Hackensack Meridian Health, in partnership with Visiting Nurse Association Health Group, and the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, this month began seeing patients through a transformative initiative to improve care for children through prevention, early identification, and treatment of complex behavioral and physical health challenges. The new model of care focuses on the whole child and provides resources that support the physical, emotional and social needs of the child and family.
New Jersey is one of eight awardees authorized to test the InCK model through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)Innovation Center. These services are supported by an alternative payment model implemented within the NJ FamilyCare (Medicaid) program administered by the New Jersey Department of Human Services.
The pilot program, called New Jersey Integrated Care for Kids (NJ InCK), is serving children who live in Monmouth and Ocean counties who are enrolled in FamilyCare.
The program’s goal is to identify children in need of more coordinated care and then work with the families, the medical professionals, the community-based organizations and the schools to ensure an integrated approach that optimizes child outcomes. The model is based on the premise that by improving and coordinating the care at the front end, there will be a reduction in emergency department use, inpatient admissions and out-of-home placements for children.
NJ InCK will provide early assessment to identify children and adolescents who have significant health issues as indicated by their medical, behavioral, and social risks. This assessment – My HealthStory – is conducted via app or online and once complete, the family receives a verification email which is then sent to their primary care provider. The children will be eligible to receive additional care coordination and case management services. These new services will be provided through Advanced Case Management Teams (ACMT) led by social workers, and including community health workers, child life specialists, and family support specialists.
Families that accept NJ InCK services will be matched to an ACMT based on geographical location. The ACMT will begin the family-centered interdisciplinary plan of care process that will address social and educational needs of the child. These services are supported by an alternative payment model implemented within the NJ FamilyCare (Medicaid) program, administered by the New Jersey Department of Human Services.
Dr. Steven Kairys, professor of Pediatrics at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine and the medical director of the New Jersey AAP Pediatric Council on Research and Education (PCORE), is the principal investigator of New Jersey Integrated Care for Kids (InCK).
“Despite long standing efforts in NJ to coordinate care, there remain significant barriers that frustrate families and providers attempting to support children with complex needs,” said Dr. Kairys.
“The InCK model provides a federally authorized framework to break through the silos, reduce fragmentation, identify children in need, and facilitate care within the community,” said Dr. Kairys, who is the former chair of Pediatrics at the K.Hovnanian Children’s Hospital and also was at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. “The model also puts the families at the hub of the service system. This is an exciting opportunity to meaningfully improve the outcomes for children in Monmouth and Ocean counties.”
The NJ InCK program was inspired by the families the Visiting Nursing Association Health Group (VNAHG) serves every day, said Mary Remhoff, APN, NJ InCK Director, Children and Family Health Institute, VNAHG.
“Our families are looking to help their children, and the information they receive from NJ InCK – their HealthStory – facilitates their conversations with their physicians about their medical and social needs,” said Remhoff. “The families that we serve that have children with special health care needs have limited resources, not the least of which is time. NJ InCK will provide care coordination for these families to ensure their children receive the full array services that are available.
“At the Quality Institute, we’re excited to have partnered with the NJ InCK team from the beginning. We worked together with NJ FamilyCare to build a pediatric alternative payment model that builds on the impact of community-based care,” said Kate Shamszad, MS, MPH, CCLS, director, Medicaid Policy Center for the Institute. We’re eager now to see this new model create positive change in the lives of more than 140,000 children and their families.”
Families interested in learning more about InCK should call 855-619-4445 or reach out by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health
Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health provides the most comprehensive and highest level of quality care to young patients in the state of New Jersey. The children’s network is comprised of two children’s hospitals – Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune – and a large network of pediatric subspecialists and pediatricians. Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital was ranked #1 in New Jersey in the U.S. News & World Report 2021-22 Best Children’s Hospital Report. Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health hospitals are the only two in New Jersey to be ranked among the top 50 in the nation for pediatric cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Visit www.hackensackmerdianhealth.org/kids for more information about Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health.