First Lady Jane Beshear's Communications Office
First Lady Celebrates Work of Children’s Clinic

Press Release Date:  Friday, December 05, 2008  
Contact Information:  Jay Blanton
Jill Midkiff

First–of-its-kind medical center for youth in foster care is innovative partnership

FRANKFORT, Ky. – First Lady Jane Beshear marked a milestone today at a Lexington clinic, the first of its kind in the state dedicated to caring for the health of children in foster care.

The Medical Home for Coordinated Pediatrics (MHCP), a joint venture of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ (CHFS) Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs (CCSHCN), the University of Kentucky College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics and CHFS’ Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), celebrated its 500th patient visit in less than one year of operation.

First Lady Beshear toured the center, met its staff and spoke about the benefits of the program.  “Children’s health care is a priority of my husband, Gov. Steve Beshear,” said Mrs. Beshear.  “In these tight economic times we must use our existing resources to best serve the children of the commonwealth – including those who are in state foster care.  When a partnership like this results in so many benefits, it’s a win for all of Kentucky.”

The clinic is a one-stop medical center that provides comprehensive, compassionate, coordinated pediatric primary care for children in out-of-home care.  The center, located in the CCSHCN’s Waller Avenue office, serves children in out-of-home care from Fayette and 19 surrounding counties.  Medical information for children who visit the center is entered into CCSHCN’s database, which can be accessed by its staff statewide and  follows the children no matter where they go, improving the consistency of care they receive.

CCSHCN Executive Director Rebecca Cecil said that clinic staff address each child’s needs, make appropriate referrals and coordinate follow-up care.  “This clinic, coupled with the nine commission nurses stationed in DCBS offices across the state, provides a level of medical expertise that has been desperately needed,” she said.

DCBS Deputy Commissioner Teresa James said this continuity gives the children a medical home.

“We strive to reduce the number of placements for our children in foster care,” James said, “but there are often situations when a child must be moved to another home or facility.” The clinic also provides support for families in the Kinship Care Program, which places children with relatives rather than in a foster home, James said.

“The importance of this program to the health and lives of these Kentucky children is profound,” said Dr. Timothy Bricker, professor and chair, Department of Pediatrics, UK College of Medicine, and physician-in-chief of Kentucky Children’s Hospital.  “The foster caregivers and the staff of this program are our heroes.”

Because the program is able to use existing commission clinic space and share some staff, the additional costs of running the clinic are less than $100,000.  The clinic is located in available space within the commission’s office and Medicaid pays for the services provided to the foster children.

Approximately 7,100 Kentucky children are in state foster care.  DCBS is responsible for coordinating an initial physical health screening within 48 hours of the child’s entry into out-of-home care.  DCBS also must ensure that each child has a physical, dental and visual exam scheduled within two weeks of entry into care.  About 122 children in foster care are considered medically fragile with specialized health care needs.