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Families of children with special health care needs are painfully acquainted with the frequent difficulty of gaining access to specialty care, especially in rural areas. One emerging solution is the use of telehealth technology to allow for remote appointments. Though telehealth has proven to be an effective tool, California health care providers and families are not taking full advantage of its possibilities.

A new report highlights telehealth successes for children with special needs, the barriers to its use, and possible policy solutions. The authors suggests providing comprehensive telehealth information to providers; educating families on its use; expanding billing codes and the locations and modalities that can be billed; convening a stakeholder group to identify policy barriers and solutions; and implementing pilot programs for children served by the California Children’s Services program.

The report was prepared by The Children’s Partnership, the University of California-Davis Children’s Hospital, and the Center for Connected Health Policy, with support from the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health.