The Children's Care Network

Clinically Integrating to Provide Better Care for Georgia's Kids
Children's Care Network 

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta believes every child deserves access to the specialized care provided when independent pediatric physicians and Children’s work together.

To meet the new demands of a changing healthcare market, a group of committed community physicians partnered with Children’s to create The Children’s Care Network, a physician-led, taxable nonprofit subsidiary corporation of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The Children’s Care Network, Georgia’s only clinically integrated pediatric network, will demonstrate performance and value by emphasizing data-driven approaches to quality improvements.

Pediatricians can benefit from a unified, collaborative system that offers group purchasing power, cost savings, technical resources, and an association with Children’s—the largest and most trusted pediatric healthcare system in the state.

Patients will receive comprehensive, quality care provided by pediatric-trained physicians devoted to caring for children.

Ultimately, through The Children’s Care Network, we seek to ensure our pediatric system of care will produce better health outcomes for our kids.


Enrollment for Founding Members of The Children’s Care Network ends June 30, 2015. Enrolling as a Founding Member allows a practice to participate actively in the clinical integration process and receive a reduced membership rate of $200 per physician. Enrollment will not re-open again until a later date, when membership dues may increase.


Watch the Video: A Day In The Life Of A Clinically Integrated Network



Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a clinically integrated network?

      A clinically integrated network is a collaboration between a hospital system and independent providers to improve patient outcomes at the community level. Community providers and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta created The Children’s Care Network to form their own clinically integrated network as a response to continued challenges to free-standing pediatrics in our new healthcare environment.  The network will support the use of protocols and evidence-based practices to support quality care.

      Many other healthcare systems across the country also have implemented clinically integrated networks to support independent pediatricians as the best source of health care for kids. Children’s and community providers believe a clinically integrated network will help demonstrate our value to payors and potentially bring other benefits from optimized reimbursement and shared savings.   

  • Who is in the network?

      The physician-led, clinically integrated network includes a wide spectrum of pediatricians—primary care and specialists—in the Atlanta area.

      The network is a separately incorporated subsidiary of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta with its own board of directors, comprised almost entirely of physicians.

  • Why should my practice join the network?

      The Children’s Care Network provides independent pediatricians the resources they need to enhance quality of care. The network offers independent physicians strategic benefits in several areas:

      • Information technology to facilitate efficient data sharing and communications
      • A collaborative structure that will be necessary to succeed in the marketplace as payors move to value-based payment mechanisms
      • Access to services and discounted purchasing arrangements that may help lower your operating expenses
      • Access to Children’s nationally recognized resources and expertise.   

      Once The Children’s Care Network demonstrates its clinical integration, its members may jointly negotiate with payors together with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and other independent network members. Having its own data will help the network and its members in issue resolution and demonstrate value to payors.   

  • If I join The Children’s Care Network, what happens to my existing contracts?

      Initially, members will maintain the base contracts they currently have through their practices. The network’s pay-for-performance contracts will exist on top of your payor contracts and would specify what incentives or shared savings practices would receive as a result of reaching performance or quality goals.

      Following the achievement of clinical integration, it will become possible for the network also to negotiate base agreements on behalf of members.  At that time, there will be an opportunity for you to determine whether you wish to have the network negotiate base agreements on your behalf on a payor by payor basis.

      Ultimately, Children’s believes that the industry is moving to pay-for-performance as a standard, and this approach allows practices to manage that transition.

  • I’m a small practice. Why should I participate in the network?

      Small practices face particular challenges in addressing the demands of the changing healthcare market. Retail clinics are taking on more of the mainstays of the traditional pediatric medical home such as back-to-school checkups and minor injuries. Adult systems are cherry-picking some parts of pediatrics, making it harder for primary care pediatricians to provide the full spectrum of care that they know is best for their patients.

      In addition, we expect the market to move away from fee-for-service reimbursement to payment methods that are based on demonstration of value.

      Once clinically integrated, The Children’s Care Network will help small practices demonstrate their value to payors and help handle administrative burdens, such as contract negotiations. The network also is planning to provide ways to lower overhead expenses through access to other value-added services such as group purchasing arrangements.

  • How will the network improve my patients’ ability to access specialists?

      By developing care and referral protocols used across the continuum of care, pediatricians will be better equipped to manage the care of their own patients and make appropriate referrals to specialists. As a result, this will enable specialists to focus their efforts on those kids who truly need advanced services and treatment.

  • What kinds of protocols or quality standards will I have to adopt and how will my daily practice activities be affected?

      The Children’s Care Network will implement primary care quality measures structured around activities you are already doing in your office, such as HEDIS measures for well checks and immunizations. The physicians on the board fully understand the need to avoid placing an additional burden on your busy staff.  Other core programs to be rolled out over time include: concussion, asthma, obesity, and diabetes.

  • How will my success against protocols and quality standards be evaluated?

      Members will be given reports and information about their performance and have the ability to make improvements. Your practice will be compared across your specialty with the other practices as well as against the measure benchmarks. The Medical Director and the Quality committee will work with all practices on clinical improvement activities through collegial consultation.   

      If a physician or practice is found to be seriously deficient, and sufficient improvements are not made, a member may be placed on probation or terminated from the network.  The practice will be given sufficient notice during the remediation process to prepare to transition out of the network contracts and assume its own contract negotiations.  

  • If we are sharing data, how will you protect my practice’s financial and patient information?

      The network’s population health management tool is built to analyze patient data in a secure manner that complies with all HIPAA regulations. In addition, the network will only use the data provided by the practice for the stated purposes in the Membership and Participation Agreement, unless otherwise approved by the physician-led Board of Directors. (A copy of the membership agreement is available upon request by emailing No practice’s financial data will be collected through the data that you will be providing.

  • Do I need to have an electronic health record to participate in the network, and if I have one, will the network tools be able to interface with mine?

      You do not need an electronic health record to participate initially. The network’s population health management system and initial quality measures are designed to use billing codes that come from your practice management system. This system is compliance with all HIPAA regulations. It is built to interface with a number of electronic medical records, if desired, or it can be accessed in a stand-alone manner.

  • What are the membership dues and requirements to participate?

      To be eligible to join The Children’s Care Network, you must be a credentialed member of the Children’s Professional Staff, be board-certified and agree to:

      • Participate fully in the Quality program of the network by following physician-directed protocols to improve quality, expand patient access and reduce cost.
      • Contribute your practice’s pre-adjudicated claims data.
      • Pay annual membership dues, which were determined through a fair market value assessment of the services the network provides to practices. Enrollment as a Founding Member in the network is open until June 30, 2015, with dues at $200 per physician. Enrollment will not open again until a later date at which time dues will be higher.

      Membership requirements and information about dues are detailed in the Membership and Participation Agreement (available upon request by emailing

  • How long will it take to become clinically integrated so the network can negotiate and sign contracts on behalf of its members?

      We estimate this process will take approximately eighteen months. 

  • What happens to a member’s contracts if the practice is unable to meet the performance standards required by the network?

      Members will be given reports and information about their performance so they can make improvements. In the event that a member fails to comply with network standards, the network will address such non-compliance through a process of collegial consultation and remediation. If sufficient improvements are not made, the member may be placed on probation or terminated from the network. The practice will be given sufficient notice during the remediation process to prepare to transition out of the network contracts and assume its own contract negotiations.  

  • Can practices join at any time or is there a point after which you can no longer sign up?

      A practice or physician may sign up for The Children’s Care Network at any time until enrollment ends on June 30, 2015.  Physicians enrolled by June 30, 2015, will receive Founding Member designation. Enrollment will not open again until a later date at which time dues will be higher.

  • How long is the initial membership term?

      The initial membership term is one year, with annual auto-renewal of membership.  

  • What if I decide soon after I sign up that I cannot participate in the network?

      Members have the ability to terminate without cause upon a 90-day notice.

  • Can I join more than one clinically integrated network?

      In general, The Children’s Care Network is not exclusive. However, if a physician’s primary practice is internal medicine, general practice, primary care, or family medicine, the physician will not be able to contract through other clinically integrated or accountable care-type organizations with payors who also are contracting with The Children’s Care Network.     

  • Can I join the network if my practice doesn’t refer all of its patients to Children’s?

      Yes. Clinical integration means that everyone is working toward the same goal of improving patient outcomes and reducing costs. While referral within the network is strongly encouraged, it is not mandatory. In fact, the adoption of protocols to improve common chronic conditions like diabetes and asthma can help kids avoid unnecessary hospital and specialist visits.


    The Children’s Care Network is a taxable, nonprofit subsidiary of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. It is governed by a physician-led board of directors, composed of independent community doctors dedicated to advancing pediatrics in our state.

    Robert Wiskind 

    Robert Wiskind, M.D.
    Robert Wiskind, M.D., former President of the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, will serve as 2014–2016 board chair of The Children’s Care Network. Dr. Wiskind has been a physician at Atlanta’s Peachtree Park Pediatrics, LLP for more than 20 years. Other physicians joining Dr. Wiskind as board members of The Children’s Care Network are listed below. 




    Private Practice/Pediatrician

    • Roy Benaroch, M.D.
    • Helena Bentley, M.D.
    • Angela Hall, M.D.
    • Norman “Chip” Harbaugh Jr., M.D.
    • Robert Licata, M.D.
    • Anu Sheth, M.D.
    • Melinda Willingham, M.D.
    • Robert Wiskind, M.D. (Board Chair)

    Private Practice/Specialist/Medical         

    • Lonnie King, M.D.
    • Billy Meyers, M.D.

    Private Practice/Specialist/Surgical

    • Michael Busch, M.D. (Vice Chair)
    • Hal Scherz, M.D. 

    Employed by a System/Pediatrician
    (Children’s or other organization)

    • Gary Frank, M.D.
    • Vivian Lennon, M.D.
    • Yasmin Tyler-Hill, M.D.




    Employed by a System/Specialist
    (Children’s or other organization)

    • Robert Campbell, M.D.
    • Jim Fortenberry, M.D.
    • Lucky Jain, M.D.
    • Mark Wulkan, M.D.

    Children’s Representatives

    • Patrick Frias, M.D.
    • Donna Hyland
    • Daniel Salinas, M.D.


    • Karen DeGood, M.B.A., Executive Director
    • Burt Lesnick, M.D., Medical Director
    • Brad Weselman, M.D., Medical Director
      for Quality Programs

    Contact Network adminstration by emailing or calling 404-785-7935.