Care coordination for children with special health care needs: Evaluation of a state experiment

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Article, Peer-reviewed

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Care coordination (CC), a component of the medical home, may aid families who have children with special health care needs (CSHCN). Few data link CC to individual patient outcomes. To compare parent-reported outcomes for CSHCN receiving practice-based care coordination with those receiving standard care. This cross-sectional study examined two groups of CSHCN: one that received the services of a care coordinator for a year and one that did not. Parental surveys assessed: access to medical care, practice help and support, satisfaction with services, and parental mental and physical health. Associations between group status and parent-reported outcomes were assessed via regression analyses controlling for sociodemographic and health status variables. We also examined whether CC households who reported higher satisfaction with care had higher scores in the four domains. Parents in the care coordination group reported higher utilization of both primary care and specialist physicians, but did not report better practice help and support, better satisfaction with care, or better overall parental health. Parents in the care coordination group who reported being satisfied with their care rated their PCPs as more helpful than did the comparison families. Parents in this subgroup also reported significantly higher levels of care coordination than did parents in the comparison group. CSHCN appear to have higher PCP and specialist utilization when they receive supplemental care coordination. Additionally, those who are more satisfied with the care coordination they receive are happier with the assistance from their PCP and the overall care coordination provided.