When care is well coordinated, children and their families can easily access health care and community services to ensure optimal health and development. Effective care coordination increases the likelihood that families will follow up with specialists and early intervention services when needed. Care coordination also helps families avoid duplication and unnecessary visits, which increase health care costs. Knowing this, many health care and community service providers are striving to coordinate care for the children and families they serve.
Unfortunately, an unintended side effect of efforts to coordinate care is that many families are working with multiple care coordinators across several systems. One child may have three or four care coordinators from a variety of service systems, such as: primary care, early intervention, safe housing, and medical subspecialty. The end result can be that a family’s service plan is not synchronized, leaving them confused and overwhelmed by all of the rules, regulations, and processes that are part of each system’s services.
The Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut (CHDI) and the Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health partnered to find a solution. The model we developed, the Care Coordination Collaborative Model, coordinates the care coordinators at the regional level so families can access a seamless set of services that meets their child’s individual needs.
Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health is currently expanding this successful model statewide with funding from the state Department of Public Health. They are supporting five regional Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs care coordination centers as well as disseminating the model in states that are part of the Help Me Grow® affiliate network. CHDI will evaluate the effectiveness of Connecticut’s model in ensuring that children and families receive all of the services they need.
Children live, grow and learn in a variety of settings, and their services need to be coordinated across all of them, keeping their families at the center of all care. What began as an idea for how to improve access to health and community services for children is now embedded in Connecticut’s service system. Families in Connecticut can access care coordination services through their child health providers or by calling Child Development Infoline at 2-1-1 or (860) 505-7000.
Read CHDI’s latest Issue Brief, “Care Coordination for Children: An Important Part of State Health Reform Efforts.” Also, learn more about the Community Care Coordination Collaboratives at www.chdi.org or www.connecticutchildrens.org.
Lisa Honigfeld, PhD is the Associate Director of the Office for Community Child Health at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and the Vice President for Health Initiatives at the Child Health and Development Institute (CHDI). Learn more »