A medical home for children is not a house, a building or a home health care service. A medical home is a relationship with your child’s medical team. Even if your child’s doctor doesn’t follow a full medical home model, you can learn more and ask about using the idea of a medical home to work better with your child’s doctors.
In a medical home, one central contact coordinates care for your child with a disability or special health care needs. This central contact could be your child’s doctor or a team that includes your child’s doctor, nurses, physician assistants or other support staff. Different offices will work differently. But the goal is that everyone is on the same page and has your child and family’s best interests in mind. You are a key member of this team and you’ll be glad to know that it covers much more than health care needs.
The medical home team works with your child and family to ensure all medical and non-medical needs are met. This includes educational services, family support and out-of-home care. If you have other children who need emotional support, like a sibling who could use a support group, ask your medical home for a referral. Most medical homes can put you in touch with social workers or other community organizations that can help connect you to what you need.
The American Academy of Pediatrics believes every child deserves a medical home and that a child’s medical home should be:
Texas Parent to Parent has a medical home checklist that shows what to expect in a doctor’s office using a true medical home model.
You and your family are at the center of the medical home model. Here are some reasons you might want to look for a medical home for your child, whether that means finding one or asking your child’s doctor to be a stronger partner:
Even with all the benefits, there are not too many doctors that are true medical homes. But it can’t hurt to talk to your child’s doctor and ask how they might build a medical home or use some of its ideas.
Some family practice doctors or pediatricians might not be familiar with the medical home model of care. They might not know the benefits of a medical home or that they can be reimbursed (paid) for some of the expenses of creating a medical home practice.
There are some websites below where you can learn more about medical homes. For example, Texas Parent to Parent has a medical home checklist that can help start a conversation with a doctor. You can also visit our How to Talk to Your Doctor page for general tips. Or see the video on medical homes at the top of this page.