The Reimbursement and Payment Subcommittee of the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions FOCUS on a Fitter Future group sought to guide medical providers, patients, and payers to better serve obese children and adolescents to enable optimum health. Recommendations are provided for the essential components of a stage 3 comprehensive multidisciplinary intervention program as defined by the 2007 Expert Committee recommendations. In addition, suggestions are offered for a stepwise approach to implement these recommendations.
In 2009, key informant interviews were conducted with 15 children's hospitals participating in FOCUS on a Fitter Future and 1 nonparticipating hospital. Interview transcripts identified 5 financially sustainable stage 3 programs, each funded differently.
The stage 3 programs interviewed ranged from being nascent to 21 years old (27%, <2 years; 47%, 2–6 years; 27%, >6 years). All of them had multidisciplinary teams that delivered services through 1 of 3 institutional structures: 60% freestanding; 7% specialty; and 33% hospital within a hospital. One-third of them had 1 to 2 funding sources, and 67% had ≥3 sources.
The stage 3 programs in this review shared some common strategies for achieving financial stability. All of them followed key strategies of the chronic care model, the details of which led to the following recommendation: stage 3 programs should include a health care team with a medical provider, registered dietitian, physical activity specialist, mental health specialist, and coordinator who, as a team, provide service to overweight and obese children at no less than moderate intensity (26–75 hours).