Quality improvement learning collaborative to examine foster care guidelines.

  • Jee S
  • Szilagyi M
  • Schriefer J
 et al. 
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Learning collaboratives (LC) are an important method of implementing quality improvement by serving as laboratories to translate research into practice and sharing knowledge. We created a Foster Care Learning Collaborative (FCLC) of 11 foster care health sites to share best practices on providing health services for children in foster care. Using a collaborative approach involving monthly conference calls, we invited each health site to present specific health care delivery issues for the purpose of developing collaborative quality improvement projects regarding the delivery of healthcare to children placed into foster care. For health sites providing primary care (n = 8 of 11 sites), we examined adherence to two American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines for children entering foster care: a) the initial health screen, and b) the comprehensive medical evaluations. At least four distinct types of health care models that provide either direct primary care or administrative oversight for children in foster care were identified: 1) medical home sites (n = 3); 2) foster care evaluation/intake sites (n = 2); 3) specialized primary care sites (n = 1); and, 4) state administrative programs (n = 2). Data from the six direct primary care sites (n = 586 children) and two state administrative models (n = 3855 children) was collected. The time-frame for the initial health screen was adjusted to 7 days after entry and adherence (31%) was comparable among primary care sites. Adherence to AAP guidelines regarding completion of a comprehensive medical evaluation within 30 days of intake varied among medical homes (30%–86%), intake models (23%–33%), specialized primary care site (43%), and state models (43%–73%). No site was fully compliant with the AAP guideline for universal comprehensive medical evaluation within 30 days, and there is variation within and among care models. A foster care learning collaborative identified significant variability in adherence to a commonly accepted guideline for timely access to healthcare for children placed into foster care. The LC c model offers the opportunity to evaluate best practices, identify barriers to care, and provide objective feedback for improvement. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Author-supplied keywords

  • Evaluation
  • Foster care
  • Health care standards
  • Learning collaboratives
  • National guidelines
  • Quality improvement

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  • Sandra Jee

  • Moira Szilagyi

  • Jan Schriefer

  • Anne-Marie Conn

  • Julia Weld

  • Philip V Scribano

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