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Bring HealthySteps into Your Practice to Help Parents Foster Healthy Childhood Development

HealthySteps is an evidence-based program that enables pediatric and primary care medical practices to ensure babies and toddlers have a strong start in life. By integrating a child development and behavioral health prevention and promotion expert into the pediatric primary care team, HealthySteps provides children ages 0-3 and their families a variety of services based on their needs, including universal screening, positive parenting guidance, care coordination and on-site intervention. 

 

HealthySteps practices serve as trusted and valuable partners as families foster their children’s healthy development. The entire practice works together to implement the HealthySteps model, with leadership from a Physician Champion and a HealthySteps Specialist. 

 

A multi-site randomized controlled trial and other site-level studies have demonstrated positive outcomes for children and families who access HealthySteps, and for the physicians and practices that serve them. 

 

Today there are almost 30 sites across Colorado that offer HealthySteps, and we have an ambitious goal of reaching 25% of Colorado’s children by the end of 2024. The HealthySteps National Office aims to reach more than 1 million young children and families annually by 2032. 

 

HealthySteps is administered by ZERO TO THREE, the nation’s leading nonprofit dedicated to supporting early childhood development. The HealthySteps National Office at ZERO TO THREE recognizes Assuring Better Child Health & Development (ABCD) as the State Intermediary for HealthySteps in Colorado.

HealthySteps focuses on the first three years of a child’s life when brain development is most critical.
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HealthySteps helps pediatric primary care providers address common and complex childhood development issues.

The evidence-based program ensures all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life by integrating a child development expert into the health care team.

HealthySteps helps clinic increase capacity to address childhood development problems. Pediatric primary care teams have an impossibly long list of services to provide during a well-child visit that can last just 15 minutes. HealthySteps provides tailored support for common and complex concerns that practices often lack time or resources to address, such as behavior, sleep, feeding, attachment, parental depression, social determinants of health, and adapting to life with a baby or toddler.

“The best part of being a HealthySteps Specialist is being the person I needed when I became a new mother. It’s individualized care for the new mother who comes in."

- Sherri Amen, MA, IMH-E®, Healthy Steps Specialist, Common Spirit Primary Care of Fort Morgan

Provide personalized, relationship-based care. A HealthySteps Specialist placed within the practice partners with caregivers and the primary care team to identify concerns around development and family needs, offering support strategies, anticipatory guidance, and community resources. This relationship-based approach strengthens connections among caregivers, children, and the pediatric practice.

Offer higher-quality care. As a result of the time, structure, and relationships that the HealthySteps program provides, physicians report greater satisfaction with the quality of care they can give to babies, young children and their families and patients indicate improved experiences.

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HealthySteps in Colorado

HealthySteps sites in Colorado:

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HealthySteps in Colorado by the numbers:

ABCD is the Colorado program lead for HealthySteps.

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HealthySteps is the pediatric primary care program designed and administered by ZERO TO THREE, the nation’s leading nonprofit working to ensure all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life. ABCD has been certified by ZERO TO THREE to implement, expand, and identify pathways to sustain HealthySteps in Colorado.

ABCD supports current and future HealthySteps sites by: 

 

  • Helping new sites to estimate program costs, and secure community and site-specific funding sources

  • Providing onboarding training, technical assistance and ongoing professional development to participating practices

  • Support sites in achieving fidelity to the HealthySteps model

  • Identifying and cultivating potential new sites 

  • Gathering and evaluating data to assess the impact of HealthySteps on reducing health care costs and promoting the health and well-being of participating families, babies and young children in Colorado

  • Advocate with local, community, and state leaders for HealthySteps expansion and sustainability across the state

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Parents and caregivers’ confidence and competence in their parenting skills are increased when a HealthySteps Specialist is there to help guide them.

HealthySteps improves child health and supports families by promoting timely and continued care.

As a result of HealthySteps, babies and families experience:

  • Increased breastfeeding rates

  • Increased vaccination rates

  • A decrease in depressive symptoms among mothers

  • Healthy birth spacing

Busy physicians report a number of benefits from participating in HealthySteps, including:

  • Enhancing their ability to meet the comprehensive needs of children and families through an evidence-based, team-based approach to care

  • Improved patient experience and an increase in the number of satisfied parents who remain with the practice

  • An increase in the number of children who receive timely well-child visits, screenings and vaccinations

  • A positive impact on provider satisfaction, practice quality and efficiency

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Learn more about the evidence behind HealthySteps.

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Baby Carlie was having trouble eating enough and breathing in her first few weeks of life. Hear how a Fort Morgan medical team helped Carlie avoid the hospital and get on a path to healthy development. Read the story.

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HealthySteps benefits have been identified in 10 key outcome areas:

  1. Screening and Connection to Services

  2. Breastfeeding & Age-Appropriate Early Nutrition

  3. Social-Emotional Development

  4. Timely and Continued Care and Vaccinations

  5. Maternal Depression

  6. Knowledge of Infant Development

  7. Early Literacy & School Readiness

  8. Early Relational Health

  9. Child Safety Practices

  10. Parent & Physician Satisfaction

Learn more about the benefits of HealthySteps from child development experts. Listen

Publications about HealthySteps

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Join the growing network of HealthySteps sites in Colorado

"I love seeing the babies and families grow together every time they come in. Being a teammate for families early on destigmatizes mental health before concerns become issues. My providers refer to me as the expert in early childhood mental health for alignment of the team. The families see this and recognize this.”

- Meredith Silva, LPC, RPT-S, HealthySteps Specialist, Every Child Pediatrics-Denver

ABCD works closely with you to explore HealthySteps implementation and decide if it’s right for your practice.

Becoming a HealthySteps site means working with seasoned experts on implementing a well-tested roadmap to enhance the way primary care is delivered to the youngest patients in your practice.

 

The exploration process begins with a learning session with ABCD at your practice. During this session, ABCD staff will describe the HealthySteps program in detail and explain the onboarding process.  

 

Among the questions you’ll want to consider are whether you’re ready to:

 

  • Select a Physician Champion to support HealthySteps within your practice

  • Secure funding for a HealthySteps Specialist, onboarding and training, with assistance from ABCD to identify potential funding sources

  • Commit to integrating a HealthySteps Specialist into your practice through a team-based approach to patient care

 

From there, ABCD will support you in completing the exploratory and onboarding process through ZERO TO THREE. Working with ABCD saves you time and allows for customized training for your community and team. After training, your site will not only receive continued support from ABCD but also access to experts and resources from HealthySteps and ZERO TO THREE.

We are committed to sustainability and return on investment for your practice

A primary key to sustainability is Medicaid reimbursement. We now have a HealthySteps Medicaid Billing Guide for existing and new sites to help maximize Medicaid billing and reimbursement.

Analyses done by the HealthySteps National Office and Manatt Health demonstrate a cumulative 163% return on investment (ROI) to Medicaid annually. Learn more here. 

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To calculate your Medicaid return on investment, log into the HealthySteps calculator.

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