There are ∼443 000 children in child protective custody (ie, foster care) in the United States. Children in protective custody have more medical, behavioral, and developmental problems that require health care services than the general population. These health problems are compounded by poor information exchange impeding care coordination. Health care providers often do not know which of their patients are in protective custody and are not privy to the critical social history collected by child protective services, including placement history and maltreatment history. Meanwhile, the custodial child protection agency and designated caregivers (ie, foster caregivers and kinship providers) often lack vital elements of the health history of children in their care, which can result in poor health care delivery such as medication lapses, immunization delay, and poor chronic disease management. In this case study, we address this critical component of health care delivery for a vulnerable population by describing a process of developing an information sharing system between health care and child welfare organizations in collaboration with child protection community partners. Lessons learned include recommended steps for improved information sharing: (1) develop shared community vision, (2) determine shareable information components, (3) implement and analyze information sharing approaches, and (4) evaluate information sharing efforts. A successful example of advocating for improvement of information sharing for youth in protective custody is explored to highlight these steps. In collaboration with child protective services, pediatricians can improve information sharing to impact both health care delivery and child protection outcomes.
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the generalizability of stringent protocol-driven weaning in improving total duration of opioid treatment and length of inpatient hospital stay after treatment of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort analysis of 981 infants who completed pharmacologic treatment of NAS with methadone or morphine from January 2012 through August 2014. Before July 2013, 3 of 6 neonatology provider groups (representing Ohio’s 6 children’s hospitals) directed NAS nursery care by using group-specific treatment protocols containing explicit weaning guidelines. In July 2013, a standardized weaning protocol was adopted by all 6 groups. Statistical analysis was performed to identify effects of adoption of the multicenter weaning protocol on total duration of opioid treatment and length of hospital stay at the protocol-adopting sites and at the sites with preexisting protocol-driven weaning. RESULTS: After adoption of the multicenter protocol, infants treated by the 3 groups previously without stringent weaning guidelines experienced shorter duration of opioid treatment (23.0 vs 34.0 days, P < .001) and length of inpatient hospital stay (23.7 vs 31.6 days, P < .001). Protocol-adopting sites also experienced a lower rate of adjunctive drug therapy (5% vs 21%, P = .004). Outcomes were sustained by the 3 groups who initially had specific weaning guidelines after multicenter adoption (duration of treatment = 17.0 days and length of hospital stay = 23.3 days). CONCLUSIONS: Adoption of a stringent weaning protocol resulted in improved NAS outcomes, demonstrating generalizability of the protocol-driven weaning approach. Opportunity remains for additional protocol refinement.
OBJECTIVES: To compare pharmacologic treatment strategies for neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) with respect to total duration of opioid treatment and length of inpatient hospital stay. METHODS: We conducted a cohort analysis of late preterm and term neonates who received inpatient pharmacologic treatment of NAS at one of 20 hospitals throughout 6 Ohio regions from January 2012 through July 2013. Physicians managed NAS using 1 of 6 regionally based strategies. RESULTS: Among 547 pharmacologically treated infants, we documented 417 infants managed using an established NAS weaning protocol and 130 patients managed without protocol-driven weaning. Regardless of the treatment opioid chosen, when we accounted for hospital variation, infants receiving protocol-based weans experienced a significantly shorter duration of opioid treatment (17.7 vs 32.1 days, P < .0001) and shorter hospital stay (22.7 vs 32.1 days, P = .004). Among infants receiving protocol-based weaning, there was no difference in the duration of opioid treatment or length of stay when we compared those treated with morphine with those treated with methadone. Additionally, infants treated with phenobarbital were treated with the drug for a longer duration among those following a morphine-based compared with methadone-based weaning protocol. (P ≤ .002). CONCLUSIONS: Use of a stringent protocol to treat NAS, regardless of the initial opioid chosen, reduces the duration of opioid exposure and length of hospital stay. Because the major driver of cost is length of hospitalization, the implications for a reduction in cost of care for NAS management could be substantial.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Home visiting programs seek to improve care management for women at high risk for preterm birth (<37 weeks). Our objective was to evaluate the effect of home visiting dosage on preterm birth and small for gestational age (SGA) infants. METHODS: Retrospective cohort study of women in southwest Ohio with a singleton pregnancy enrolled in home visiting before 26 weeks’ gestation. Vital statistics and hospital discharge data were linked with home visiting data from 2007 to 2010 to ascertain birth outcomes. Eligibility for home visiting required ≥1 of 4 risk factors: unmarried, low income, <18 years of age, or suboptimal prenatal care. Logistic regression tested the association of gestational age at enrollment and number of home visits before 26 weeks with preterm birth. Proportional hazards analysis tested the association of total number of home visits with SGA status. RESULTS: Among 441 participants enrolled by 26 weeks, 10.9% delivered preterm; 17.9% of infants were born SGA. Mean gestational age at enrollment was 18.9 weeks; mean number of prenatal home visits was 8.2. In multivariable regression, ≥8 completed visits by 26 weeks compared with ≤3 visits was associated with an odds ratio 0.38 for preterm birth (95% confidence interval: 0.16–0.87), while having ≥12 total home visits compared with ≤3 visits was significantly associated with a hazards ratio 0.32 for SGA (95% confidence interval: 0.15–0.68). CONCLUSIONS: Among at-risk, first time mothers enrolled prenatally in home visiting, higher dosage of intervention is associated with reduced likelihood of adverse pregnancy outcomes.