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Aetna First Health Insurance Company to Cover Medically Fragile Children at “Almost Home Kids”


CHICAGO.— Aetna (NYSE: AET) announced today that it will cover the transition care services of Naperville’s Almost Home Kids (formerly CoACH Care Center) for its members – the first insurance company in Illinois to do so.

The staff of Almost Home Kids trains parents whose critically ill children have been discharged from the hospital. Many of these children have complicated needs that require careful monitoring and a wide variety of medical interventions such as respirators, oxygen, suction machines, and therapies. Learning to be a caretaker can be a daunting task, and Almost Home Kids helps families in a homelike setting, by providing education, reassurance and whatever technical training the families need before taking the child home.

In addition, Almost Home Kids staff members provide respite care of up to two weeks for caregivers. Families rely on the comfort of the Almost Home Kids facility and staff without having to worry whether they’re “up to the task.” Almost Home Kids opened in 1999 as the first center of its kind in the nation; it remains the only such facility in Illinois.

Without a facility of this nature, children typically have to stay longer in a costly intensive-care unit, adding stress to a family and exposing the child to hospital-acquired infections, according to Deborah Grisko, President and CEO of Almost Home Kids.

“We’re thrilled that Aetna has shown great leadership in the insurance industry and decided to contract with our facility. I hope other insurers will follow suit,” said Grisko.

Dr. Haydee Muse, senior medical director at Aetna’s Chicago office, said, “As we visit our many health care providers, we are constantly inspired and motivated by the work they do. By providing excellent training to caregivers in a comfortable setting, Almost Home Kids lessens the chance of children returning to the hospital. Just the fact that a place like this exists can even shorten the time a child remains in the hospital, since doctors and nurses know the child’s next move will be to a safe, controlled care setting.”

Martin R. Castro, Aetna’s Vice President of External Affairs for the Chicago market, added, “A facility like Almost Home Kids is good for the children and their families, and good for containing health care costs. At a time when we are looking at how to lower health care costs and improve health outcomes for all, this innovative relationship with Almost Home Kids is a win-win for everyone. We are proud to be the first health insurer to take this important step, and we encourage others to follow our lead for the benefit of these medically fragile children and their families.”


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