The Capacity of Primary Care Pediatricians to Care for Children With Special Health Care Needs

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To measure the willingness and ability of primary care pediatricians (PCPs) to accept children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) into their practices.


Surveys were mailed to 1441 members of the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics practicing primary care.


In all, 376 physicians were eligible for analyses. When asked if they would accept additional CYSHCN, 6% selected “yes,” 34% selected “yes, with supports,” and 60% selected “no.” PCPs closer to residency or with intermediate numbers of CYSHCN in their practices were more willing to add additional CYSHCN. PCPs preparedness to care for various conditions ranged from 96% for asthma to 53% for spina bifida. Familiarity with programs ranged from 89% for Early Intervention to 4% to 22% for the state's waiver programs.


Most PCPs did not want additional CYSHCN in their practices. Variation exists in PCP preparation to care for varying conditions and in familiarity with supportive programs.

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