Pediatric Immunization: A Quality Improvement Initiative in Response to COVID-19, funded by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI and Coronavirus Relief Fund

  • 20 May 2021

In May 2020, the effects the COVID-19 pandemic on accessing well-child care as evidenced by declining pediatric immunization rates was brought to light at various committee meetings. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) requested that CTC-RI/PCMH Kids develop a proposal to address this emerging issue. CTC-RI/PCMH Kids’ Immunization Quality Improvement proposal submitted to BCBSRI addressed this need through a 4-pronged approach:

  1. Leadership: provided through the formation of a cross-sectional Core Immunization Planning Team to oversee planning and implementation.
  2. Information Management: provided through regular dissemination of KIDSNET Immunization Performance Reports to pediatric practices.
  3. Practice Facilitation/Performance Improvement: to assist practices with implementing Performance Improvement Plans.
  4. Financial Assistance: provided through health plan pmpm incentive payments and later augmented through Pediatric Relief Funds/Medicaid Pediatric Primary Care Rate Supplement Program.

Parallel and complimentary to this proposal RI American Academy of Pediatrics, through the Governor’s Task Force, was working with EOHHS and OHIC to address the financial viability of pediatric practices in Rhode Island given the devastating impact COVD-19 was having on the healthcare system. These efforts resulted in pediatric primary care practices successfully applying for additional funds (Pediatric Relief Funds, Medicaid Pediatric Care Rate Supplement Program) to further expand and support improvement in well-child outcomes. BCBSRI funding was used to provide practice facilitation technical assistance to 76 PCMH Kids / Pediatric Relief Fund practices, which added 25 new pediatric practices to the PCMH Kids learning community. In addition, bi-monthly practice-specific immunization reports, a “best practice sharing” learning community, and a Pediatric Resource Guide were provided. 

By December 31, 2020, practice performance in Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR), and vaccination for kindergarteners and seventh graders exceeded pre-COVID-19 rates.

In addition, CTC-RI successfully applied for CARES Act funding, which was used in conjunction with BCBSRI funding, to deepen our use of pediatrician content experts, expand our efforts to develop family engagement strategies, and provided financial assistance for families who needed support to return to well-child care. Full report can be found here.