Newborn enrollment closes gap in pediatric preventive care

Samantha B. prepared for the arrival of her son with the typical list of infant needs: diapers, clothing, blankets and plenty of love.


But when it came to baby Myles having health coverage, that was a surprise.


“I wasn’t aware that after your baby is born that you do have to get insurance for them,” said Samantha, an Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) member and daughter of an IEHP team member. “It’s something to worry about.”


As the “health plan with a heart,” IEHP wants to ease worries for new parents and ensure Inland Empire residents of all ages experience optimal care and vibrant health.


“Here at IEHP, quality is really important,” said Genia Fick, IEHP’s vice president of quality. “And one of the areas … of particular concern is our preventive pediatric care.”


IEHP found a gap in care among children ages 0 to 2 years old, including receiving timely immunizations. By engaging parents sooner in preventive care, this could lead to better outcomes for their newborns and potentially for other family members, too.




Thanks to the power of partnership forged between IEHP and the Women’s Center at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PVHMC), signing up newborns for health coverage from Day 1 is now a smooth transition.


“During the time when Mom is getting ready to bring in a new addition to the family, there are so many things running through her mind,” said Nichelle Ford, patient access manager at PVHMC. “So, Pomona Valley just wants the mom to know we are here for them and with the newborn enrollment process, that baby is covered before Mommy leaves the hospital.”


PVHMC admitting representatives present each mom-to-be with a “Welcome Baby” letter upon checking into the hospital, then enroll the baby for ongoing Medi-Cal coverage.


“They don’t have to worry about going home, going through the mail, trying to find the health care coverage option to add the baby on – they already know when they left Pomona Valley (Medical Center), it was taken care of for them,” she said.


For IEHP, the collaboration with PVHMC is one more way to put the member – no matter how tiny – at the center of their universe.


“What we really hope to do with this partnership is to help our moms and our new families have the support they need to know who that baby’s primary care provider is, who their pediatrician is going to be to care for them, and know where to call if they need help,” Fick said.


For PVHMC, it’s hoped the win-win example will inspire other area hospitals to incorporate similar newborn health coverage enrollment programs.


“With Pomona Valley (Hospital Medical Center) averaging over 500 newborns a month, if Pomona Valley can do it, our neighboring hospitals can do it as well,” Ford said.