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New Niagara Children's Health Home debuts at Memorial

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Fri, Dec 2nd 2016 09:00 pm

Service will enhance care coordination for children in Medicaid households

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center on Monday will open a significant expansion of its successful health home - an expansion that will benefit hundreds of Niagara County children from low-income households.

The new care management service is called the Niagara Children's Health Home. Memorial's is one of only nine statewide that has been authorized by the New York State Department of Health.

"Our mission is to provide person-centered comprehensive care management to qualifying children who have chronic health conditions - to keep them from falling through the cracks," said Vicki Landes, RN, BSN, the medical center's vice president of community care coordination and services.

"We have created a comprehensive network of health care and other service providers across Niagara County to help connect these children with hospital systems, ambulatory care sites, care and case management programs and community supports such as housing and vocational services."

Health Homes provide an opportunity to establish critical care linkages by meaningfully connecting systems and programs that sometimes work in isolation. To enroll in the Niagara Children's Health Home, a person must be newborn to age 21, enrolled in Medicaid and have two or more chronic conditions or:

  • Alcohol and substance abuse
  • Mental health condition, serious mental illness (SMI) / serious emotional disturbance (SED)
  • Cardiovascular disease (e.g. hypertension), metabolic disease (e.g. diabetes) or respiratory disease (e.g. asthma)
  • Obesity BMI at or above the eighth percentile for children of the same age and sex
  • A single qualifying condition of HIV/AIDS

After completing a comprehensive assessment to identify the child's physical, psychosocial, environmental and other needs, a care manager will develop a care plan based on the results and work with the client or caregiver to prioritize and carry out the plan.

"Depending on the needs that are identified, this could also involve coordination with primary care physicians, mental health providers and other specialists," Landes said. "As each plan of care is carried out, we coordinate, constantly evaluate and adjust it when needed. It's that extra, continued attention that really makes this model work."

Administrative offices for both the new Niagara Children's Health Home and the existing adult health home, which serves more than 3,000 clients, are in the Golisano Center for Community Health at 533 10th St. The office is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and walk-ins are welcome. To learn more, call 716-278-4647.

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