According to the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration, within months of the COVID-19 pandemic, data showed declining rates of vaccinations and well-child visits.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that declines in vaccination coverage might leave young children and communities vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles.
To respond, the Maternal & Child Health bureau of HRSA launched a national competition — the Promoting Pediatric Primary Prevention (P4) Challenge.
Applicants were invited to demonstrate innovative approaches to increase well-child visits and immunizations. More than 240 entrants applied.
Swope Health and the Mid-America Regional Coalition (MARC) in collaboration were named one of the initial 50 winners in phase 1, the only applicant winning from the Midwest. The phase 1 prize was $10,000.
Then, in phase 2, Swope Health and MARC’s entry landed in the top 20, earning a $25,000 prize.
Plus, Swope Health and MARC’s Mid-America Head Start were named as one of three winners invited to deliver a national presentation on the winning program. Sandra Reece-Tinsley, Health Manager for MARC, delivered the presentation in the Winners Showcase on Jan. 31.
“We are so proud of this win,” said Kenneth Thomas, M.D., Executive Vice President of Children’s Services for Swope Health. “We demonstrated that the Swope Health’s KidsCARE solution with Head Start delivered an increase in well-child healthcare visits and immunizations over the prior year. These check-ups and immunizations help kids grow and stay healthy.”
The collaboration was among the most holistic programs presented in the challenge, offering well-child visits and immunizations and integrated dental, optometry and behavioral health access and services as well. Many of the other challenge applicant programs had a limited area of focus.
KidsCARE is Swope Health’s program to deliver pediatric primary care, dental and behavioral health care together in the community. KidsCARE uses telehealth and mobile medical clinics for Head Start community- and school-based locations. Swope Health recently opened a standalone KidsCARE clinic in the Emmanuel Family and Child Development Center.
The MARC-Swope Health entry showed delivery of 227 well-child examinations, 16 eye clinic examinations and 400 dental examinations. The KidsCARE pilot program covered rural and urban settings and produced improved results in both categories – higher than all other MARC Head Start sites.
Nationally, the Challenge projects generated more than 52,000 pediatric well-child visits and nearly 23,000 immunizations. Read more details from the Department of Health and Human Services: HHS Announces Winners of National Challenge to Increase Pediatric Vaccinations and Well-Child Visits.