Teddy Bears for Kids Screened for Lead

All Kids Should be Tested for Lead Before Age Two

(Woonsocket – September 29, 2023) – Teddy Bears for Kids is a new initiative that is part of a partnership with Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island and Thundermist to help raise awareness about the importance of getting your child tested for lead before the age of two. Children who get tested for lead during a visit at Thundermist Health Center will receive a complimentary teddy bear.

Children under six years old are at risk for health problems if they are exposed to lead. Children can be exposed to lead where they live, learn, and play by putting things with lead dust on them into their mouths. Lead screening should begin between nine months and 15 months old, and then once a year until age six. Lead screenings are provided at no cost.

“Lead screening is important for children; elevated lead levels can result in neurotoxicity and developmental delays,” said Paul George, MD, medical director the Thundermist Health Center Accountable Entity Program. “Teddy Bears for Kids is an invaluable resource in encouraging parents to screen their children for lead, while at the same time, giving comfort to children while they are having the lab screening performed. We are excited to be partnering with Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, and we’ve already given out 170 bears!”

Teddy Bears for Kids is a pilot program at Thundermist Health Center of Woonsocket. Approximately 200 teddy bears were delivered and began being distributed at the beginning of July.

“This teddy bear pilot program is a wonderful way to create positive and responsive interactions with children,” said Dr. Kristin Russell, Chief Medical Officer. “We believe when families understand the importance of childhood lead screenings, that the overall health, safety and well-being of children will grow exponentially as well,” she added.

A lead screening is as easy as 1-2-3! Follow these three simple steps. 1. Bring your child to the Lifespan lab at Thundermist Health Center in Woonsocket. 2. Get a no-cost lead screening and new teddy bear. 3. Your child’s provider will review the results and contact you if needed. Patients can also access their results via the patient portal.

Neighborhood Health Plan members may be eligible for REWARDS like a gift card after your child has been screened for lead. Go to www.nhpri.org/ rewards to learn more.

Thundermist Health Center is a full-service primary care provider with dental and behavioral health services. The non-profit community health center aims to improve the health of patients and communities by delivering exceptional health care, removing barriers to that care, and advancing healthy lifestyles. Thundermist has locations in West Warwick, Woonsocket, and South County. The organization cares for patients regardless of insurance and ability to pay. In 2022, Thundermist cared for nearly 58,000 patients.

Learn more at www.thundermisthealth.org.

Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island (Neighborhood) is a not-for-profit health maintenance organization (HMO) founded in December 1993 in partnership with Rhode Island’s Community Health Centers and the state to ensure everyone in Rhode Island has access to high quality, cost-effective health care. Neighborhood serves over 221,000 members in the state with 82 percent of its membership Medicaid eligible through its ACCESS and TRUST plans and 6 percent of its membership utilizing Neighborhood’s INTEGRITY Medicare-Medicaid Plan (MMP). About 12 percent of Neighborhood’s members are individuals, families and small businesses who select one of eight Neighborhood commercial plans available through the health exchange, HealthSourceRI. Of these members, about 85 percent qualify for federal subsidies to cover a portion of their costs. Today, Neighborhood—with over 600 employees and $1.5 billion in revenue—serves one out of every five Rhode Islanders. Learn more at nhpri.org.