Health Plan Approaches to Child Injury Prevention
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unintentional injuries remain the leading cause of death among 0-19 year olds.1 Health plans can be important partners in the prevention of child injuries given their access to millions of Americans insured through both public and private insurance plans. Health plans can: inform health care professionals and families about the toll of injuries, encourage physicians to use Bright Futures and provide age-appropriate injury prevention guidance to families, support evidence-based prevention practices, and promote the use of and access to safety devices. Health plans can:
- inform health care professionals and families about the toll of injuries,
- encourage physicians to use Bright Futures and provide age-appropriate injury prevention guidance to families,
- support evidence-based prevention practices, and
- promote the use of and access to safety devices.
This issue brief presents the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Action Plan for Child Injury Prevention (NAP); highlights the prevalence and cost of injuries; shares examples of current health plan child injury prevention activities; and offers opportunities for future action.
The National Action Plan for Child Injury Prevention
Injuries and associated disability and death are preventable through education, environmental modification, effective policy-making, and en-forcement of evidence-based interventions. The CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) led an effort to develop the NAP to support solutions that will save lives and help children live to their fullest potential. The overall goals of the NAP are to lay out a vision to guide actions pivotal to reducing childhood injuries and provide a platform for organizing and implementing future child injury prevention activities.
The NAP seeks to:
- increase awareness about the magnitude, risk factors, and effects of child injuries,
- identify opportunities that draw attention to the preventability of child injury and unite stakeholders around a common set of goals and strategies,
- create recommendations to accelerate child injury prevention efforts through improved data and surveillance, research, communication, education and training, health systems and health care, and policy, and
- develop and mobilize actions to reduce child injuries.
Recognizing that health plans are important partners in reducing the burden of childhood injuries, the CDC funded the Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) who subcontracted with the National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Foundation to explore the feasibility of implementing two strategies contained in the NAP. The two strategies are:
- implement child unintentional injury prevention programs through community-based prevention programs and through Bright Futures, and
- promote use of safety devices, such as child safety seats, as “durable medical equipment” so they can be prescribed and are reimbursable.
NIHCM and EDC utilized an environmental scan and two webinars with health plan and health plan foundation representatives to:
- understand current health plan injury prevention activities,
- raise awareness of the importance of child injury prevention (CIP), and
- explore opportunities and challenges to implementing CIP activities.
Through the scan and during the webinars, health plans indicated a need for data and information to make the case for investing in CIP, identified CIP-related activities that are most feasible for them to implement, and offered specific examples of activities currently underway.
The sections that follow share data and highlight current and potential ways health plans can further the goals of the NAP by developing, implementing, and evaluating evidence-informed practices to decrease the incidence and severity of injury.