UPMC Health Plan Launches Special Report on Allegheny County Maternal and Child Health Care Collaborative

Nov 06, 2013, 11:00 ET from UPMC Health Plan

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- UPMC Health Plan is launching an online, interactive report detailing the growth and evolution of the Allegheny County Maternal and Child Health Care Collaborative, a community-based collaboration designed to improve health care service delivery and outcomes for Medicaid-eligible parents and their young children.

The report, Perspectives on the Allegheny County Maternal and Child Health Collaborative, highlights the involvement of the key partners as well as the personal stories of those who were central to the operation and success of the Collaborative since its inception in 2002.

Three units of the UPMC Insurance Services Division – UPMC Health Plan, Community Care Behavioral Health Organization (Community Care), and UPMC for You – plus RAND Corporation, The Alliance for Infants and Toddlers, and more than 30 other local organizations played pivotal roles in the planning and execution of the Collaborative's four phases.

Research shows that maternal depression and childhood developmental delays often co-occur and adversely affect family functioning by putting a strain on the mother-child relationship. These issues are more prevalent among low-income and minority families.

Despite the cyclical factors linking maternal depression to childhood developmental risk, the systems that treat these issues usually do not interact. The Collaborative successfully addressed this concern, culminating in a groundbreaking effort to connect the physical health, behavioral health, childhood early intervention, and social service systems, in order to better identify and assist Medicaid-eligible families at dual risk for parental depression and childhood developmental delays.

"One of the things we were hoping to see through this project was that parental engagement in behavioral health treatment and early childhood intervention services would be enhanced and increased," said John Lovelace, President of UPMC for You. "We've seen that in both cases, and these systems have become increasingly smarter about making those connections as a result."

As a founding partner of the Collaborative, UPMC for You worked with other local Medicaid physical health care managed care organizations to provide health care resources and expertise. UPMC for You and UPMC Health Plan also secured funding from various sources, developed protocols to improve communication among providers in the physical health and behavioral health systems, and streamlined the depression screening and referral processes for mothers of young children.

Community Care and The Alliance for Infants and Toddlers (The Alliance) spearheaded the most recent and in-depth phase of the Collaborative's work – the Helping Families Raise Healthy Children initiative. In this phase, The Alliance served as the central intake hub for all depression screening and referrals from outside organizations.

"We were asked to become involved because we were known for our ability to engage families in services," said Michele Myers-Cepicka, Executive Director, The Alliance for Infants and Toddlers. "Our staff was trained on the connection between early childhood development and parental depression. That knowledge helped our staff build relationships with families and direct them to effective and appropriate services."

Community Care ensured access to behavioral health treatment services by enabling a network of providers to offer in-home treatment. It also facilitated cross-system training for more than 300 of The Alliance for Infants and Toddlers' staff, early childhood intervention providers, mental health professionals, and community service organizations to deliver relationship-based services that address maternal depression in the context of parenting and the parent-child relationship.

During this phase, 87 percent of families were referred to early intervention or behavioral health services, and 71 percent of those families engaged in those services.

"We proved that it is indeed possible to integrate systems of care and create meaningful health outcomes for mothers and children," said Jim Gavin, President and CEO, Community Care. "And Community Care has worked hard to make Helping Families Raise Healthy Children a sustainable, replicable initiative that can be implemented in other communities that have similar needs."

A project team led by Community Care developed a "turnkey program" with resources that other communities can use to improve coordination within their local systems of care. Brochures, self-help tip sheets, and educational materials – including a comprehensive toolkit for implementing parental depression screening, referral, and treatment across systems – were created for this purpose. To date, Adams, York, Huntingdon, Mifflin, and Juniata counties in Pennsylvania have executed similar programs based on the work of the Collaborative in Allegheny County.

You may view Perspectives on the Allegheny County Maternal and Child Health Care Collaborative on your iPad, Kindle, or desktop computer at www.upmchealthplan.com/Perspectives/Report.html.

About UPMC Health Plan
UPMC Health Plan, the second-largest health insurer in western Pennsylvania, is owned by UPMC, an integrated global health enterprise. The integrated partner companies of the UPMC Insurance Services Division – which includes UPMC Health Plan, UPMC WorkPartners, LifeSolutions (EAP), UPMC for You (Medical Assistance), and Community Care Behavioral Health – offer a full range of group health insurance, Medicare, Special Needs, CHIP, Medical Assistance, behavioral health, employee assistance, and workers' compensation products and services to nearly 2.2 million members. Our local provider network includes UPMC as well as community providers, totaling more than 135 hospitals and more than 11,500 physicians throughout Pennsylvania and parts of Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland. For more information, visit www.upmchealthplan.com.