9 Big Questions as California Starts to Screen Kids for Trauma, ACEs [salud-america.org]


By Amanda Merck, Salud America!, February 12, 2020

Early childhood adversity like abuse and divorce is a root cause of many of the greatest public health challenges we face today.

But doctors don’t even screen children for exposure to adversity.

That’s changing in California, thanks to Dr. Nadine Burke Harris and other child advocates.

As of Jan. 1, 2020, almost 100,000 physicians in 8,800 clinics will be reimbursed for routinely screening Medi-Cal patients for adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), in an effort California hopes will help prevent ongoing ACEs-related stress and disease.

Here are nine big questions surrounding the change.

[Please click here to read more.]

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The article above, which can be read in total on the Salud America website, contains a lot of good information about ACEs and California's new program that encourages doctors who serve patients in the state's MediCal program to screen them for ACEs in exchange for an incentive payment of $29 per patient.

However, there is an inaccuracy that needs to be pointed out. The AB340 workgroup, which was the advisory group referred to in Amanda Merck's article (under number 6), recommended two other options, in addition to the PEARLS tool for reimbursement for pediatric ACEs screening.

Those two other options include Loma Linda University's Whole Child Assessment, and a third option of a trauma screening tool that would at a minimum include all of the items in the PEARLS tool.  You can read about it in this ACEs Connection article. Please also see my ACEs Connection article here, which includes concerns expressed by some organizations such as the California chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics about limiting reimbursement to only one of the three recommended options for pediatric ACEs screening, according to public comments I obtained through a Public Records Act request.

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