Children with disabilities have varying levels of medical needs. As a parent, you rely upon doctors, therapists and more to provide life-saving and sustaining care for your child.
But you also know that you are the first line of care for your child. You never forget that it is your responsibility to make sure your child receives the best, most appropriate care. Doctors see hundreds of patients and cannot be expected to know everything about your child. We must each be a proactive partner in the medical care of our children.
Have you considered a Medical Home for your child? Never heard of one? OK – a Medical Home is not an actual “building.” It is a model of care delivery that your family should already be receiving. It is the end result of parents and health care professionals acting as partners. You both want the same thing, right? Healthy children and families, for sure!
So, how do you find the “just right” doctor for your child?
Who knows our children better than we do? That’s right – no one! A medical home is family-centered. That means that parents are recognized as the experts on their children and as knowledgeable and effective partners in their care. Families and youth play a central role in care coordination and share responsibility in decision-making. In a medical home, all insurance, including Medicaid, is accepted. The same primary pediatric health care professionals are available from infancy through adolescence and young adulthood. A Medical Home coordinates care among multiple providers. The feelings and perspectives, beliefs, rituals and customs of the family are recognized, valued, respected and incorporated into the care plan by the Medical Home. A Medical Home is all of this and more.
I’ll bet you want a Medical Home for your child now, don’t you? Here are a few ideas on how to get started:
Take a look at the Texas Medical Home Toolkit for a detailed explanation of what a Medical Home is and how to get one. Ask friends if they can recommend a doctor that meets your child’s needs. Are you on any of the Texas Parent to Parent listservs for parents? The listservs provide an opportunity to share helpful recommendations of other parents when looking for the “just right” doctor for your child. If you’re not, it’s easy to join. The American Academy of Pediatrics Pediatrician Referral Service is another option and is intended for use by the general public. Call the offices that look like good possibilities to you. Make an appointment with the ones that you’re most interested in for your child.
Use the Medical Home Checklist (from the Texas Medical Home Toolkit) as a prompt for questions to ask the doctor and staff at the appointment. Need more? Check out the What is a Medical Home page on this website for additional resources. Our How to Talk to Your Doctor page on this website can also be quite helpful.
A Medical Home can make a huge difference in the life of your child and family and help you to choose the “just right” healthcare provider. Get started on your search today!