Minnesota’s ABCD III Project: Communities Coordinating for Healthy Development
Minnesota is one of five states chosen by the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) to participate in the Assuring Better Child Health and Development Consortium (ABCD III Consortium). The focus of Minnesota’s ABCD III project is to improve care coordination and community linkages for children and their families. This initiative will assure that children birth to age 5, identified through standardized developmental and mental health screening performed in the primary care setting as at-risk for delays, receive appropriate services in a timely manner. The initiative will also develop a strategy to support additional communities statewide in implementing care coordination and effective referral systems based on the success of the project’s four pilot sites. The pilot sites are located in Ramsey, Anoka, St. Louis and Olmsted counties.
Activities in the four pilot sites are funded with a grant from The Commonwealth Fund, and run from November 2009 to October 2012. Activities in the four communities strive to create efficient linkages between pediatric primary health care providers and other child and family service providers in the community. Participating clinics are incorporating care coordination into their clinics and building referral systems and feedback methods with community partners, such as Early Intervention, Head Start, mental health professionals and the Follow Along Program.
Overall project direction is provided by NASHP, with local direction coming from the Minnesota Child Health Improvement Partnership (MNCHIP), the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), the pilot sites and community partners. Technical assistance is provided to participating communities through on-site education and learning collaborative sessions using the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Breakthrough Series ‘Model for Improvement,’ as well as webinars and other assistance as needed. The project is being evaluated by Wilder Research.
Through an earlier Commonwealth Fund grant, the Minnesota ABCD II (Great Start Minnesota Project) introduced the use of standard screening tools during Child and Teen Checkups at two large pediatric clinic pilot sites, Head Start and Early Head Start programs. The pilot sites have incorporated the pilot experience into their general practice, including the co-location of mental health professionals at their clinics. This model has also spread among other pediatric clinics throughout the state and has provided a firm base for the ABCD III project.