CERC's Early Childhood Pediatric Care Model

A growing body of evidence in health policy, neuroscience, and child development suggests that early childhood is the key window of opportunity to optimize lifetime trajectories for the population with the potential to improve physical and behavioral health, productivity, and well- being in adulthood. The United States performs poorly across child health indicators when compared to other developed nations.

The United States spent $285 billion annually in pediatric care in 2014, yet only 60 percent of children receive quality well-child care. Moreover, the majority of pediatric health care spending has been spent primarily on a minority of children with lifelong chronic illnesses, a population that continues to grow rapidly. Even these children face poor quality care in spite of consuming the majority of resources in pediatrics.

CERC’s early childhood redesign team identified three core elements to better address the needs of this population. 

            Screen universally for medical and psychosocial need

            Risk-stratify pediatric care

            Establish communication hubs for medical and community programs.

A conservative estimate of net savings from national implementation of the CERC Early Childhood Care model is $46.5 billion dollars in direct health care spending per year, with the majority of savings due to reduced emergency department visits, fewer hospitalizations, and shorter hospital stays. Additional downstream savings outside of the health care system would result from lower special education costs and reduced demand on public child welfare resources. 

Team: Jody Lin, MD, Maysa DeSousa, PhD, Arnold Milstein, MD, MPH, Paul Wise, MD, MPH