Reach Out and Read Named a Health Services Initiative in Oklahoma

Reach Out and Read is pleased to announce that it has been identified as a Health Services Initiative in the state of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA), in partnership with the University of Oklahoma (OU) College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, is working to increase the number of well-child visits and developmental screenings for SoonerCare members by expanding the use of the Reach Out and Read program.

The incorporation of Reach Out and Read into health care practices should improve the quality of both the pediatric preventive health visit and the developmental screening process. The initiative will recruit SoonerCare providers to participate in Reach Out and Read, providing training, program support, and assistance in improving the quality of the well-child visit. The effort will also encourage developmental screenings during the visit by providing free screening tools and training for providers.

OHCA used a Health Services Initiative (HSI) to leverage its Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) administrative dollars to fund this effort. HSIs give states flexibility to use a portion of their CHIP administrative dollars to improve the health of low-income children through a range of different activities other than health insurance assistance. For the Center for the Study of Social Policy’s recommendations on utilizing Medicaid to promote social and emotional health, click here. “Reach Out and Read Oklahoma is thrilled to partner with OHCA and OU to provide our evidence-based intervention to more families throughout our state,” said Lori Lake, Executive Director of Reach Out and Read Oklahoma. “This program makes Oklahoma the first state to leverage federal funding in this way for Reach Out and Read. We are grateful to the leadership and staff at OHCA and University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, as well as Donna Cohen Ross, policy advisor for Reach Out and Read, who all worked collaboratively with Dr. Marny Dunlap and me over a four-year period to make this a reality.” To learn more about ROROK’s partnership with HSIs, click here.