Researchers receive $99,589 for Michigan Innovations in Care Coordination project

Return to news listing

Collaboration to improve access to care for children at risk for learning delays

Krista Clancy

With funding support from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, the Michigan Public Health Institute awarded a $99,589 grant to Wayne State University to support the Michigan Innovations in Care Coordination project, which seeks to improve access to coordinated and integrated care for children at risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other developmental delays. Krista Clancy, Ph.D., LP, BCBA, a lecturer in educational psychology and director of the applied behavior analysis program, and Mathew Edick, Ph D., director of the institute’s Center for Strategic Health Partnerships, are principal investigators. Neelima Thati, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at Wayne State University, is co-investigator.

“ABA is a fairly new benefit offered to people with ASD in Michigan,” said Clancy. “Families and providers are not adequately prepared to navigate the new system because of increased capacity-building related to the administration of this benefit, which causes delays in delivering services to children with ASD. This project will increase the number of children who are able to start ABA services before age 3, the recommended age at which children should begin services.” 

The Michigan Innovations in Care Coordination initiative will educate and train providers on implementing timely evaluations and services for children. At-risk children will receive timely identification, intervention and coordination of services, and family members will be supported as equal partners in establishing a collaborative system of care. The MICC project members will accomplish this goal by creating and disseminating resources that will help providers and families overcome the barriers that they encounter when attempting to navigate evaluation and treatment for autism spectrum disorder and other developmental delays.

The project, which runs through Aug. 31, 2021, has engaged stakeholders — including family members, physicians, diagnosticians, applied behavior analysis providers, public and private insurance benefit administrators, and family and provider advocacy organizations — across multiple sectors to better understand gaps and barriers to receiving care faced by children at risk of developmental delays. Additional partners involved in the project are the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, including the Children’s Special Health Care Services Division and the Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Administration Children & Adults with Autism Section; Wayne Children’s Healthcare Access Program; Michigan chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; Grand Valley State University’s START Project; Early Childhood Investment Corporation; Patient Education Genius; Michigan Association of Health Plans; Michigan Family to Family Health Information Center; Children’s Hospital of Michigan; Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network; Starfish Family Services; Wayne State University’s University Physician Group Division of General Medicine, University Pediatricians Autism Center, Chitter Chatter PC; Anan & Associates; Autism Spectrum Therapies; Black Applied Behavior Analysts; Hope Starts Here; Black Family Development Inc.; and numerous parent and family organizations.

Clancy indicated that improving access to ABA treatment for children under 3 will also impact overall healthcare and hospitalization usage over their lifetime.

“Ensuring that children have access to these intensive services earlier will reduce their need for future services,” she said. “Without early ABA services, children with ASD may experience worsening symptoms during adolescence and adulthood. An improved quality of life directly benefits the children and their families and indirectly benefits the larger community by reducing the overall cost of providing treatment to these individuals.”