As the City of Fort Worth and surrounding area were being affected by Covid-19, Cook Children’s responded with their characteristic community care and swift action in this time of unprecedented need.
- Cook Children’s allocated several million dollars to refresh a vacant long-term acute care hospital in case it was needed in Fort Worth for COVID patient activity
- Cook Children’s markedly increased support for family and Member assistance needs in the areas of housing, electricity, food, and uncompensated care
- CCHCS kept all staff on full payroll through the end of September 2020 despite significantly reduced patient volume and revenue
- CCHP also provided much-appreciated payment advances to physicians to sustain operations in the early phase of the pandemic
- Service coordinators reached out to more than 9,000 special needs children to address their acute needs, and transported specialists as necessary
Cook Children’s investment in telemedicine and advancements in technology enabled them to meet the growing pandemic-fueled needs for virtual primary and specialty patient care. In particular, Cook Children’s physicians have used telehealth to connect patients, families, and their local doctors in rural Texas communities to the health care team at Cook Children’s. Patient families can virtually connect to specialists in real time without having to travel, and each of Cook Children’s specialty clinics is staffed with specialized diagnostic equipment that allows physicians to virtually examine patients.
As a result of COVID, John Peter Smith (JPS) Hospital’s School-Based Clinics were forced to close in mid-2020 and did not re-open for the 2020-2021 school year. These clinics provided over 42,000 patient visits the previous year, most of whom were children covered by Medicaid or CHIP.
- Cook Children’s Health Plan and physician group leaders worked to identify and assist Members who needed to find a new medical home.
- CCPN added additional pediatricians to several of their Neighborhood Health Centers to pick up much of the activity that had been occurring at the now-closed clinics.
- The location of Cook Children’s 8th Neighborhood Health Center (opening in FY22) was determined in part by the access-to-care issues created by the closure of the JPS Clinics.
Cook Children’s also makes sick care available to these schools through their expansive telemedicine capabilities.
In response to an increase in the number of suicide attempts, Cook Children’s developed and implemented the JOY campaign to create awareness and prevention of youth suicides.
Cook Children’s Health Plan is rated higher than their competitors in overall satisfaction, and over 92% of Providers would recommend them to other practices. This managed-care organization has piloted several programs that show its unique ability to step in and help the community, with assistance ranging from providing solutions, research, care managers, doctors, to 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.
Tackling Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), this task force focuses on children who live with traumatizing adversities such as domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, parental incarceration, and 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, the impact of ACEs can be reduced. With guidance from all sectors of the community, the ACEs Task Force piloted a parent-oriented, community-driven solution that reduces the impact of adversities across the entire County, while also concentrating considerable efforts in 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 in response to 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 been 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.
In 2019, Fort Worth Housing Solutions decided to demolish and replace the Cavile Place Apartment complex serving low-income families.
- Through its participation on the ACEs Task Force, CCHP identified that a large number of its Members lived in these apartments and were being displaced.
- 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.
Cook Children’s Health Plan sponsors and collaborates with community based organizations that serve families in need, including the Boys and Girls Club, Tarrant Area Food Bank, Center for Children’s Health, Tarrant Department of Public Health and Parents As Teachers Fort Worth ISD.