DIXON – A grant will allow Kreider Services to open a facility aimed at making specialized pediatric services easily accessible for Sauk Valley families.
The Pediatric Developmental Center could be open by the end of 2014 or early 2015, said Kreider's Greg Gates, who wrote the grant that was submitted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in December.
Kreider was told on April 24 that it was awarded the implementation grant, which will amount to $900,000 over 3 years – $300,000 a year – to complete what it started with a rural health planning grant from 2012, Gates said.
The planning grant was for about $65,000, said Laura Watters, Kreider's director of autism and day services, adding that there were some matching funds from Kreider involved with that grant.
The center's goal is to "make specialized pediatric services more accessible and decrease the time for children to receive accurate diagnosis and treatment," according to a Kreider news release.
The Pediatric Developmental Center will serve children 18 and younger living in Lee, Ogle, Carroll and Whiteside counties, the release said, "who exhibit developmental, emotional, social or behavioral concerns."
The idea for a center like this, where specialists in a variety of fields are all in one building, began to take shape in January 2008, Watters said, when Kreider was doing screenings for autism.
Only a third of the children referred to Kreider were diagnosed with autism, she said, adding that the high number of non-autistic children referred indicated that there was a shortage of specialists.
Making matters more frustrating for families is that available specialists weren't centralized, Watters said, something that the center will address.
Instead of parents being referred to a specialist in a different city and building, Watters said, after the center is up and running, parents could be referred to a specialist on a different floor.
Gates said to his knowledge, Kreider was the only one to submit a grant application with a behavioral health focus, and that he thought the Pediatric Developmental Center could serve as a regional hub.
"The impact that it could have is pretty significant in the long run," he said, adding that if Kreider's center succeeds it could inspire other similar centers in other rural areas.
Strengthening Kreider's application, Gates said, was that it's partnering with KSB Hospital, Sinnissippi Centers and other local groups.
No location for the center has been chosen, Watters said. It likely will be in Dixon, since Kreider's main focus is Lee and Ogle counties.
There will be a physician training component to the center as well, she said.
A staffing level hasn't been determined, Watters said, and after the center gets running, Kreider might consider expanding, if necessary or possible.