I am a participating physician in the Pediatric Psychiatric Collaborative (PPC), an exciting new program administered by Dr. Steven Kairys at the K Hovnanian Children’s Hospital (KHOV)at Jersey Shore Medical Center. This important initiative was developed by by a team lead by Dr. Kairys in response to a severe lack of treatment services available to New Jersey Children with developmental, behavior, and mental health difficulties. The PPC is funded by a grant from the state legislature and has 2 primary functions.
Firstly, measure the scope of the problem. Pediatricians like me have parents and children fill out carefully developed screening questionnaires which are designed to identify children who may be at risk. Dr. Kairys, Chair of pediatrics at KHOV since 2002, is an expert in adolescent health who has worked diligently during his tenure to improve the quality and access of pediatric care and in particular mental health services there. He is performing academic analysis on the raw information that we docs “in the field” provide to develop usable data to show trends and directions in this area. This information can be used to create programs to aid patients struggling with these disorders. As they say in business school “if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it.”
The second part of the PPC is helping affected children receive treatment. With some of the grant Steve has put together a team of pediatric psychiatrist and psychologists, counsellors, and social workers. All of us “front line” doctors providing those questionnaires(note: they are all anonymous to maintain strict confidentiality) have access to this dedicated, highly qualified team for our patients who need this care. As a pediatrician who has practiced in Ocean County for almost 30 years I can attest to the frustration of diagnosing a child with mental health issues and then having few options to call upon and/or poor insurance reimbursement available to defray the often prohibitive costs of this ongoing treatment. Now I have something to offer here. I have already sent plenty of children to the PPC for evaluation and coordination of care and it has made a real difference in their lives. We haven’t “cured” anybody in the few months since the program’s inception (July), but we’ve given many kids a new start and real hope.
The PPC’s original mandate covers Ocean, Monmouth, Burlington, and Camden counties but it will be expanded into 4 more counties in 2016 (which 4 to be determined) and hopefully statewide shortly thereafter. It is so rewarding to be able to participate with Dr. Kairys and other colleagues in the PPC and to now be empowered to act as opposed to little more than hand holding previously. KHOV has become a regional powerhouse in the field of children’s healthcare over the past several years. Under Steve’s dynamic guidance, with these types of ideas, Jersey Shore has earned high regard among pediatric thought leaders throughout the US. KHOV and Dr. Kairys are certainly assets for me and my patients.
Thanks for following, please send along questions.