Measures of Children’s Health Care Quality Include Developmental Screening

Written by: Sarah Barnes
Date Posted: December 1, 2017

Coloradans now have access to a new source of information on how well babies and young children are being screened for developmental milestones—and how we compare to other states reporting on similar services. Information released in November shows Colorado is performing in the top half of states.

Colorado’s rate for recommended developmental screenings for kids birth to age 3 on Medicaid and CHIP was 41.8 percent. The median performance on the developmental screening measure for reporting states was 36 percent.  That puts Colorado in the top half of states reporting on the measure. This is an important indicator because using a standardized tool for screenings promotes early identification of delays. It’s a critical component of a comprehensive system of screening, referral, and connection to services that helps ensure all children receive the supports they need to thrive.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services provides an annually updated list of quality measures for children’s health care in Medicaid and CHIP. Each year, states voluntarily report on these measures, known as the Core Set of Children’s Health Care Quality Measures for Medicaid and CHIP, or the Child Core Set. The Child Core Set includes measures on access to primary care, prenatal care, well-child visits, and developmental screenings. Each year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) publish and analyze Child Core Set data on measures for which at least 25 states report.

CMS recently released the 2016 Child Core Set data, and for the first time, published data on the measure of children receiving the recommended developmental screenings in the first three years of life. Colorado reported on this measure in 2016 along with 25 other states. CMS published a fact sheet with an overview of findings from the 2016 data, and we are hopeful the agency will also publish a report and chart pack soon, as it has done in previous years.

We were thrilled to see that Colorado reported on the developmental screening measure in 2016, and to see this measure included in the data published by CMS for the first time. In the spirit of what gets measured gets changed, the Colorado Children’s Campaign had worked with our state Medicaid agency to encourage them to report this data each year.

Sarah Barnes

About Sarah Barnes

Sarah serves as the Policy Analyst for the Colorado Children’s Campaign. Prior to joining the Children’s Campaign in September 2014, Sarah taught middle school English and worked as an Interventionist at Pioneer Charter School in Denver. She was a 2011 Teach For America corps member. Prior to teaching, Sarah worked as an attorney in Denver in the areas of venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, general corporate and business law, and commercial transactions. Sarah earned a BA in English from Midland University and a J.D. from the University of Michigan.