In certain neighborhoods and communities in Chicago and surrounding suburbs, pediatric access to primary care is not a certainty for thousands of pre-K to high school-age children.
April Aumann, MSN, APN, FNP-BC, a family nurse practitioner who works on Advocate Children’s Hospital’s mobile health unit, the Care Mobile, says only about 50 percent of the children she treats see a doctor regularly. She is able to track this through the consent forms that parents must fill out before their child can be treated.
“The range of services I cover are school physicals, sports physicals, we do minor sick visits, referrals back to the hospital. We see sick students who have asthma but don’t necessarily have a pulmonologist or kids that have an ENT [ear, nose, throat] issue but don’t have a connection to find a specialist. So we make sure that we’re tying the pieces together for them.” Aumann says. “We also try to get each student who’s uninsured hooked up on Medicaid and help with that process as much as we can.”
For years, Ronald McDonald House Charities has been treating kids in under-served areas all over the world. The Care Mobile that Aumann works on is based out of Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, IL. Aumann has been working with Advocate’s Care Mobile for a year and a half, under the supervision of Advocate’s Dr. Frank Belmonte, DO, vice president of pediatric population health and care modeling. Currently, Advocate has two full-scale Care Mobiles, which are 40 feet long and eight feet wide. The Care Mobiles have two treatment compartments and an administrative area where laptops, printers, and other office equipment are kept.
The Care Mobile is a covered entity and complies with HIPAA just like any other pediatric or primary care clinic. The mobile unit visits elementary schools, middle schools, junior high schools, and high schools as well as day care and pre-K facilities. School staff let parents know that the Care Mobile will be visiting and work to get consent forms signed by parents a week in advance of a visit. That way, each student’s information is entered into the Care Mobile’s new electronic health record (EHR) and can be stored securely.
Before the Care Mobile adopted an EHR for the first time in January, all of the patient visits were documented on paper charts later scanned into Advocate’s system.
The data that can be more easily collected and tracked in the EHR through ICD-10 codes allows Aumann and Belmont get a better sense of population health concerns.
“We use the ICD-10 codes for keeping track of how many students we’re seeing, to find out of all the students we serve, how many have asthma, how many are overweight. We’re understanding the need of the community by doing this and figuring out how we can be a better help.”