Families, Physicians, and Children with Special Health Needs: Collaborative Medical Education Models

Families, Physicians, and Children with Special Health Needs: Collaborative Medical Education Models

Families, Physicians, and Children with Special Health Needs: Collaborative Medical Education Models

Families, Physicians, and Children with Special Health Needs: Collaborative Medical Education Models

Synopsis

Families of children with special health needs frequently cite difficulties in their communications with physicians and other medical professionals. Indeed, parents of high-risk, chronically ill, and disabled infants often regard interactions with health care providers as one of the most stressful parts of their early experiences with their children. This volume was designed to present a variety of medical education approaches used to overcome this problem. The models and viewpoints represented include those of physicians, early intervention professionals, professionals with backgrounds in education, psychology, and sociology, and parents.

Excerpt

Merle McPherson and Bonnie Strickland

As we draw closer to a national health care program for all Americans, many issues have emerged that are related to the care of children with special health care needs-and to their caretaking families. Such issues emphasize the many common needs of all children and families, as well as the unique needs of specific populations including children with a variety of actual and potentially diabling conditions such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, asthma, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, emotional disorders, hemophilia, genetic disorders, and health-related educational and behavioral problems. Increased numbers of currently uninsured or uninsurable children (e.g., those with "preexisting condition" exclusions) will be covered. Portability of health coverage will allow families choices in jobs without fear of lost insurance coverage. Primary care providers will gain increased responsibility through managed care referrals, review arrangements (gatekeeper), and reimbursement incentives. Specialty providers will benefit from alliances with primary care providers. Families, however, may face gaps in covered benefits for children with significant special health care needs, and access to the highest cost specialty services may be restricted in capitated systems. Learning to work together with a wide range of providers, both at the community level and in tertiary centers, will be critical in overcoming these barriers. Medical education programs must play a critical role in assuring that physicians have the needed skills and knowledge to practice in the new system.

As availability of care becomes a reality, we must also insure that accessibility and quality of that care. While health care reform has many . . .

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