“Duke and UNC came together because we wanted to do something good for children in our region,” Charlene Wong, executive director of NC InCK, said. ”What we’re really aiming to do is help build infrastructure and build bridges across all of these different areas that influence whether or not a child can reach their full potential.”
Stephanie Tippett is a mother of three living in Rougemont, North Carolina who said this initiative could benefit not just children, but families who struggle with substance abuse as well. She fosters a child who was born with drugs and alcohol in her system.
“When you’re talking about people who, maybe as adults, are already not faring so well themselves suddenly becoming caretakers for children, to have an agency maybe come in and say, ‘We can guide you during this process,’ that is pretty awesome sounding,” Tippett said.
The child Tippett fosters receives Medicaid care through the foster system. Tippett said she often found herself being resourceful in her searches for providers who accept Medicaid, and believes that having streamlined access to providers would be beneficial to the community.
“If there was like a database, you know, where somebody could say, ‘Oh yeah, this is what I do for a living, and I am happy to help you find services of this type,’ I think that would be amazing for all of those people who are struggling,” Tippett stated.
NC Integrated Care for Kid Partnership Council, the governing body of the program, will work to establish the NC InCK program in Alamance, Orange, Durham, Granville and Vance counties.
Madhu Vulmiri serves as the policy director for the Integrated Care for Kids model and considers the program to be a pilot model for a new Medicaid program in the area.
“We’re not providing any additional services that aren't already covered by Medicaid," Vulimiri said. "We will be hiring staff who are called service integration coordinators. They’ll be the glue to really think about how we redesign some of our systems to be more inclusive of children and families and their perspectives."
A significant component of the model involves an alternative payment method, she said.
"We’re trying to move away from just paying for volume and move towards paying for people actually getting good outcomes," Vulimiri said. "A lot of those payment models have been traditionally designed for adults, so this will be an exciting opportunity to do that for kids and incentivize better outcomes.”
The NC InCK program is expected to be in a planning phase for the next two years. Implementation of the program will begin in 2022.