Kids First Health Care Utilizes CORHIO for Quality Reporting, Care Coordination to Reach More Underserved Students in School Clinics

Date: January 17th, 2020Category: CORHIO e-NewsletterTopics: Care Coordination, Value-Based Care, Quality Improvement, Quality Measures


Serving a vital clinical need in the community, this organization is also participating in health information exchange and quality reporting programs.

For more than 40 years, an organization has been bringing low-cost, high-quality pediatric healthcare straight to schools to reach children who need their services the most. Kids First Health Care opened the first school-based health center in Colorado in 1978.

The non-profit organization currently runs two community-based health centers and six school-based health centers in Adams County, and serves approximately 4,000 children annually. The majority of Kids First Health Care patients are Spanish-speaking and 78 percent are covered by Medicaid or CHP+, while 17 percent are uninsured.

“Most of our clinics serve a large percentage of patients who would otherwise not have care and this is why our organization was founded,” says Catherine Schurger, CPNP, Assistant Medical Director of Kids First Health Care.

Serving Kids Where They Are

The school-based health centers are integrated within two middle schools and four high schools in four school districts in the county. The middle schools are each staffed by a nurse practitioner and medical assistant. The high school staff also includes health educators and medical front desk staff. Parents choose to enroll their children as clinic patients at no additional charge to the family. All services are either covered by the patient’s insurance (if they are insured) or Kids First Health Care. 

“I think our ability to be where the child is means the parents don’t have to leave work to have their child seen for an illness or for a physical,” Schurger says. “It allows them to leave class for a shorter duration to seek those medical services and return back to class. It’s a more fluid process to save time and energy for the family.”

The health centers located within the high schools have been particularly beneficial, Schurger explains, because adolescents seem to feel comfortable having confidential or “sensitive” conversations with the care team. In turn, she says this helps foster improvements in the overall health of the students and community.  

Filling Gaps in Care Records with CORHIO

If the child has another provider outside of the school-based health center, Kids First Health Care ensures coordination among all members of the care team. They joined the CORHIO network in 2015 and rely on PatientCare 360® to access their patients’ Community Health Record, generate Continuity of Care Documents (CCDs), and to make sure immunizations are included in students’ medical records.

“In the world of everything being electronic and everyone being in these isolated separate systems, the benefit of having a place with that information to come together is important to overall patient care,” Schurger says. “The more pieces of a patient’s prior story we have, the more we can integrate and see them in a safe and effective manner.”

Kids First Health Care also relies on CORHIO to help them submit electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) for use within Medicaid, Medicare and other advance payment models as part of their participation in the State Innovation Model.

“Being a very small organization without a dedicated IT staff makes it difficult for us to work within the EHR for all the deliverables we need to meet. CORHIO is able to do a lot of the back-end work and we chime in when needed. Without CORHIO, we could not do this work at the same level,” Schurger says.