When delivered with fidelity, providers find Reach Out and Read to be a useful, efficient intervention that streamlines their clinical practices and improves well-child visit attendance. Increased well-child visit attendance and increased developmental assessment improve the early detection, referral, and treatment of developmental delay in young children. Increased compliance with well-child visit attendance is of paramount importance for the health of the child, ensuring appropriate access to immunizations, anticipatory guidance, and developmental screenings.
These are some of the reasons Elevance Health committed $500,000 this year to support Reach Out and Read in six states. In Georgia, Texas, and Florida, we will be improving fidelity at established Reach Out and Read sites in specific counties that need additional support and resources to transform them into high-fidelity sites. In addition to ensuring that we are providing a book at 23,500 well-child visits across these three states, we will also ensure other important site quality measures, including provider training compliance, progress report completion, and site quality classifications.
In California and Nebraska, we will increase capacity by adding infrastructure to build robust affiliates to maximize Reach Out and Read outcomes in these geographies. Specifically, this funding will be dedicated to start-up costs necessary to establish critical on-the-ground program support that will make consistent fidelity to our model possible. In Iowa, we will be focusing on conservative, targeted expansion. Our market saturation is lowest in Iowa compared to the other priority markets; this allows us to work towards increasing our footprint to serve more children in this market.
This partnership is a wonderful opportunity to grow and strengthen our footprint and outcomes for children and families across these states during an especially vital time. Becoming a new parent or adding a child to the family during a pandemic is particularly stressful. A family’s medical provider may be one of their only support systems available and Reach Out and Read reaching young children has become more critical than ever.
We know that reading aloud together, telling stories, and sharing books help forge a lasting, meaningful connection between caregiver and child—they create moments that matter. More and more, the evidence is clear that we’ve had it right all along: This time is not just special and joyous; it is life-changing.