Healthy Start for Seminole County: An Insider’s Guide
July 18, 2017 at 4:36 pm
After over a month of renovations, training, and other preparations, the Healthy Start program for Seminole County went live at True Health on July 3.
Healthy Start is a statewide, voluntary program that provides comprehensive services to pregnant women, their children, and their families. Seminole County is one of 33 coalition members working to reduce infant mortality rates, improve pregnancy outcomes, and improve health and development outcomes of children up to the age of 3.
Since the program’s inception, infant deaths in Florida have decreased by 35.4% from 1990 to 2015. But there is still plenty of work to do. In 2015, the infant mortality rate in Seminole County was 6.4 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. By comparison, the national average was 5.9, according to the National Center for Health Statistics report released last month.
An Inside Look at Healthy Start
Vanessa, our new Program Manager, describes Healthy Start as a team of people providing guidance for having a healthier family. The program provides care coordination, parenting and childbirth education, smoking cessation assistance, nutritional services, and more. All families can benefit from Healthy Start, from pregnant moms to families with children up to the age of 3.
For Vanessa, the most important service that Healthy Start provides is an external support network for Florida families. The resources, connections, and support provided by Healthy Start are key for helping the entire family flourish.
As a bonus, True Health also offers medical services for our Healthy Start clients, including OB/GYN and pediatrics. The cost of services for uninsured or underinsured patients is based on family size and income level – another resource we provide for our Healthy Start families. As Vanessa says, “Having a medical piece attached to Healthy Start means we have more resources and are able to provide wraparound service.”
A True Story in the Making
The program at True Health is already gearing up. On the first day, we saw our first client and started working on cases for families throughout Seminole County. Last week, we also held our first home visit with a new mom.
At the home visits, a care coordinator provides free screening for pregnancy risk factors and explains what the program offers. Vanessa explained, “If the mom accepts our services, we complete a full assessment of the whole family and educate about where she is in her pregnancy.”
In last week’s home visit, our True Health team met with a first-time teen mom. Her best friend and mother were both present for the visit. They will be assisting her with appointments and emotional support throughout her pregnancy. The father of the child is also very involved and the two plan on parenting together.
Although this new mom already has a lot of support at home, she was very interested in the program. Mom has goals of completing school and starting work soon, and our care coordinator was able to provide several referrals right away. We will follow up every two weeks during her pregnancy to ensure we continue to help mom achieve her goals.
At True Health, we are ecstatic to grow a program that we know makes a difference for our community, one family at a time.
To learn more about the Healthy Start program in Seminole County, visit the Healthy Start website or call True Health at 407-322-8645.