Media Contact: Mary Colliver
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 9, 2009) − Today, the Medical Home for Coordinated Pediatrics (MHCP) clinic was renamed the Thomas H. Pinkstaff Medical Home Clinic. Pinkstaff, the founding father of the clinic, passed away in April this year.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear sent a proclamation paying tribute to the clinic, which provides primary care for foster children, as well as children with special health care needs. It was presented to Pinkstaff's wife, Dee Pinkstaff, and placed next to Pinkstaff's photograph in the clinic.
Pinkstaff, known to many as Dr. Tom, was an emeritus professor of pediatrics in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, and a pediatrician at Kentucky Children's Hospital. His career as a pediatrician began in 1963 when he received his medical degree from the University of Illinois in Chicago. Pinkstaff then went on and completed his internship at St. Louis County Hospital in Clayton, Mo. He completed his residency in 1967 after serving as a general medical officer in the U.S. Navy at Camp LeJeune, N.C., and the U.S. Naval Hospital and Boston Floating Hospital for Infants and Residency Children in Chelsea, Mass.
Pinkstaff's professional experience as a pediatrician spanned more than 30 years. He served on staff at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Great Lakes, Ill., the Fergusin Medical Group in Sikeston, Mo., the Lexington Clinic Pediatric Division in Lexington, Ky., and as associate professor of pediatrics and medical director of University Child Health Specialists (UCHS) at the University of Louisville School of Medicine's (UofL) Department of Pediatrics in Louisville, Ky., where he served on the clinical pediatric staff. He then became emeritus professor of pediatrics at UofL and the UK College of Medicine and taught part-time. Following his tenure as a pediatrician and faculty member, Pinkstaff became medical director for the MHCP clinic.
During his long career in pediatrics, Pinkstaff was an active member on a wide range of boards, associations, and committees, including service as president of the Kentucky Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics. He was a tireless advocate, consultant, and educator regarding children's health issues, especially autism. He also was well published and Pinkstaff received many honors and awards during his career.
The clinic is a joint venture of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ (CHFS) Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs (CCSHCN), the UK College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics and CHFS’ Department for Community Based Services (DCBS).
"Tom Pinkstaff was a superb pediatrician, but more importantly he was an extraordinary person,” said Dr. Grace Maguire, medical director of the Medical Home Clinic. "His compassion, dedication, and unfailingly cheerful attitude were an inspiration to us all. Renaming this clinic is a perfect way to honor him." Maguire is professor of pediatrics, UK College of Medicine, and a pediatrician at Kentucky Children's Hospital.
"Certainly all of us who knew and worked with Dr. Pinkstaff miss him greatly, but we know in our hearts he would be incredibly pleased that this clinic will continue to positively impact the lives and improve health for this extremely vulnerable group of children," said Rebecca Cecil, CCSHCN executive director. "We were all honored to work with such a fine physician and friend, and it is fitting that we celebrate his success and contributions to the clinic. Although we know that the name of this clinic would mean very little to him if he was still with us, we know we would not be where we are today without his passion and leadership.
"Since Dr. Maguire was named medical director of the clinic, the commission is extremely fortunate to have another dedicated physician step up and continue to serve children who are medically fragile and children in foster care and I know she will follow the excellent leadership and caring for patients as Dr. Pinkstaff did."
Dr. Tim Bricker, professor and chair of pediatrics, UK College of Medicine, and physician-in-chief of Kentucky Children's Hospital, and Dr. Carol L. Steltenkamp, associate professor of pediatrics and a pediatrician at Kentucky Children's Hospital, were instrumental in getting Pinkstaff to help establish and oversee the clinic.
"Tom Pinkstaff was such a caring person and loved children," said Bricker. "As the founding father of the clinic, he understood the importance of this program to the health and lives of these Kentucky children is profound. Tom and the foster caregivers and the staff of this program are our heroes.”
"Dr. Tom was my teacher and also my mentor," said Steltenkamp. "He was dearly loved by many whom he taught and mentored. I miss Dr. Tom as I know many do."
The clinic is a one-stop medical center that provides comprehensive, compassionate, coordinated pediatric primary care for children in foster/kinship care, as well as those with special needs, such as children with cerebral palsy or birth defects. The center, located in the CCSHCN’s Waller Avenue office in Lexington, serves children in foster care from Fayette and 19 surrounding counties. Medical information for children who visit the center is entered into CCSHCN’s database, which can be accessed by its staff statewide and follows the children no matter where they go, improving the consistency of care they receive.
The clinic staff address each child’s needs, make appropriate referrals and coordinate follow-up care. The clinic, coupled with the nine commission nurses stationed in DCBS offices across the state, provides a level of medical expertise that has been desperately needed. This continuity gives the children a medical home. DCBS staff say they strive to reduce the number of placements for children in foster care, but there are often situations when a child must be moved to another home or facility.
The clinic also provides support for families in the Kinship Care Program, which places children with relatives rather than in a foster home.
Because the program is able to use existing CCSHCN clinic space and share some staff, the additional costs of running the clinic are less than $100,000 and Medicaid pays for the services provided to the foster children.
Approximately 7,100 Kentucky children are in state foster care. DCBS is responsible for coordinating an initial physical health screening within 48 hours of the child’s entry into out-of-home care. DCBS also must ensure that each child has a complete physical, dental and visual exam scheduled within two weeks of entry into care. About 122 children in foster care are considered medically fragile with specialized health care needs.