Our Healthcare Benefit
In 2009 we decided to change the way the healthcare industry prevented and treated childhood obesity. We thought childhood obesity prevention was just as important as childhood obesity treatment. And we thought that those families and kids that were affected by childhood obesity should get the preventive guidance and treatment that they needed to live a healthy life.
So we convened national medical associations, leading insurers, and employers to create a comprehensive benefit that got families the care they needed while reimbursing doctors and registered dietitians for their services. Youth that are covered by our benefit have access to at least four follow-up visits with his or her primary care provider and at least four visits with a registered dietitian.
From its inception, our benefit has been evaluated by researchers at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health to ensure its utilization and effectiveness. Today we are happy to say that the results are in and our benefit is enhancing the prevention and treatment services being offered by healthcare providers across the country.
The findings of the evaluation indicate that the Healthier Generation Benefit has been successful in expanding health care coverage for obesity services with all participating organizations being able to implement and offer the coverage. And for the first time, the evaluation efforts of our benefit are being highlighted in a peer-reviewed journal - the 2013 special edition of The Journal of Obesity, Childhood Obesity: Today and Tomorrow's Health Challenge.
But there is always something we can improve upon. We want to make sure everyone who has access to our benefit, uses it. Researchers identified several potential barriers in translating access into utilization such as communications between providers and families, facilitation of the varying requirements for documentation, varying acceptance of billing codes across insurers for providers, and low use of BMI-specific diagnosis codes and counseling billing codes.
To make sure our benefit continues to be successful and all those who can access it do access it, we are continuing our work with Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health for evaluation and holding an annual meeting with all healthcare signatories to review annual evaluation findings.
Our 2013 evaluation meeting is being held tomorrow, May 2nd in Atlanta with representatives from the Alliance, Emory, each of the healthcare signatories, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
What is standing between you and the healthcare you need?