The social and economic benefits of investing up front in prevention rather than trying to fix costly problems down the road after they occur are central to the triple aim approach of health care transformation. At InterCommunity Health Network CCO (IHN-CCO), we are looking for opportunities to create innovative models of care in collaboration with our community partners.
Introducing, the Child Abuse Prevention and Early Intervention pilot for our service area
One effort directed squarely at early intervention and prevention is the Child Abuse Prevention and Early Intervention Pilot being conducted through Family Tree Relief Nursery. This pilot will increase collaboration between Family Tree, IHN-CCO providers and Department of Human Services Child Welfare. Family Tree uses home-based interventionists who link high-risk families to their medical homes and additional support services to provide direct support for family health, stability and attachment in a culturally competent way.
Oregon joins other states in placing an emphasis on screening for adverse childhood experiences (ACE)
The critical importance of early intervention and prevention was highlighted by the landmark Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, a collaborative effort between Kaiser Permanente and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This ongoing study, which started between 1997 -1999 and involved over 17,000 participants, revealed the strong association between the number of ACEs an individual experienced during childhood and the increased risk for negative health behaviors (smoking, drug and alcohol abuse and risky sexual behaviors), chronic mental health concerns (depression and suicidal thoughts) and chronic diseases (heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer) later in life.
Because the results were so stunning, many states including Oregon have added an ACEs module to the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) to track the prevalence of ACEs within their populations. In Oregon, adults who had experienced four or more ACEs as a child were four to 12 times more likely to suffer from alcoholism, drug abuse and depression. The implications for our community are tremendous considering 24 percent of Oregonians have experienced a single ACE while 18 percent have experienced four or more.
According to the 2011 BRFSS survey, the most common ACEs experienced by Oregonians were:
- Living with someone who “was a problem drinker or alcoholic” or “used illegal street drugs” or “abused prescription medications”—Household Substance Abuse.
- Having a parent or adult “swear at, insult or put them down” more than once—Verbal Abuse.
- Having “parents that were separated or divorced.”
- Experiencing physical abuse.
- Living with a family member with a mental illness.
IHN-CCO recognizes the connection of ACEs to long-term health outcomes and supports collaborations like the Child Abuse Prevention and Early Intervention Pilot that integrate medical care and community support services to not only prevent ACEs but also build resilient, stable families and healthy, thriving communities.