction, and over 92% of providers would recommend them to other practices. This MCO has piloted several programs that show their unique ability to step in and help their community, with assistance ranging from providing solutions, research, care managers, doctors, and even creating task forces of specialty care for at-risk children.
In 2017, Cook Children’s joined Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks, John Peter Smith Hospital CEO Robert Early and leadership of Read Fort Worth to create the ACEs Task Force.
The ACEs task force, named for Adverse Childhood Experiences:
- Focuses on children who live with traumatizing adversities such as domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, parental incarceration, caregivers with addiction or mental illness.
- These children suffer much higher rates of chronic health conditions, lower school and adult success, and lower life expectancy.
However, by ensuring that these children and families live in supportive communities, these ACEs can be overcome. With guidance from all sectors of the community, the ACEs Task Force committed to piloting a parent-oriented, community-driven solution that reduces the impact of adversities across the entire County, while also concentrating considerable efforts on the Stop Six community and the 76105 zip code.
- The Stop Six/76105 community was selected as a focus area for the ACEs Task Force as a result of data analysis identifying the community as an area of high need and a potential “hot spot” for child abuse and neglect.
- Additionally, reading scores from Fort Worth ISD showed that the elementary schools in the community (schools that feed into Dunbar High School) have some of the lowest third grade reading rates in the district.
- Third grade reading rates are important because they have shown to correlate with high school graduation rates, which is critical to long-term success. Also, a child’s inability to read on-level by third grade could be an indicator of early life stressors that impacted their ability to learn.
Of particular note is the recent decision of Fort Worth Housing Solutions to demolish and replace the Cavile Place Apartment complex.
- Through work on the ACEs Task Force, CCHP learned that a large number of its Members lived in these apartments.
- CCHP Care Managers were engaged to help these families locate new medical homes for their children and access other important community resources during this displacement.
CCHP continues to maintain contact with the families who have remained in the Service Area, as well as participate in two of the action teams (Health & Wellness and Early Learning) funded by the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Choice Neighborhood grant’s redevelopment of the Cavile Place complex.