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Three Key Child Program Updates

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — March 03, 2021
Arguably one of our most important initiatives, the Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Child Program (previously known as the Child Welfare Program) has already made measurable progress in supporting children, families, and providers involved in the child welfare system.

To improve outcomes for members and their families and to support our providers and child welfare team as they help our members, we have:
  • Made improvements to how we communicate with members, providers, and DSS
  • Expanded and enhanced services available to children and teens in need of transitional care
  • Simplified administrative processes for Therapeutic Foster Care and community-based services
We outline our progress in more detail below.

Improved Communication

Nine DSS Liaisons Now in Place

Across 10 of our counties, we have aligned nine former child care coordinators to work alongside each county’s DSS staff. We enacted this initiative to close the communication gap between Cardinal Innovations staff, DSS, and families involved in or at risk of being involved in a DSS investigation.

Eventually, we will add a total of 14 liaisons to DSS agencies across our service area. Once DSS deems it safe to return to the office, these liaisons will be placed in the physical DSS agency locations.

New Child Program Resource Brochures Added to Our Website

To support our members and families involved in the child welfare system, we’ve created three brochures to help link them to free local and national programs and resources. These member documents include:
  • Department of Social Services (DSS) Staff Locations. As stated above, we’ve aligned nine staff members with local DSS agencies. To ensure members and providers can take full advantage of this change, we made this brochure to explain what the DSS liaisons are doing and how to contact them for information related to DSS and child welfare.
  • Local Child Program Resources. There are many free child welfare resources that don’t require pre-authorization or approval. However, not all members know they’re available and how to get in touch with them. This brochure provides contact information to dozens of local programs, so members can find nearby support for whatever they need—from group-setting parenting classes to one-on-one child welfare advocacy services.
  • Child Wellness Resources. We know that as long as they’re safe and healthy, children often do best when they can stay in their homes and communities. This brochure focuses on supporting families before a child enters DSS custody. It links parents and caregivers to free wellness resources that can help them keep their children physically and mentally healthy.
We also created the Child Program Provider Resources to support the training and development of our providers who serve children and families involved in the child welfare system. The document provides contact information for local and online child welfare-related training programs.

Expanded Service Capacity Across Our Service Area

To offer greater availability for transitional care for children and teens with complex needs, we’ve executed agreements with four major behavioral health care providers. Thompson Child & Family Focus, Alexander Youth Network, Pinnacle Family Services, and Alamance Academy each will provide care for youth who may have otherwise entered situations in which their needs are unmet, including hospital emergency departments.

This change has more than tripled our capacity to serve children and teens in this vulnerable population. As of January 25, we have already placed 14 members from three counties into new services.

Simplified Processes for Therapeutic Foster Care and Community-Based Services

Changes to Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) Authorization Requirements

We’ve changed the requirements and processes for prior authorizations and contracting for TFC homes and agencies. Now providers are no longer required to contract or submit authorizations for specific foster homes. Instead, TFC authorization and contracting will occur at the agency level.

This change increases our bandwidth for supporting children and youth who are entering or currently reside in the foster care system. It also makes it easier for us to add more foster homes to our network.

Updated Processes for Community-Based Services for Children in Child Welfare

We’re simplifying the processes and requirements for community-based services for children in child welfare. These shifts will help children access services more quickly and lessen the administrative burden placed on providers.

First, service authorization decisions will not require providers to send Utilization Management any extra documentation beyond the clinical information submitted with the authorization request. However, providers still must maintain in their records all documentation required by their contract and all applicable authorities and agencies.

Second, prior authorization will no longer be required for all non-Innovations community-based services. Before submitting claims, providers still must notify Utilization Management to create an authorization number for billing purposes, and these authorizations will be completed within 72 hours after being submitted.

To Summarize

The above changes have shifted the way we operate within the child welfare system.

In summary:
  • By aligning DSS Liaisons and publishing child welfare resources, we’ve streamlined communication with our stakeholders involved in child welfare.
  • Through new agreements with major behavioral health providers, we’ve more than tripled our capacity to serve youth in need of behavioral health care services.
  • By adjusting requirements and processes in TFC and community-based services, we’ve made it quicker and easier for members to access important child welfare services.
We look forward to working with DSS and our network of outstanding providers to continue increasing our capacity and bettering our ability to serve members and their families.

Child Program

Find more information and resources on our Child Program.

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