Accessing Care for Children With Special Health Care Needs

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Clinicians in independent practice must diligently reposition themselves to be responsive to the ever changing health care environment. Despite the mandates arising from the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the health care system has not been reactive to the unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children with special health care needs (CSHCN) who require health and related services beyond that of typical children. Families of CSHCN often experience difficulty accessing needed care and support, especially critical mental health services. Many health care providers are unaware that when services are not accessible through traditional avenues, existing resources available through the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicaid, Social Security, or health insurance plans meeting Affordable Care Act requirements may fill the gaps. A common vision, goals and plan of care is necessary to prevent fragmented care. Clinicians should strive to identify their potential roles and responsibilities within models stressing interdisciplinary health care teams, alternative locations and means of accessing care, and eligibility for services.

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