Phoenix Chil­dren’s, Ari­zona Blues team up to curb child­hood obe­sity

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Bob Her­man

In a rare di­rect payer-provider part­ner­ship, Phoenix Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Ari­zona are launch­ing a med­i­cal home pro­gram to pre­vent child­hood obe­sity.

The idea for a jointly op­er­ated clinic started about a year ago, said Dr. Kris­ten Sa­mad­dar, a pe­di­a­tri­cian at Phoenix Chil­dren’s and one of the lead­ers of the year­long pro­gram.

The youth obe­sity rate in Ari­zona was al­most 20% in 2011, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Sur­vey of Chil­dren’s Health. The Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion es­ti­mates that as many as 17% of U.S. chil­dren are obese, with many costly chronic ill­nesses such as heart dis­ease and Type 2 di­a­betes linked to the con­di­tion.

The obe­sity clinic, to be at Phoenix Chil­dren’s, will mon­i­tor and treat pa­tients ages 2 to 18. Pri­mary-care physi­cians will lead the pro­gram us­ing a pa­tient-cen­tered med­i­cal home model, tai­lor­ing pre­ven­tive care for each child through coach­ing and con­sis­tent out­reach. Blue Cross gave Phoenix Chil­dren’s a $20,000 grant to help de­velop ed­u­ca­tional ma­te­ri­als and get the pro­gram off the ground, Sa­mad­dar said.

Al­though other U.S. hos­pi­tals of­fer youth-fo­cused obe­sity and weight-man­age­ment clin­ics, such as the one based at Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal Los Angeles, few are part­nered with a payer.

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