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Accelerating Pediatric Care

 2 min read

Jefferson Health Receives $210,000 Grant from Accelerate the Future to Enhance Pediatric Behavioral Health Services

Jefferson Health has been awarded a $210,000 grant by Accelerate the Future to expand best practices in meeting the behavioral health needs of children in Jefferson Primary Care.

The grant will facilitate the establishment of an evidence-based Collaborative Care Model within pediatric primary care at the Jefferson Einstein campus. The model enhances the identification and management of behavioral health concerns as part of a holistic approach to health.

“Accelerate the Future’s support is a catalyst for others to contribute to making a significant difference in the lives of children and adolescents facing behavioral health challenges,” says Robert L. Bonner Jr., MD, Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Jefferson Einstein Hospital. “This project not only seeks to bridge the current gap in medical and behavioral health care, but also to create a legacy of hope and healing for future generations, highlighting the pivotal role healthcare institutions can play in fostering a healthier community.”

Children from all communities deserve access to behavioral health services, including children in communities affected by economic and racial injustice. Philadelphia has 21.7% poverty rate, and the city’s youth are disproportionately affected, with nearly 100,000 children living in poverty and a high prevalence of adverse childhood experiences. Many children and adolescents face significant barriers in accessing care. Currently, there are approximately 400-500 youth aged 12-21 and an additional 100 children under 12 on waitlists for behavioral health services.

Since its founding, Jefferson has served the unique and vulnerable populations in the Greater Philadelphia area. The Department of Pediatrics at Jefferson Einstein Hospital serves approximately 50,000 children annually, with 65% being low-income CHIP/Medicaid recipients and a significant proportion identifying as people of color. The Accelerate the Future grant will fund services at Einstein’s Pediatric and Adolescent Ambulatory Clinic, which serves approximately 14,000 children, over 80% of whom are from low-income families.

The Collaborative Care Model improves children’s health and well-being by creating dedicated access to behavioral health services and enhancing family support. The pilot phase will serve 600 patients initially and expand to serve an estimated 1,600 children with behavioral health needs at the site. This work will create a platform to expand this sustainable, impactful behavioral health model across Jefferson’s pediatric and family medicine primary care sites.

Key components of the program include:

  • Placement of a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) within the pediatric clinic to provide real-time collaboration and care coordination.
  • Collaboration from a designated psychiatrist to bring enhanced expertise to care of behavioral health conditions in the primary care setting.
  • Screening for behavioral health needs and managing care through a comprehensive registry system.
  • Tracking patient outcomes to ensure continuous improvement and closing gaps in care.

“Jefferson Health is committed to integrated medical and behavioral health services in the primary care setting,” says Baligh R. Yehia, MD, MPP, MSc, FACP, President of Jefferson Health. “We are proud to offer the best of evidence-based health care to the children of the communities we serve.”