Are you missing out on free health benefits for your children? TennCare Kids offers free health checkups and services for all children who have TennCare. On a recent episode of Community Health Matters, Dr. Joel Bradley, chief medical officer at UnitedHealthcare in Tennessee, and Dr. Deanna Bell, pediatrician at Williamson Medical Center, explained the TennCare Kids program and shared insights for getting the most out of your child’s health checkups. View their full interview here.

 

Children should have 12 checkups before the age of three, and annual checkups to age 21. Checkups allow for early diagnosis of issues ranging from physical conditions like hearing and vision problems to developmental issues like ADHD, autism and problems with motor skills. Doctors also look for environmental risks like lead poisoning and mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

According to Dr. Bell, the types of problems found at these checkups vary by age group, including:

  • Below age 3 – motor delays, hearing and vision and autism
  • Ages 3 to 8 – attention deficit disorder and learning disabilities
  • Ages 8 and up – anxiety and depression

And at age 11, screenings also begin for alcohol and drug abuse.

Don’t worry, however, if your pediatrician finds a problem. All tests, medications, procedures or treatments that your children may need are also free under TennCare Kids. Therefore, it’s essential to follow through with any further tests, appointments and treatments the physician recommends.

Have concerns about vaccinations? Vaccines undergo years of testing and research before they are made available to the public and they’re only given when the risk of any side effect is significantly less than the risks posed by the disease itself. Immunizations are critical in preventing serious diseases and often mandatory in school districts.

For example, if your child is enrolling in kindergarten in Tennessee, they are required to receive the following immunizations:

  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (DTaP, or DT)
  • Hepatitis B (HBV)
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella – Two doses of each, usually given together as MMR
  • Poliomyelitis (IPV or OPV) – Final dose on or after the 4th birthday
  • Varicella – Two doses or history of disease
  • Hepatitis – Total of two doses, spaced at least six months apart

To schedule a TennCare Kids visit, call your child’s primary care physician. If you need to find a doctor, contact your health plan or your local health department. To learn more, visit KidCentralTN.com. And if you’re not in TennCare but think your child might be eligible or have questions, contact Healthcare.gov or call 1.800.318.2596.

Pediatrician Dr. Deanna Bell & UnitedHealthcare’s Dr. Joel Bradley share how to optimize your child’s health checkups.

Did you know that children should have 12 checkups before the age of three? Establishing a positive relationship with healthcare professionals and diagnosing any medical problems at an early age is essential to raising a healthy child. Dr. Joel Bradley, chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare in Tennessee, and Dr. Vaughn Frigon, chief medical officer of TennCare, joined us on a recent episode of Community Health Matters to discuss critical healthcare information for low-income Tennesseans about how TennCare Kids is working to meet their needs. View their entire interview here.

One of the oldest Medicaid managed care programs in the country, TennCare provides health care for approximately 1.4 million Tennesseans, or 25 percent of the state’s population. Approximately two-thirds of those TennCare serves are children.

TennCare Kids is the early and periodic screening, diagnostic and treatment program for children who are enrolled in TennCare. Starting at birth until age 21, it provides a spectrum of care including health screenings, medical and dental checkups and other health care services for children, according to guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

TennCare Kids “well child” screenings are free and include:

  • Health history
  • Complete physical exam
  • Appropriate immunizations
  • Laboratory tests (as needed)
  • Vision/hearing screening
  • Developmental/behavioral screening
  • Health education

The key to treating adolescent health issues is early diagnosis. TennCare Kids’ goal is to treat any problems before they become lifelong disabilities. Screenings should start within the first week of life and infants should have 12 checkups before their third birthday. Children age three through 20 should have one medical screening every year and a dental checkup every six months.

These regular visits to a primary care provider or local health department will build a relationship that sets the groundwork for your child to manage their own care throughout their life. If starting out at a new practice, take any medical records that you have, including immunization records and family history.

To learn more about keeping your child healthy, visit KidCentralTN.com. And if you’re not in TennCare but think your child might be eligible or have questions, contact Healthcare.gov or call 1.800.318.2596.

Tune in to hear from experts on how to keep your child healthy. Representatives from UnitedHealthcare and TennCare explain TennCare Kids, a free child health services program, on the latest episode of Community Health Matters. Pediatrician Dr. Deanna Bell & UnitedHealthcare’s Dr. Joel Bradley share how to optimize your child’s health checkups. And dietician Mckel Hill stopped by to discuss how to help kids make healthy food choices.