Care Coordination in a Medical Home in Post-Katrina New Orleans: Lessons Learned
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This is a prospective study to evaluate ability of a nurse care coordinator to: (1) improve ability of a pediatric clinic to meet medical home (MH) objectives and (2) improve receipt of services for families of children with special health care needs (CSHCN). A nurse was hired to provide care coordination for CSHCN in an urban, largely Medicaid pediatric academic practice. CSHCN were identified using a CSHCN Screener. Ability to meet MH criteria was determined using the MH Index (MHI). Receipt of MH services was measured using the MH Family Index (MHFI). After baseline surveys were completed, Hurricane Katrina destroyed the clinic. Care coordination was implemented for the post-disaster population. Surveys were repeated in the rebuilt clinic after at least 3 months of care coordination. The distribution of demographics, diagnoses and percent CSHCN did not significantly change pre and post Katrina. Psychosocial needs such as food, housing, mental health and education were markedly increased. Essential strategies included developing a new tool for determining complexity of needs and involvement of the entire practice in care coordination activities. MHFI showed improvement in receipt of services post care coordination and post-Katrina with P < 0.05 for 13 of 16 questions. MHI demonstrated improvement in care coordination and community outreach domains. Average cost was $36.88 per CSHCN per year. There was significant improvement in the ability of the clinic to meet care coordination and community outreach MH criteria and in family receipt of services after care coordination, despite great increase in psychosocial needs. This study provides practical strategies for implementing care coordination for families of high risk CSHCN in underserved populations.