UI Health care coordination program designated an Integrated Health Home

University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences SystemThe Coordinated Health Care for Complex Kids program, or CHECK, has been approved by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services as an Integrated Health Home.

Programs designated as an Integrated Health Home, or IHH, have met specific state requirements and are responsible for coordinating the care —including physical, behavioral and social care — of Illinois residents who are covered by Medicaid.

Under the IHH program, which represents a new model in Illinois’ Medicaid program, each patient covered will be linked to one of the state-designated IHH care providers, like CHECK, a program at UI Health.

“CHECK aims to improve health by leveraging trained community health workers and health information technology to reduce or remove the barriers many families experience when it comes to accessing or benefitting fully from care,” said Dr. Benjamin Van Voorhees, professor and head of pediatrics at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine.

CHECK staff members connect with families where they are located, including in their homes and other community locations, not just in clinics and hospitals. Using health information technology, the CHECK team is able to use data to understand each patient’s health risk and, alongside a personalized health questionnaire, develop an individualized electronic care plan.

“Based on medical care provider-approved care plans, the community health workers engage with families one-on-one and provide support on multiple fronts, ranging from helping to address fairly common barriers, like transportation, to helping mitigate the health care risks associated with more complex situations, like the need for safe housing or previously unmet mental health care needs,” said Van Voorhees, who leads the CHECK program.

CHECK, which launched in 2014 with a $19.8 million grant award from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, was originally developed and piloted as a care coordination model for a pediatric population. As one of the first programs in Illinois to be designated as an IHH, the program will expand to include adults and more individuals with significant behavioral health needs.

“We’ve been building and testing this model for four years,” said Elizabeth Glassgow, who works with Van Voorhees as CHECK’s executive director. “Addressing the social determinants of health has been key to our success and the infrastructure we have built — specifically the integration of behavioral health care services in our care coordination model — makes us well suited to act as an IHH.”

Glassgow says the outcomes data from the first four years of the program is promising, showing overall annual health care cost reductions that include a decrease in the number of days in the hospital and the number of emergency department visits.

“We think we will see many of the same positive patient care outcomes as we serve Illinois patients as an IHH,” Glassgow said.

More information about CHECK is available online.