April meeting notes, part 1: Child & Teen Checkups Program

Our guest speaker this month was Morgan Mulhern from the seven county Child & Teen Checkups program.

This program, which has been providing services since the 1960s, is part of the Public Health Dept. of Minnesota but it is actually a federal program.  Every county in the country has a staff or program.  In other states, the programs are often called the EPSDT (Early, Periodic, Screening, Diagnosis & Treatment).   The Child & Teen Checkups program is for children and youth who are on medical assistance.   It provides  access to comprehensive medical and dental care and tracks its clients through the years so they and their parents or care takers are sure they are receiving the followups they need, through their 21st birthday.

The reasoning behind this program is simple.  A child (or adult) can’t do well in school or anywhere else if she has a toothache, a low grade infection, or is in general poor health.   Most of these issues can be prevented, treated, or at least mitigated.
The C&TC was set up after it was discovered that too few people were taking advantage of this free and comprehensive service.  Study revealed that that many people need explanations and coaching and some needed it in languages other than English.  Eligible people may need help finding a clinic or dentist, scheduling appointments with primary care providers, arranging for transportation and interpreters, getting referrals to specialists, acquiring medications, and other issues.

Ms Mulhern pointed out that 80% of human brain development happens before age 3.  This is the time when a lack of medical and dental care have the biggest negative impact  and good medical and dental care will have the most rewarding (and future cost-saving) positive impact.

Supporting the supporters is part of the C&TC program.  Ms Mulhern brought a 2-page list of resources in the community that are out there, pre-natal and on through life. The list includes housing, mental health, food resources, and many other services. There are also tipsheets, like the one that suggested baby games like counting fingers and toes, finding “eyes, ears, mouth and nose”, reading, singing, just talking, and more.  Every positive interaction with a baby has a payoff.

For more information: they are open 8AM-4:30PM, M-F.  Phone: 612.348.5131.
Question:  How many clients does C&TC serve every year,  and of those people eligible, how many still do not know about C&TC?

Ms Mulhern didn’t have  the numbers with her but the following data were sent to EQ after the meeting:

·       In 2017 in Hennepin County there were 133,000 children ages birth to 21 who were enrolled on Medicaid & eligible for Child & Teen Check Up services.   In 2018 it’s gone up to 140,050 children.

·       The participation rate last year for Child & Teen Check Ups was 81%, so 107,730 eligible children got in for a checkup at least one time that year.  Note:  Hennepin County’s participation was the highest in the state.

·       C&TC staff make phone calls to all children’s parents/guardians.  They also  phone young adults who are 18-21 yrs. of age who are on their own.  Introduction calls go out shortly after clients have enrolled on Medicaid.  Staff also does reminder or referral calls.

·       Staff spoke to 37,000 individuals face/face about our program throughout Hennepin County in 2017.   We were at community events & community partner sites.  We set up information tables, did presentations & attended community meetings.

·       Face/face outreach and phone calls are done by  12 Senior Community Health Workers.

C&TC will be at this year’s Second Precinct Open House, on  Monday, May 14, 5-7 PM.

Special thanks to Ms. Mulhern for stepping in at the last minute.  We’d wanted a presentation by this department during the summer, but a situation changed and she actually had less than a day to figure out what she wanted to present.  Thank you very much!

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