By Stephanie Birch, RNC, MPH, MS, FNP
One of the core functions of maternal and child health (MCH) and children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) programs is to work with partners and families to develop or enhance systems of care. MCH and CYSHCN staff members are the ideal personnel to lead this effort due to their close working relationships with families and consumers of health care. Systems development that includes coordinated care was initially advocated for by parents of children with special health care needs and more recently has extended into other populations and policies, including the most recent federal legislation under the Affordable Care Act.
Systems of care are now a part of preventative health care, as well as care for all populations especially focused on those with chronic health care issues. Many large health care systems such as Kaiser and United Health Group have demonstrated that care developed in a systems focused manner reduces cost and error rates. Patient satisfaction is increased substantially when care is coordinated and systems focused as well. This issues of Pulse shares what states are doing to support this work across agencies and programs. We hope that you will pick up new ideas and apply them to programs you work in.