Cedars-Sinai Health System - COACH for Kids and Their Families

COACH (Community Outreach Assistance for Children's Health) for Kids and Their Families is a pediatric mobile medical and case management program that provides primary health care services to low-income and homeless children and their families. These families face multiple barriers to care, including lack of insurance, inability to pay for services, lack of transportation, and language issues. COACH eliminates the financial barrier to health care by providing services free of charge. The program brings primary health care services directly to children who need it the most, thereby overcoming transportation issues. Operating under the belief that a healthy child does not exist without a healthy family, social service assessments, plans, and referrals are provided for each family taking part in the program. To meet the growing health needs of the communities served, COACH has developed into a multi-component program that also provides dental screenings and oral health education as well as nutrition/fitness assessments, screenings, and health education.

What is it?

COACH (Community Outreach Assistance for Children’s Health) for Kids and Their Families is a pediatric mobile medical and case management program that provides primary health care services to low-income and homeless children and their families. These families face multiple barriers to care, including lack of insurance, inability to pay for services, lack of transportation, and language issues. COACH eliminates the financial barrier to health care by providing services free of charge. The program brings primary health care services directly to children who need it the most, thereby overcoming transportation issues. Operating under the belief that a healthy child does not exist without a healthy family, social service assessments, plans, and referrals are provided for each family taking part in the program. To meet the growing health needs of the communities served, COACH has developed into a multi-component program that also provides dental screenings and oral health education as well as nutrition/fitness assessments, screenings, and health education.

Four days a week, two fully equipped mobile units drive into medically underserved Los Angeles neighborhoods with high rates of poverty and poor health conditions. The experienced and bilingual (English/Spanish) health care team sees regularly scheduled and walk-in patients at WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Nutrition Centers, Head Start preschools, Los Angeles Unified School District and Inglewood Unified School District elementary and middle schools, Centinela Valley Union District high schools, homeless shelters, and public housing developments. With a published site schedule, parents can make primary care and follow-up appointments as needed. On days when mobile units are not scheduled to be visiting a community, families can reach a licensed staff member of the COACH for Kids program via a 24-hour on-call system. Prescriptions and over-the-counter medications are dispensed at the time of service, and specialty referrals are made to either Cedars-Sinai, a network of affiliated physicians who donate their care, or free/low-cost community clinics.

Who is it for?

Impoverished families in Los Angeles that face multiple barriers to health care services.

Why do they do it?

An impoverished mother in central Los Angeles might recognize that her children need care, but a host of factors forces her to put off seeking treatment until there is an emergency. One in four children in Los Angeles lives in extreme poverty. These children’s health care is frequently interrupted and uncoordinated, with lack of access a serious impediment. Many childhood diseases and chronic health conditions are preventable with consistent access to primary health care.

Impact

With Cedars-Sinai’s support and that of partner organizations, COACH has made a difference in the lives of its client families. Since the program began in 1994, COACH for Kids has completed more than 350,000 visits for some 145,000 children and their families; immunization rates are above 90 percent; participants have an 83 percent completion rate for mental health referrals; participants have a 92 percent completion rate for dental referrals; and 100 percent of patients report good or excellent satisfaction ratings. In addition to providing health care services, the program helps parents get support to improve their lives and create healthier environments for their children.

Contact: Michele Rigsby Pauley, RN, MSN, CPNP
COACH Program Director
Telephone: 310-423-9589
E-mail: Michele.RigsbyPauley@cshs.org

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