CBH and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children Launch Program to Increase Access to Care for Children and Their Families

Published on May 18, 2023

According to the U.S. surgeon general’s recent youth mental health advisory, one in five U.S. children have at least one mental, emotional, developmental, or behavioral disorder. In 2019, one in three high school students reported experiencing sadness and hopelessness – a 40% increase since 2009. Despite these findings, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) reports that only 20% of children with mental health conditions receive treatment services from a provider.

Untreated mental illness can have a devastating, long-lasting impact on a child’s life. Here at CBH, we simplify access to behavioral health treatment and support for our members, Philadelphia’s Medicaid-eligible families, and individuals. We continue to develop innovative solutions that bring access to quality behavioral health support to the medical facilities our members already visit. One example is the Integrated Care for Kids (InCK) program.

In 2022, CBH partnered with St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children to launch a new Integrated Care for Kids (InCK) program. This initiative aims to increase access to care for children and their families by embedding behavioral health services and supports into the health system’s existing pediatric clinics.

Through the program, an interdisciplinary team of mental health professionals from both CBH and St. Christopher’s – which includes psychologists, therapists, social workers, pharmacists, and other mental health professionals – provide onsite services during and after a child’s appointments with their pediatrician. These services include screenings for behavioral health conditions, identifying potential underlying social needs that affect health outcomes, and care coordination to help connect families to treatment services and community-based support.

The program follows the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) InCK model – a child-centered local service delivery and state payment model created to improve child health and reduce avoidable inpatient hospitalizations and out-of-home placements. From July to December 2022, 540 new members enrolled in the program. Program staff made over 695 referrals to behavioral health professionals, coordinated over 1,301 rides to medical and behavioral health care visits, and conducted more than 532 screenings to identify social needs that affect one’s health.

This partnership with St. Christopher’s helps reduce health inequities by making it easier for children and families to get the quality, whole-person care they deserve.