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Families like yours work hard for their kids—and we’re here to support you. Our commitment begins with providing expert care, offering the most effective treatments and pushing the boundaries of research innovation. But it’s more than that. We want to be a resource for you and your child. Part of that effort means advocating for Gillette and our families like you. 

From government programs to proposed legislation and regulations, many issues at the local, state and federal level have the potential to impact your child and family. Advocating for our patients is important to us. Often this means working closely with policymakers and Gillette families to engage in both policy discussions and active advocacy efforts.

Much of our patient advocate work is focused on Medicaid, a program jointly funded by the federal government and the states. Nationwide, Medicaid is the single largest health care program for children. In 2016, nearly half of all Minnesota children were enrolled in Medical Assistance, Minnesota’s Medicaid program. In fact, the majority of the patients that we serve at Gillette are eligible for Medical Assistance.

Medical Assistance can help cover health care costs for people who have disabilities. It ensures that children and adults who have complex medical conditions can access and afford the care they need to stay healthy. Generally, people can qualify for Medical Assistance based on family income or based on their medical condition. 

We’re currently working to ensure that Medicaid funding is preserved at the federal level, and that children and people who have disabilities of all ages are able to retain current eligibility and benefits. As disability advocates, we’re also working at the state level to ensure that children with Dravet syndrome who are eligible for Medical Assistance have access to a needed medication. 

We’ve been involved in a wide range of policy issues from advocating for telemedicine parity, to reforming the current medication prior authorization process, to making changes to the Minnesota Health Records Act to allow medical records to be shared in a timelier manner. We continue to work with elected officials at all levels of government to make sure that Gillette and our families have a voice when policy decisions are made. 

If you want to become involved with our health care advocacy efforts, or share an issue that’s important to you, please email advocacy@gillettechildrens.com.

Partnering with Our Community

2016 Community Health Needs Assessment

Executive Summary

In 2016, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare (“Gillette”) contracted with Wilder Research (“Wilder”) to complete a community health needs assessment (CHNA) as part of policies under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. What follows is an executive summary of our priorities for the next CHNA period 2017-2020. Or, you can view the full Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare Community Health Needs Assessment (PDF). Please contact kpvogl@gillettechildrens.com if you have questions. 

Despite the diversity of the children and adults that we care for at Gillette, caregivers and community providers have expressed a desire for individualized support to meet the needs of their child and family (or patient). Specific priorities and goals identified are:

Scheduling

  • Improved and more systematic scheduling process that improves efficiency for families and caregivers when scheduling appointments.
  • Improved phone system for scheduling, preferably with a live person answering, and ultimately, the ability to schedule online.
  • More appointment times and simpler access to appointments (fewer hurdles).

Accessing community services

  • Greater support in identifying and accessing community services not offered by Gillette but beneficial to their child.

Coordinating medical care and treatment

  • Consistent support in navigating treatment decisions
  • Continued emphasis on communication between Gillette providers and outside providers, with increased emphasis on sharing of relevant records between Gillette and external providers.
  • Development of a centralized care coordinator role.

Themes related to specific population groups

Families in greater Minnesota

  • Improved communication, training and support to providers outside of Gillette and particularly those in greater Minnesota to improve comfort levels and expertise in working with children with complex medical needs.

Adult patients

  • Improved connections to transitional community services

Hispanic/Latino and Somali families

  • Improved emphasis on the development of culturally-specific community services, both within and outside of Gillette.

2013 Community Health Needs Assessment

Delivering world-class care requires us to regularly evaluate and understand our patients’ needs. To do so, we collaborate with families and providers to identify opportunities for improving and expanding our services and, ultimately, for providing better patient experiences for our patients and families—not only within our hospital, but also in the region we serve. 

In compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, all tax-exempt hospitals are required to conduct a community health needs assessment every three years. In addition, each hospital must establish an implementation plan that uses its clinical expertise and resources to address the most pressing community needs identified in the assessment.

We are pleased to share our 2013 Community Health Needs Assessment. It summarizes our findings from interviews; focus groups and meetings with parents of children who have disabilities; community clinicians; and others familiar with the needs of children and adolescents in the region who have disabilities and complex medical needs. 

We extend our thanks to the many parents and providers who shared their experiences and perspectives with us.

View the complete Community Health Needs Assessment.


2013 Community Health Needs Assessment Action Plan

Needs Related to Service Delivery

Access to pediatric sub-specialty expertise (beyond the metro) limits patient and provider options for high quality and interdisciplinary care. Needs include: orthopedics, neurology, PM and R and, neurosurgery.

Action: Gillette will increase and diversify access to subspecialty care in clinic settings beyond the 7-county metro area. 

  • Education and information gaps related to disability care persist. 
  • Expand education and outreach to providers and families

Timely identification and referral:

Action: Gillette will develop materials and resources to help clinicians understand the clinical guidelines for assessment, referral, and management of orthopedic, neurologic, musculoskeletal and craniofacial conditions.

Contemporary management concepts:

Action: Educational conferences and resources will be developed to help clinicians understand appropriate management concepts that lead to improved outcomes.


Needs Related to Technology and Improved Communication

Information exchange between patients, community clinicians and our physicians can be challenging.

Action: Gillette will explore methodologies for secure data exchange with providers and families to enhance communication, clinical coordination and reduction and redundancies in medical tests.

Better access to Gillette physicians will enhance care and encourage appropriate referrals.

Action: Communication mechanisms will be evaluated to enhance efficient and timely communication between community physicians and Gillette specialists


Needs Related to System Barriers

Out-of-network and out-of state insurance authorization is problematic and significantly limits patient access to quality care.

Action: Actively seek opportunities to collaborate with payers and providers to demonstrate capabilities and improve authorization process.


Needs Related to Case Management

Families face significant challenges in managing their child’s care.

Action: Gillette will define and develop a more consistent care coordination model.

Not Pursuing: Families are also seeing assistance in locating non-medical supports, such as transportation, support groups and home modifications. Since a number of organizations are providing this service in the community, Gillette will not engage in a concerted effort to meet this need.


Needs Related to Upstream Issues

A variety of broader issues impact accessibility of health care for the families we serve. Increase support and education of existing early intervention programs would lead to more timely and appropriate referrals.

Action: Gillette will provide resources to early intervention programs to help them determine how to better evaluate at-risk children and make appropriate recommendations for referral.

Identify opportunities to educate parents and community members about prevention and safety initiatives.

Action: Within our Level I Pediatric Trauma partnership with Regions, Gillette will work with Regions staff to engage in pediatric safety initiatives.

Seek opportunities to increase diversity in the workforce.

This initiative is already in progress within the Gillette’s existing Human Resources framework.