The West Virginia Children’s Health Collaborative Project is an innovative partnership between children’s health policy experts, health providers, educators, parents, and community leaders who share the common goal to see every West Virginia child insured, linked to a doctor’s office or primary care provider, and receiving coordinated and continuous needed health and social services. We will build on successful models across our state, support the good work that has already been done, and work to make even more progress.
Even though West Virginia is a national leader in reducing the rate of uninsured children and has more school-based health centers per person than any other state in the nation, we still see our children’s overall health and well-being ranked close to the bottom in national surveys. Today a growing number of West Virginia’s children are in disrupted families and in transition, which creates new barriers to enrollment. And even with an insurance card in-hand, it is difficult to link these children to a medical home and coordinated, continuous care.
The Children’s Health Collaborative Project’s first challenge is to develop a comprehensive statewide picture of what is already happending in schools and communities so we can then:
1) Assist families of children who do not have private health insurance enroll into West Virginia Medicaid and our Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP);
2) Connect children and families to a medical home that can coordinate health and social services; and
3) Plan for continuity of services when school is out of session.
Through surveys of diverse school, health care, and community stakeholders, followed by phone interviews, focus groups, and site visits, we will create a list of programs, key players, community leaders, and successful models to share across the state.
Following the statewide assessment, in August we will share what we learned from our surveys and plan how to both replicate great programs and advance policy changes that can help strengthen the children’s wheel of services – both hub and spokes. We will also have the foundation to create a network of local children’s health experts and community champions who are dedicated to informing policymakers and taking action to improve children’s health and wellbeing at the community, state, and federal levels.
Until now, there’s been no uniform effort to compile a comprehensive, statewide picture of how we’re addressing health care in our schools. But The Children’s Health Collaborative Project is not just another research project. It is an initiative to catalyze new voices to speak out and bring positive change supported by a foundation of knowledge and an understanding of what really works to get our children the health care and social service supports that empowers them to succeed.
How to Help?
We are looking for anyone who has a stake in our children’s lives. If you would like to help – in a large or small role – or learn more – please contact West Virginians for Affordable Health Care at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 304.444.5917.