PEDIATRIC CARE: Kaiser Announces New Policy Following Report
Kaiser Permanente announced Thursday it will "alter" its pediatric care policy in response to a new report recommending "13 steps for treating development with the same importance as traditional health concerns." The Hayward Daily Review reports that managed care providers met last week at a New York forum sponsored by Kaiser to discuss the recommendations. The new report, "Right Time, Right Place," released by the Oakland-based advocacy group Children Now, "call[s] on health maintenance organizations to respond to recent research that shows critical brain wiring occurs during the first three years of life." Outlining several early childhood development strategies, the report recommends home visits for newborns, questionnaires for new parents, phone lines for child development specialists, breast feeding and further community links for new parents. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Chair and CEO David Lawrence said, "We have the brain science so we know the biology. The question now is designing the interventions so they can be most effective."
Tobacco For Babies
The Daily Review notes that the providers' forum "was held just one day after a California initiative that proposes paying for a slew of new early childhood development programs" with a 50 cents-per-pack tax on cigarettes "qualified for the November ballot." The initiative could bring $44.3 million in child development funds to Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and San Joaquin counties if passed by voters. "It's a very wise policy that would go hand-in-glove with the strategies we're talking about today," said Children Now President Lois Salisbury. "With that investment and with health plans willing to meet the public halfway, we might have the capacity to create seamless support, which is what parents really need but don't have these days," she said (Gyulai, 6/26). Click here for more California Healthline coverage of the childhood development initiative, which is being publicized by actor/director Rob Reiner.