Dear Network Member,

When we surveyed our members in the Fall about Network priorities, care coordination emerged as the top issue for action. So I'm pleased to let you know that among eight grants approved by the Foundation's board of directors last week, five grants focus on care coordination.

These new grants will support on-the-ground projects around the state, as well as research to define the structures, processes and policies that need to be in place to achieve the most effective care coordination. Two of the grants were awarded to Network members and a third will support a learning collaborative in which other Network members, communities, agencies and service providers may apply to participate.

The grants awarded to Network members will help expand existing care coordination programs, allowing them to include more children, increase eligibility, and replicate service models in additional communities:

  • Kern County First 5 currently operates a program that brings together multiple agencies to coordinate care for young children at risk for special health care needs. Their grant will enable them to evaluate the existing program and replicate it in at least three California counties.
  • In Fresno County, Exceptional Parents Unlimited manages a multi-agency care coordination program for young children. They will use grant funds to add a team to coordinate care for medically fragile children.

A third grant is designed to help create the California Community Care Coordination Collaborative, a learning collaborative that will bring together the Kern and Fresno County projects with four other communities interested in building or improving local care coordination systems. A Request for Proposals to participate in the collaborative will be released by the Foundation on December 1 with proposals due February 1, 2013.

In another California-focused grant, Health Management Associates will review current state policies and programs related to care coordination, with the goal of identifying the best models and developing policy options that will support improvements in coordination of care for children with special health care needs.

A significant issue in care coordination is care planning when a child or youth is discharged from the hospital. Currently, there are no standards for the content or processes of discharge or transition planning. A grant to investigators at Boston Children's Hospital, working in conjunction with the Children's Hospital Association, will support research to develop national consensus on discharge planning standards.

Information on these and other grants awarded by the Foundation can be found here. Beyond grantmaking, the Foundation continues to advocate for policies to improve the system of care for children with special health care needs. In August, we submitted comments to the California Health Insurance Benefit Exchange Board (Covered California) pointing out the need to ensure access to pediatric specialty care for children with special health care needs who may participate in the Exchange programs beginning in 2014.

You no doubt are aware that California is planning in January to begin the transition of 860,000 children from Healthy Families to Medi-Cal. While families of children with special health care needs in Healthy Families may appreciate the broader Medi-Cal benefit package, they may struggle to find pediatric primary care and specialty care providers willing to accept the lower Medi-Cal reimbursement rates.

Recently, the Foundation commented on a flyer developed by the state to notify families about the transition. We included a request for a state plan specifically addressing children with special health care needs and the future of specialty care in Medi-Cal. We also noted that the plan should address potential pitfalls such as continuity of care, the burden on specialists who participate in Medi-Cal, and any emerging transportation issues for families. Network members may be asked to participate in efforts to support the state in identifying solutions for families and providers. In support of this request, the Foundation awarded a grant to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research to develop a report on pediatric specialty care access in California.

I hope that some of you will be interested in submitting proposals to participate in the new California Community Care Coordination Collaborative. Please be in touch with me with any questions.

Sincerely,

Janis Connallon
Manager, California Advocacy Network
for Children with Special Health Care Needs

Lucile Packard Foundation For Children's Health
400 Hamilton Avenue, Suite 340
Palo Alto, CA 94301

Phone: 650-498-7820

E-mail: Janis.Connallon@lpfch.org
Join the Network!:  http://www.lpfch.org/cshcn/advocacy/join-advocacy-network