Primary care clinics are designed to provide the initial entry point into the health care system for all but very uncommon conditions, and these clinics serve as the principal place where individuals are seen by their physician. Primary care is a challenge for many children with special health care needs, as general pediatricians may not be equipped to, or interested in, handling the complicated nature of their health needs.
As a result, primary care clinics focused on caring for children with complex needs are popping up around the country. There currently are 11 such clinics in California alone. Representatives of these clinics convened for the first time on Feb. 28 at the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health. Topics of discussion included the similarities and differences in clinic structure, workflow, children served and financial models. The group shared challenges and barriers and brainstormed about the future of complex care in California. Next steps for the group include engaging in a joint quality improvement project. A forthcoming issue brief from the Foundation will provide details about complex care clinics in California and offer policy recommendations.
Also, in 2013 the Foundation made a grant to the Baylor School of Medicine to provide a mechanism to facilitate networking and communication among pediatricians caring for CSHCN in complex care clinics. Results of that grant are expected later this year.