DSCC Quality Specialist Honored for Service to Families in Crisis
CountyCare awarded Tess Rhodes its Certificate of Excellence for her commitment and dedication
Tess Rhodes is a registered nurse on our Quality Improvement Team. She collaborates with her Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) teammates and partner organizations across Illinois to make sure children in crisis have the right support.
A managed care health plan recently honored Tess for these efforts to protect the safety of children and families.
CountyCare’s Health, Safety and Welfare Team awarded Tess its Certificate of Excellence. The certificate recognizes her “tremendous commitment and dedication” to keeping County Care participants safe and meeting their families’ needs.
Tess said she couldn’t do this important work without DSCC’s care coordination teams and our partners in the community.
DSCC has a contract with CountyCare to provide care coordination to the children and youth with special healthcare needs in its Medicaid managed care health plan.
As a Core/Connect Care Quality Improvement Specialist, Tess helps DSCC’s care coordination teams when a participant enrolled in CountyCare has a critical incident.
Critical incidents are events or situations that create a significant risk of substantial or serious harm to a participant’s physical or mental health, safety or well-being. They can include:
- Abuse or neglect
- Harassment or bullying
- Death of a family member
- Significant injuries
- Medication or treatment errors
- Threat of self-harm
DSCC works with CountyCare to report these incidents and make sure our teams respond to reduce any risks for our participants and help them get the right resources and services they need.
When DSCC team members learn of a critical incident, they must report it to CountyCare within 24 hours of notification.
Tess says it’s important to first ensure that our child/youth is safe and that their family receives the right support for their situation.
Tess and the DSCC care coordination teams work alongside CountyCare staff, the child’s medical team and others to provide access to services and resources.
The DSCC Care Coordinator checks in with the family bi-weekly after a crucial incident to help and monitor the outcome. Tess assists in the process by guiding the participant’s Care Coordinator and providing more resources and materials for education.
Once CountyCare closes a critical incident, Tess continues to monitor the situation and provides final updates at the 30-, 60- and 90-day marks. She also coordinates meetings for all care team members to discuss the incident and develop a plan of support.
“This requires very detailed organizational skills, and Tess never misses an update or chance to help,” her supervisor, Quality Improvement Manager Brandon Bartels, said.
Brandon praised Tess’ “exceptional” communication with CountyCare and her collaboration to keep participants’ and families’ needs at the forefront.
“Tess has received accolades by email from their team multiple times, so this Certificate of Excellence proves not only have they valued her efforts in the past but her continued support for our participants, Care Coordinators, and relationship with CountyCare is truly making an impact,” he said.
Congratulations, Tess! We are grateful for your compassion, teamwork and commitment to children and families!