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Ensuring that Children with Special Health Care Needs Have Access to Needed Medicaid Services

Organization: Manatt Health Solutions

Primary Contact: Cindy Mann

Grant Amount: $50,000 for 6 months

Date Awarded:

Date Completed:


Nearly half of children with special health care needs, including children whose health care is complicated by the presence of poverty and related stressors, receive health insurance through state Medicaid programs.  In theory, all these children should be receiving appropriate, adequate and equitable services, but in practice they do not.  State Medicaid programs differ in many regards including eligibility, benefits, access and quality.  This project will study state Medicaid programs to identify policies and practices that give rise to variations in services.  It will identify levers that states have and can use to improve how children with chronic and complex health care needs are served, and will recommend practical strategies that states can adopt.


This project reviewed state Medicaid programs and identified policies and practices that lead to significant variation in services provided to children with special health care needs across the country. The project identified examples of best practices that states have used to improve how children with chronic and complex health care needs are served, and provided eight practical recommendations that states can adopt to ensure access to services for this vulnerable population of children. An issue brief, as well as an executive summary, of the work were developed and a corresponding webinar was conducted.  

Related Resources

Medicaid services for children with special health care needs (CSHCN) are provided inconsistently across the country, often with negative outcomes for children and families. This new report from Manatt Health highlights eight strategies that state Medicaid agencies can implement to improve access to services and health care for CSHCN covered by Medicaid.