HHS issues recommendations for improving the care of children and young people with special health care

An updated national framework recommends systematic improvements in access, equity, quality of life and finances for nearly 1 in 5 children in the United States

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), published The change plan: National framework for a system of services for children and young people with special health care through a special supplement in the magazine, Pediatrics. IN Change plan is a national framework for improving care for nearly 1 in 5 children in the United States who currently have special health needs.

“Every child deserves the care and support they need to stay healthy and thrive,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Besera. “The Biden-Harris administration is committed to promoting the health and well-being of our nation’s children and their families, including children with special health needs. With this Change planwe provide guidelines for improving care systems so that children with special health needs can thrive physically, emotionally and socially. ”

One in four families in the United States has at least one child with special health care. These children have or are at increased risk of chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional conditions. There are about 14 million children across the country who need specialized care and services. Currently, only about 15 percent of this population has access to optimal support, including early and continuous patient-centered screening and ongoing care with consecutive providers who communicate with each other, adequate insurance coverage, access to community services and support for the transition to life. of adults.

According to the National Child Health Survey of HRSA, special health care needs are most common among black non-Hispanic children, with almost 1 in 4 in need of special health care compared to about 1 in 5 non-Hispanic white children. and about 1 in 6 Spanish children. Children with special health needs are more likely to live in poverty. In addition, less than two thirds of families have adequate insurance to cover their health care and related costs.

“Children with special health needs deserve fair access to care that is coordinated, comprehensive and geared to children and families,” said HRSA Administrator Carol Johnson. “With the launch of this plan, we are setting a course on how to ensure that families receive the services and support they need.”

The HRSA Maternal and Child Health Bureau has been developed IN Change plan in collaboration with families of children and youth with special health needs, health professionals, public health managers, researchers, academic institutions and other federal partners.

To positively transform the care for children and young people with special health needs, The plan for change is organized around four critical areas: health justice, family and child well-being and quality of life, access to services and funding for services. The plan provides a definition, an overall vision, key principles and strategies for action in each area and recognizes that disability is a natural part of the human experience.

Some of the guiding principles include ensuring that:

  • All services and support for children and young people with special health needs (CYSHCN) are designed and implemented to reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes for all CYSHCN.
  • All CYSHCN services and support at the individual, family, community and provider level are easy for families and professionals to know when, where and how they need them.
  • Service sectors increase the ability of CYSHCN and their families to access services by tackling administrative and other processes that impede access.
  • Health care and other related services for CYSHCN and families are funded and paid for in ways that best support their needs.

Learn more about the new HRSA Change plan.

Learn more about what the HRSA Maternal and Child Health Office is doing to support children and young people with special health needs.

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