2019 Pediatric Population Health Forum

Thatcher Felt, DO, FAAP
Trustee, WCAAP

This year saw another enormously successful annual Pediatric Population Health Forum Saturday June 8 at the Conference center at SeaTac Airport.  As always, WCAAP scheduled a number of fascinating speakers focused around timely topics in pediatric medicine.  The cornerstone of this year’s forum was the topic of social determinants of health.

Our day started with two excellent plenary speakers Dr. Paul Dworkin and Dr. Marian Earls.  Dr Dworkin is the Founding Director of the Help Me Grow National Center in Connecticut.  He provided the audience with a fascinating discussion about the imputes behind the creation of this model and the benefits Help Me Grow provides for families, kids, and providers alike.

In brief, Help Me Grow is a truly effective referral and linkage system for identified challenges with social determinants of health as well as developmental concerns.  Help Me Grow provides families with linkages to existing community resources that can address needs.  We were encouraged to refer to Help Me Grow Washington for families in need of services.

Dr. Earls is the past president of North Carolina AAP chapter and she spoke to us about the process and importance of screening for social determinants of health in the primary care setting.  She highlighted many of the screening tools available and outlined how to best incorporate the process into a busy pediatric practice.

Our morning ended with Paul Fishman, PhD and economist from University of Washington.  He walked listeners through an engaging discussion of economist’s approach to proving cost savings in health care.  He highlighted, amidst many other facts, that WCAAP’s four year Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (P-TCPi) resulted in a $7 million savings in ED utilization in 2018 in Washington for the participating P-TCPi practices for which Molina data was available, projected to a $46 million savings in the total pediatric Medicaid population in the state.

The afternoon was devoted to four breakout sessions focused on preventing physician burnout, encouraging family engagement in our practices, integrated behavioral health care management, and motivational interviewing.  Participants chose two of four sessions.  I attended the latter two and each discussion was hugely impactful.

Thumbs up to WCAAP, the many sponsors of the event including presenting sponsor Amerigroup, and all the individuals who participated in planning this motivating and educational forum.