Michigan Broadens Efforts to Improve Outcomes for Children in Foster Care

Expanded internet portal provides caseworkers with children’s
physical and mental health data to better meet their needs

LANSING, Mich.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Michigan children in foster care will be better served under a
first-of-its-kind data-sharing project that provides foster care
caseworkers with a complete view of children’s medical history and care

Rick Snyder and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
today announced
the expansion of the initiative, known as
CareConnect360, to include youths in foster care. The data-sharing and
analytics initiative is an example of the type of coordinated services
that Snyder had in mind when he merged the former Departments of
Community Health and Human Services in 2015 to better meet the unique
needs of each person served by the department.

“Our goal is to provide coordinated care to the nearly 13,000 children
in foster care by addressing their behavioral, developmental and
physical health needs in a comprehensive way,” Snyder said. “We
appreciate the collaborative spirit with which our state employees,
technology partners, health plans, and community advocacy groups have
embraced this important initiative.”

By providing foster care professionals with electronic access to
children’s health information, MDHHS is helping to advance the
governor’s vision of focusing on “people not programs” in the state’s
efforts to help all Michiganders lead healthier lives.

CareConnect360 is a care management tool and internet portal. MDHHS
initially launched the initiative to coordinate care and improve health
outcomes for Michigan Medicaid beneficiaries. Consistent with the law,
CareConnect360 makes integrated physical and behavioral health-related
information – along with other human services information – available to
the state’s health plans that serve Medicaid beneficiaries.

MDHHS follows strict privacy and security policies that govern access to
residents’ personal information and is committed to respecting and
protecting their privacy. While foster care professionals previously
could access medical records of the children they served, they now have
more immediate access to physical and behavioral health care information.

Having a comprehensive understanding of a child’s medical history and
doctor’s appointments is necessary to assure the child’s needs are met
while in foster care. It allows caseworkers to understand, analyze and
monitor the medical care received by foster children, including
treatment for chronic conditions; emergency room visits; filled
medications that health professionals prescribe; and whether the
children have received well-child visits and dental treatment.

MDHHS staff can also use the tool to identify gaps in care, engage with
parents about their child’s needs and inform new foster parents of a
child’s medical background in an effort to improve the health and
well-being of the children.

“Children in foster care can face numerous challenges that affect their
health and well-being, including emotional, behavioral, developmental
and educational difficulties; placement instability; and involvement in
the juvenile justice system,” said MDHHS Director Nick Lyon. “With
CareConnect360, our foster care professionals now have a window into the
care and treatment of these children, which will enable them to make
better and faster decisions and improve overall health outcomes for this
vulnerable population.”

Under the expanded initiative, MDHHS foster care workers and supervisors
now have access to the CareConnect360 physical and behavioral health
information. The next release of the software will connect more than
1,800 foster care workers and supervisors from partner agencies to the
tool, allowing them to review a child’s medical history before a home

The initiative was developed as part of a collaborative effort among
MDHHS, behavioral and physical health plans, and Optum, a health
services and technology partner that supports the enterprise data
warehouse that provides data-sharing and analytic capabilities across
Michigan state government. Representatives from each organization meet
regularly as part of a workgroup that determines the types of reports,
data functionality and analyses that are most helpful in assessing the
needs of Medicaid beneficiaries.

“For years, the State of Michigan has been a national leader in its use
of data and analytics to improve its Medicaid program, and the
CareConnect360 foster care initiative is the latest example of the
state’s innovation,” said Steve Larsen, executive vice president of
Optum Government Solutions. “We are grateful for the opportunity to work
with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in this effort
to improve the health of the state’s children.”

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For the Office Gov. Rick Snyder
Anna Heaton, 517-335-6397
Baker, 517-335-6397
Wheaton, 517-241-2112