Over nine million American children – 12.8 percent of kids – have special health care needs. They face a wide range of conditions, including congenital anomalies, severe physical disabilities, severe asthma, complex organ system diseases (e.g. cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia), major depression, and the devastating effects of physical and sexual abuse.

Medicaid health plans serve a large portion of children with special health care needs. With support from the Center for Health Care Strategies, eleven Medicaid health plans and a primary care case management (PCCM) program collaborated over two years to develop, pilot, and refine best practice models for serving this population. The result is an excellent new toolkit on clinical and administrative best practices.

The toolkit includes specific advice on how to identify children and their needs, create comprehensive medical homes, help parents navigate the delivery system, improve preventive services, establish enhanced care management systems, and ensure coordination among specialists.

It also includes informative case studies of innovations by Health Net of California, Lovelace Community Health Plan in New Mexico, Partnership HealthPlan of California, and Access II Care, a provider-led PCCM program in North Carolina.