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Network Member: Janice Milligan, Health Net
Janice Milligan once had to sell her car to pay for a wheelchair for her adopted daughter, who had spina bifida. She had just moved to California and didn’t know that she potentially could qualify for California Children’s Services (CCS) and aid from the state’s system of regional centers for people with disabilities. That was two decades ago. Today, Milligan is director of strategy and development at Health Net of California. Read more.

National Family Caregivers Month: One Mother Speaks
In recognition of National Family Caregivers Month, one Network member writes about how her role as mom and caregiver for a child with special health care needs automatically qualified her as chauffeur, case manager, care coordinator and advocate.

Directory of Specialist Providers in the Works
The Autism Health Insurance Project is assembling a directory of specialist providers who accept Medi-Cal and have expertise in developmental disabilities. They are looking for names of speech and occupational therapists, mental health providers, developmental specialists, etc., for a statewide directory that they will make publicly available. Submit information to Network member Karen Fessel at


Healthy Families Transition Continues – Stakeholder Webinar Set for Nov. 13
As part of its plan to move all children from the Healthy Families Program to Medi-Cal managed care, the state implemented the transition in 20 rural counties on Nov. 1, affecting about 27,000 children, including children with special health care needs. This change coincided with the transition of all Medi-Cal recipients in these counties from a fee-for-service program to the Medi-Cal Managed Care program. The same transition was implemented on Sept. 1 in eight northern counties. The Department of Health Care Services has scheduled a stakeholder webinar about the Healthy Families transition for Nov. 13 to report on progress, solicit comments and answer questions. See registration information below under Webinars. Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata) commented on the transition at a recent oversight hearing, as noted in California Healthline.  


Report Tracks Federal Progress in Serving People with Disabilities
A just-released 2013 progress report from the National Council on Disability assesses the status of federal laws and programs serving Americans with disabilities and their families. The Council is an independent federal agency. Its report offers 31 recommendations for policies that could assist individuals with disabilities in reaching the goal of full integration and participation in all aspects of life.


Almost one quarter (24.2%) of California children with special health care needs have conditions that cause financial problems for their families, according to a 2009-2010 survey of parents. See the data.


Bullying and Children with Special Health Care Needs
The U.S. government website offers a fact sheet on children with disabilities and special needs, including advice on how to create a safe environment and information about federal laws. A related post offers advice on how to use an Individualized Education Program (IEP) to protect a child against bullying.

Palliative Care Recommendations Developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics
An article in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care describes a hospital-based, family-centered Continuity of Care program for children with special health care needs. The program includes inpatients and outpatients from multiple services and outreach clinics. Evaluations indicate improved outcomes, including decreased length of hospital stay, decreased cost, and high family satisfaction. Read the abstract.   


NACHRI Offers Proposal to Optimize Health Care for Children with Medical Complexity
The National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI) in October released a proposal suggesting development of a national framework of care for children with medical complexity and their families. The framework would support “care coordination that is financially viable, that states can opt-into, and that will result in better care for these children.” Based on previous pilot projects and other initiatives, the proposal suggests that both federal and state Medicaid spending would be decreased through improved care coordination. NACHRI urges advocates to support its proposal. Read the details.




The California Endowment Innovative Ideas Challenge Grants
Grants are available to implement the most compelling new ideas addressing health issues in California. This opportunity is intended for organizations from communities that are not funded under the Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities plan. Applications accepted year-round with reviews occurring December 1, May 1 and September 1.


Healthy Families Program Transition Stakeholder Webinar
November 13, 2013
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time
California Department of Health Care Services

A report on the progress of the Healthy Families Program transition to Medi-Cal, and a forum to solicit stakeholder input and answer questions. Register.

Genetic Red Flags in Well-Checks: What Every Primary Care Provider Should Know
November 14, 2013
9 a.m. – 10 a.m. Pacific Time
Genetics in Primary Care Institute

An in-depth view on the identification of clinical findings that are suggestive of a possible genetic condition, and discussion of strategies to communicate with patients and families. Register.

Children’s Behavioral Health Care Use in Medicaid: Implications for States
November 20, 2013
10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time
The Center for Health Care Strategies

Findings from a national analysis of behavioral health service use and expense for children in Medicaid in all 50 states. Speakers will discuss how the findings can inform state quality improvement efforts and policy reforms.  See details and register.


Why Teens with Chronic Illness Might Skip Their Meds
A recent review published in the Journal of Adolescent Health notes that parents and caregivers may not always be aware of the reasons adolescents do not comply with their prescribed medications. Some reasons are specific to teens, and may include a desire to feel normal, concern about peer opinion, and conflicts at home. The authors suggest that it is essential for adolescents to be included in decisions about their treatment. Read the abstract.


As the Affordable Care Act goes in to effect, numerous organizations are offering information and guides:
Let us know what's happening with your organization or family. E-mail Network Manager Janis Connallon at with your news or updates. Newsletter Editor: Eileen Walsh