KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Two Examples Of Health Innovations: A New Pediatric Specialty And A Well-Wired Clinic

Newspapers report on doctors' efforts to develop new expertise to treat children who have been abused and neglected, as well as those to address a poor community's health needs with electronic health records.

The New York Times reports on the multiple socio-economic struggles of treating people at the Erie Family Health Center in Chicago.  "Erie is among more than 1,200 federally qualified health centers nationwide, which care for about 20 million patients at 7,000 sites. The center is at the forefront of electronic record-keeping, which includes about 100 medical and financial measures, like tracking doctors' performances, doctor productivity and revenue per visit. It uses AmeriCorps volunteers to educate the community and employs 15 medical professionals, including a midwife and an H.I.V. specialist. ... Ultimately, Erie helps you understand the limits of the health care measures that Congress is wrangling over. There may be money for bricks-and-mortar expansion of such clinics and to encourage training of health professionals, but even with insurance, the economic stresses that contribute to poor health remain. Reform won't change poverty, inadequate housing or a lack of education. ... But clinics like this seem poised to be part of the overall solution" (Warren, 12/3).

Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune reports on the emergence of a new pediatric specialty. "Illinois child welfare officials are praising a change that allows pediatricians across the country to develop an expertise in abuse and neglect. Three years ago, the American Board of Medical Specialties approved the new child abuse sub-specialty. The American Board of Pediatrics offered the first certification exams in November. More than 200 physicians nationwide took the exam, and the first certificates are expected to be issued in January, said Dr. Gail McGuinness, executive vice president of the pediatric board. McGuinness said child abuse pediatricians will be able to consult on complicated cases, teach the discipline in medical schools and advance research in the area" (Casillas, 12/4). 

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