AT THE LARGEST hospital emergency department in Volusia County, Florida, pediatric visits have dropped by 30% in the past 3 years. At the same time, pediatric emergency claims at one of the county's largest health maintenance organizations, the Florida Health Care Plan in Daytona Beach, have risen by 6% while its pediatric patient population has doubled.
"This is not just a shift in who the payer was. We've been able to bring about a real shift out of the ER and into the physician's office," says Rose Naff, executive director of the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation in Tallahassee.
The corporation directs one of the nation's first attempts to offer health insurance to children through the public school system. In its first few years of operation, Healthy Kids has provided coverage to more than 13000 children who have made 43000 trips to physicians' offices, had 30000 prescriptions filled, broken 300 bones,