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Comments Welcome: Key Components of a System of Care for Children with Special Health Care Needs
Stakeholder meetings about the future of California Children's Services are coming up soon. If you have opinions about how the program should operate, take a look at a new paper from the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health. A System for Publicly Financed Care of CSHCN in California outlines the key issues and decisions that might arise as the system is developed. Discussion (and disagreement) is welcome. The Foundation will include the paper in its stakeholder comments to the state. Read the paper and add your thoughts on our blog page, or send your ideas directly to
CCS Stakeholders Developing Model to Propose to State
A “New Model” subcommittee of the ongoing CCS Stakeholders Group will meet October 3 to continue development of a regional model that would more effectively provide care coordination to CCS clients. The meeting, which will be in Oakland from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., is open to the public, but an RSVP is requested. To attend, or to receive more information about this group, contact You also may participate through a call-in number, (888) 675-2535, access code 3620086.
Department of Health Care Services Director to Step Down
Toby Douglas, director of the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) for the past four years, will leave the department at the end of the year. His departure, after nine years with DHCS, was announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley. DHCS oversees California Children’s Services and Medi-Cal. See Dooley's letter (PDF) and read more.



Medi-Cal Children's Health Advisory Panel Signed Into Law
Advocates who argued that children's issues need specific representation in the state's health care service delivery system won a victory September 17 with Gov. Brown's signature (PDF) on AB 357 (Pan). The bill confirms the Medi-Cal Children's Health Advisory Panel as a successor to the Healthy Families Advisory Board, which was dissolved when children in the Healthy Families program were transferred to Medi-Cal. The panel will be composed of enrollee representatives, providers, and other experts. AB 357 was opposed by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), whose officials argued that an adequate number of Medi-Cal advisory panels already exist. Advocates countered that children's issues differ significantly from those of adults. In signing the bill, Brown noted that a complete review of the DHCS stakeholder advisory process is under way, and that further changes in children's representation are possible once that process is complete. The next meeting of the Advisory Panel for Medi-Cal Families is October 22 in Sacramento. Details can be found here. DHCS also is conducting a stakeholder survey, which can be completed here. Read more.

EpiPens Will Be Required in Schools
A controversial bill that will mandate California schools to stock epinephrine injectors so that trained personnel can administer care to students experiencing allergic reactions was signed into law by Governor Brown on September 15. The requirement will go into effect next year. Read more.

Deadline Approaching for Comment on Autism Therapy Coverage
September 29 is the deadline for comment on the State's draft plan for providing Behavioral Health Treatment as a covered Medi-Cal service for individuals under 21 with autism spectrum disorder. Coverage began September 15, but many issues remain to be clarified. Read more.

Advocates Seek Support for Dental Bill
Governor Brown has not yet made a decision on AB 1174, which would support a pilot project, the Virtual Dental Home, in which dental hygienists and assistants collect dental information from low-income patients, including children, and send it electronically to a supervising dentist who creates a treatment plan for the hygienist or assistant to carry out. Advocates are soliciting letters to the Governor. Read more and see a sample advocacy letter.



Applying SMART Care Coordination in the Central Valley
Sometimes, all a family needs is a phone call on their behalf. Sometimes, an entire health care system needs to change. Amy Breedlove steadily navigates the space between those two extremes as she coordinates care for children with special health care needs in California's Central Valley, where many of the families she serves live in rural isolation and poverty. Learn more about her work.
Stories Sought on Children Who Received Health Care through Telehealth
The Children's Partnership would like to interview families of children with special health care needs who have experience with telehealth/telemedicine. With a grant from the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health, the Partnership is working with the Center for Connected Health Policy and UC Davis to examine how telehealth can be used to improve care for children with special health care needs. Families willing to share their story should contact Jacob Vigil at, or (310) 260-1220.

Also: A Conversation about Telehealth and Children with Special Health Care Needs
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
12 p.m. to 1 p.m. PDT
Hosted by Family Voices
The Children's Partnership; Center for Connected Health Policy; UC Davis Children's Hospital
Speakers will discuss the definition of telehealth, how it can be used to improve care for children with special health care needs, and how advocates can help promote its wider adoption. Learn more and register.



Renewal of Children's Health Program under Debate
Federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides coverage for children in families who earn too much to qualify for Medi-Cal, expires in September 2015. Bills have been introduced to extend the program through 2019, but opponents say that these children now can be covered under the Affordable Care Act. Advocates, however, warn that some children will not qualify and that family out-of-pocket expenses may increase. In California, CHIP funding supports Medi-Cal. Read more.



Health Coverage Options for Children with Special Health Care Needs: What Happens When They Age Out of Children's Plans? (PDF)
Exceptional Parent Magazine

Care Coordination under the Medicaid Benefit for Children and Adolescents [EPSDT]
An archived webinar from the National Academy of State Health Policy

Action Steps for Consumers and Advocates Regarding the New Home Care Rule: How to Prevent Service Cuts and Protect Consumer-Directed Programs (PDF)
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law



Surprising Finding in Analysis of Trends in Childhood Disability, 2001–2011
The prevalence of parent-reported childhood disability continues to rise, particularly reports of mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions, according to a new article in Pediatrics. In an unexpected finding, children from high-income homes experienced the largest reported increase in prevalence over the 10 years between 2001-2011. Read more.



How Toxic Stress Impacts California's Children, Families and Communities
Thursday, October 9, 2014
11 a.m. to 12 p.m. PDT
Children Now
Speakers from the Center for Youth Wellness and Californians for Safety and Justice will discuss how toxic stress affects children, families and communities, with a particular emphasis on health care, public health and safety. Read more and register.



Comprehensive Pediatric Palliative Care: An Interdisciplinary Approach
For Professionals
Tuesday, October 14, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland
CME/CEU available. See flyer (PDF).
For more information or to register, contact Kristel Taukave at 510-428-3232 or



California Reverses Course on Pediatric Dental Coverage
Covering Health, 9/10/14



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