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Grants Promote Coordinated Care for Children with Special Health Care Needs

PALO ALTO – Ask parents of a child with a special health care need what causes them the most stress, and you’ll often hear the same answer: the time and energy it takes to coordinate all the services their child needs, and the fact that care providers rarely communicate with each other.

Children with special health care needs and their families require frequent services from physicians and therapists, school personnel, agency case managers, day care and after school programs, insurance providers, and many others. Yet each system operates independently, and parents are left to bridge the gaps.

To address this issue, the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health has awarded five grants aimed at developing policies and programs that will improve communication and coordination among care providers.

“Our health care system in California ranks near the bottom among states at providing effective services for children with special health care needs,” said Edward L. Schor, MD, senior vice president at the foundation, who directs the grants program. “Care coordination is one of the key areas in which our state lags. These grants are designed to help service providers meet the needs of families in a coherent and integrated way.”

The grants will support on-the-ground projects around California, as well as research on the processes and policies needed to achieve the most effective care coordination, Schor said.

Two of the grants will expand eligibility for programs in Fresno and Kern counties that already bring together multiple agencies to develop coordinated care plans for children and their families. A third grant will bring the Kern and Fresno projects together with four other communities interested in building or improving local care coordination systems.

The other two grants will focus on research. One will support analysis of current California policies and programs related to care coordination, with the goal of identifying policy options to improve care. The second will fund a project to develop national consensus on hospital discharge planning standards for children with special health care needs. Currently there are no widely accepted standards for coordinating care when a child returns home.

The grants are part of the foundation’s ongoing work to support development of a more effective and cost efficient health care system for children with special needs and their families.

In addition to its grants program, the foundation also manages the California Advocacy Network for Children with Special Health Care Needs, which brings together parents, health care providers, policymakers and others interested in working jointly to improve the health care system.

A full list of the grants is available here>>

About the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health: The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health works in alignment with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and the child health programs of Stanford University. The mission of the Foundation is to elevate the priority of children’s health, and to increase the quality and accessibility of children’s health care through leadership and direct investment. The Foundation is a public charity, founded in 1997.