Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health (the Office) addresses critical contemporary issues in children’s lives that have the potential to adversely affect their health and development. The Office not only serves as a critical community resource, but also cultivates innovative and cost-effective solutions to address existing gaps in our health care and child service systems.
Through the Office, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center ensures that families have access to a comprehensive system of community programs and services that supports them in promoting their children’s optimal healthy development.
Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health elevates the effectiveness and status of the Medical Center as a critical community resource by developing, promoting, supporting, evaluating, and disseminating innovative, effective community-oriented programs and services to address children’s critical health needs.
The Office oversees a variety of community-oriented programs that address a wide range of factors that influence children’s healthy development. Those programs, and their community-based partners, not only focus on the traditional areas of child health services, family support, and early care and education, but also touch other sectors including food and nutrition, housing, economic development, child welfare, and transportation.
The Office takes a three-pronged approach to promoting children’s optimal healthy development:
- Strengthening existing community-oriented programs.
- Facilitating synergies among those programs.
- Serving as an innovation incubator for promising approaches that improve short- and long-term health outcomes for children.
The Office serves as a new model for other children’s hospitals to follow in terms of demonstrating their community benefit to maintain tax exempt status. In the past, hospitals have traditionally relied on documenting the discounted and unreimbursed care that they provide to patients. Now, under the Affordable Care Act, there has been a sharp reduction in the number of Americans who are uninsured and, therefore, a reduction in the need for discounted or unreimbursed care. Because of that, hospitals are being encouraged to find new ways to demonstrate the benefit they offer to their communities. The Office’s model offers a strategic approach that shows how its programs are linked to critical community needs and how they are addressing those needs.
Also, the Office’s focus on preventive and cost-effective models of care for children is timely given the shift in healthcare towards accountable care that emphasizes value in terms of keeping populations healthy. The Office takes an active leadership role in informing population health efforts at the local, state and national levels.