UNIVERSITY HEALTH PLANS IS NEW JERSEY KIDCARE PROVIDER
Prevention is high on the list of medical "do's." Physicians warn that it is generally much harder to fix what's broken than to take precautionary measures. Especially with kids.
Vaccines and well-child visits are right up there with food and shelter on every parent's list of essentials for their children. Add to those the urgent attention needed for the string of earaches, flu, sore throats and pink eye that children often catch.
But there are working families whose incomes preclude them from programs such as Medicaid, although they may not earn sufficient funds to cover doctors' visits for their children. It is these children who have traditionally fallen between the cracks in our complex medical world.
A program launched early last year by the state of New Jersey aims to catch these kids before their health is irreparably damaged. Called NJ KidCare, it provides well-child and other preventive services, hospitalization, physicians' visits, lab work and x-rays, prescription and non-prescription drugs, medical supplies and equipment, and dental, vision and hearing services through a managed care provider. Based on a family's income level and size, children qualify for one of three insurances, ranging from a no-cost plan to one that requires a $15 monthly premium contribution and a $5 co-payment per doctor's visit. Children are covered from birth through age 18.
Every parent wants a responsive doctor close to home. Will the physician call right back, see my child immediately if necessary, be concerned and friendly, remember us from one visit to the next? Can I get my child to the office in under half an hour? Can I avoid hours-long waits in the emergency room if my child gets hurt, or there's a medical emergency? Can I reach my doctor at night, if necessary? These are the real questions parents ask, along with the cost of care.
One provider for NJ KidCare - University Health Plans, Inc. (UHP) - assures families that the answer is "yes" to all these questions. Chief Operating Officer Alex McLean says that with a network of more than 7,200 physicians at almost 10,000 office locations around the state, and 73 contracted hospitals, he can ensure that children will be seen promptly at a doctor's office. Further, a 24-hour hotline means access to the physician - not runs to the ER - and that the same physician or physician group will see the child again and again, becoming familiar with his personal and family history.
UHP is wholly owned by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. In an independent survey of patients enrolled in managed care plans conducted by the New Jersey Department of Human Services, UHP earned the highest rating (three stars) in 11 categories. Among the attributes noted were: overall high quality of children's care, attention to customer service, efficiency and helpfulness, and doctors who communicate well with their patients.
"NJ KidCare has stepped in to fill the tremendous need to provide health care services for children of low income families," states McLean. "University Health Plans has the medical delivery system in place that will make this program work."
For further information about NJ KidCare and UHP's other health care services, please call 1-888-TRY-UHP-1. Community groups, employers, religious and social service organizations, and school groups are invited to call and request that a UHP representative attend their next meeting to provide further information on this program.
The magazine of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey