Skip to main content

Closing the Loop for New Jersey’s Kids

Blog Authors: Dana Catapano & Natasha Stewart

Addressing social determinants of health is the foundation of NJ 211’s mission. NJ 211 is rooted in New Jersey and has relationships with communities throughout the state and has worked side by side with agencies that provide the social/medical services for years. In August 2020, because of NJ 211’s expertise with providing and tracking community resources, the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) of Central New Jersey approached NJ 211 to determine if they would be able to assist with the New Jersey Integrated Care for kids (NJ InCK) project.

 NJ InCK is led by New Jersey’s largest healthcare system, Hackensack Meridian Health along with two co-leads, the VNA and New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute (NJHCQI). NJ InCK operates through prevention, early identification, and treatment of priority health concerns like behavioral health challenges, physical health needs, and social challenges. It’s designed to improve health outcomes for children and young adults under the age of 21 by reducing out of home placement as well as health care expenditures for children covered by NJ FamilyCare, New Jersey’s publicly funded health insurance.

NJ 211’s Executive Director Melissa Acree states, “this partnership is really about marrying people’s social and medical needs. Social determinants of health is an arena that NJ 211 has  been involved in since 2005” and they are excited to take this next step. Through the SDoH work, NJ 211 is providing their nationally accredited resource database and partnering with Open City Labs to provide the technology solution for closed loop referrals for NJ InCK. The NJ 211 nationally accredited resource database follows AIRS standards for maintaining the database, that includes an inclusion policy, style guide, and verification process. It utilizes a national indexing system and taxonomy to carefully organize the resources and certified resource staff manage the database. 

The NJ InCK pilot program focuses on two of the twenty-one counties in New Jersey (Monmouth and Ocean). NJ 211, along with other 211s throughout the country and their very active Board of Trustees, are hoping to support more healthcare projects and coalitions with their expertise of managing a health and human services resource database.  Their relationships with community based organizations, experience helping individuals and families navigate the social service system and data are a tremendous resource for improving health outcomes.  

To learn more about the NJ InCK project and NJ 211’s closed loop referral system you can contact Marketing and Communications Manager Dana Catapano via email and check out their website HERE!