Linking Medical Home and Children’s Mental Health: Listening to Massachusetts Families

6/2012

Mental health care is important to families. Pediatricians agree. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has made improving the mental health of children one of its top strategic priorities.1
Accessing mental health care and coordinating it with a child’s medical care can provide challenges. Insurance coverage can be less certain than coverage for medical care. Information can be hard to locate and sift through. Schools are often uninformed about mental health challenges and can blame parents for a child’s unwanted behaviors.

On top of all this, the burden of coordinating care and information usually falls on already stressed parents. Medical home is a model with the goal of addressing and integrating quality health care promotion, acute care and disease management in a planned, coordinated, comprehensive and patient or family-­‐ centered manner. This approach holds great promise to coordinate care between physical and mental health. “The family is at the center of the medical home, and they are not well served by the fragmentation of having two homes. We have got to collaborate in such a way to provide for the needs in one home,” states Jane M. Foy, MD, chair of the AAP Task ForceonMentalHealthandamemberof its Mental Health Leadership Workgroup.1

The Central Mass Medical Home Network Initiative (CMMHNI) was a four year project funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). CMMHNI’s project activities focused on ways to improve comprehensive, coordinated, continuous care for children and youth with special health care needs in a group of interested primary care pediatric practices (medical homes). One of its major activities centered on building and strengthening connections between medical homes and community-­‐based organizations. During the fifth year, the project was awarded additional funding to work with Parent/ Professional Advocacy League (PPAL).

Source: Parent Professional Advocacy League

Available at: http://ppal.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Medical-Home-Report.pdf

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