Non-Traditional Settings for Closing Care Gaps Spell Success — and a New Program — for Blue Shield of California Promise Members

Five times more Well-Child Visits completed in pilot program, compared to typical primary care offices.

San Diego region's Well-Child Visits pilot program from Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan ended in January, and successful outcomes — backed by months of data from more than 300 children’s exams  —  have demonstrated the impact of our non-traditional approach to closing healthcare gaps for members' children (newborns through age 21) and building trust among parents and healthcare professionals.

Last fall, Blue Shield Promise’s Quality Improvement and the Community and Provider Engagement (CAPE) teams launched eight Well-Child Visit events throughout San Diego County. We collaborated with Quality Health Partners, which provided the medical check-ups, along with the YMCA of San Diego County and The Boys and Girls Club of Greater San Diego, which are trusted community-based organizations.

“The data results are exciting and encouraging,” said Christine Nguyen, director of Clinical Quality at Blue Shield Promise. “The response from parents, and results for their children, confirm the need for this non-traditional approach and its value for our members,” said Nguyen. The facts tell a compelling story, she said.

The eight events had five times as many completed Well-Child Visits compared to typical primary care offices. Of 318 young members who completed a clinic visit, many had not had care gaps closed in the past. Additionally, the medical staff closed 167 care gaps for members who did not previously have a Well-Child Visit in over 18 months; some had not completed one in five years, if at all. Well-child exams include height, weight, and body mass index measurements; immunization status; topical fluoride applications; developmental screening (3 years old or younger); depression screening (12+ years old); and lead screenings (if applicable).

Because of the pilot’s success, Blue Shield Promise is planning to launch Well-Child Visits at community locations as an ongoing program and is working with selected community-based organizations to offer these visits in San Diego County later this year. “What’s so heartening is that other community-based organizations have already approached us to see how they can support the Well-Child Visits program,” said Nguyen.

“During the clinics, the stories we heard from parents and healthcare providers left no doubt about the impact our strategy has had on these families,” said Patricia Brown, Community Programs operations manager, and part of the CAPE team at Blue Shield Promise. “From identifying unmet medical, behavioral and social needs, and connecting patients and parents to follow-up care and resources, to the sensitive assessment of a young, cognitively delayed patient whose father was overcome by emotion at the care provided to his child, we experienced a profound range of health care, well delivered,” she said.

“We believe that word-of-mouth will spread quickly among our Medi-Cal population about the importance of getting a well-child exam every year, which is the best outcome we could hope for!" 

More information will be coming soon about the Blue Shield Promise Well-Child Visit program in San Diego County.