Advancing Equitable Models of Care for Medicaid-Eligible Children Served by Head Start Programs: Implementation and Evaluation of Telehealth Services​

Principal Investigator (PI): Dr. Michael Lopez, Dr. Elizabeth Villegas (National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago)

Research Model

The study will evaluate a telehealth service delivery model for rural Head Start (HS) programs serving culturally and linguistically diverse children. The goal is to improve access and reduce disparities for Medicaid-eligible populations within rural communities, and to develop a sustainable Medicaid finance model.

Evaluation Approach

A mixed-methods, randomized control trial design will address the primary study research questions. The study team partnered with two HS programs across two states, where 4 centers from each HS program will be randomly assigned to either a telehealth intervention or control condition. Evaluation will focus on effectiveness of a telehealth model of care in HS on improved health care access, patient experience, and reduced costs, key child health improvements compared to the previous year, and to control sites, staff and parents’ experience of health care access and services for their children, and issues and opportunities for providers.

Contribution to HSTRC’s Research Agenda 

  • Strengthen evidence examining health system models of care that address the goals and needs of Medicaid-eligible individuals.
  • Identify and evaluate resources that can help to ensure health system model of care sustainability