Colorado To Launch Internet-Based Neonatal Care Program
The state of Colorado has contracted with Massachusetts-based Clinical Support Technology Inc. to link neonatal intensive care unit physicians and nurses with Medicaid beneficiaries over the Internet, which will allow hospitals to discharge patients from the NICU earlier, according to CST. Colorado will implement CST's Baby CareLink this month at four Denver-area hospitals to help improve the quality of care and reduce health care costs. Baby CareLink allows parents of premature or "medically complex" infants to have access to a secure Web site to view photographs of their children, retrieve updated information about their children's health status and read information on care that they must provide for their children when they return home, according to CST. The Web site also includes an electronic messaging service that allows NICU physicians and personnel to answer questions from parents and provide advice on care for their infants. CST will train hospital personnel to use the Baby CareLink and provide 10 laptops that hospitals can loan to parents who do not have access to a computer. Johnson & Johnson, a participant in the program, will provide additional computer equipment for parents and medical personnel to use. State officials plan to implement Baby CareLink, part of a larger disease management program for Colorado Medicaid beneficiaries, in all of the state's NICUs by the end of the year (CST release, 7/22). CST, J&J, Astra Zeneca PLC and Pfizer Inc. provided the $1.7 million for the 18-month disease management program (Sanko, Denver Rocky Mountain News, 7/22).
A proposal similar to the Colorado Baby CareLink program has received criticism from Illinois lawmakers, the Chicago Tribune reports. An Illinois lawmaker called for hearings on a proposal to pilot Baby CareLink in two Chicago hospitals in March. State officials had agreed to pay CST $2,000 per enrolled child, despite the fact that 75% of parents eligible for the service did not own computers (Long/Berens, Chicago Tribune 3/26). For more iHealth & Technology stories, visit iHealthBeat.org, a new Web publication sponsored by the California HealthCare Foundation.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.