Managed care and children with special health care needs.J Pediatr Health Care. 2001 Jan-Feb; 15(1):3-9.JP
Providing care to children with special health care needs within a managed care environment presents special challenges for providers and parents alike. The goal of managed care is to contain costs by encouraging or requiring members to obtain services through a designated network. In managed care programs, children and families may experience limited access to specialized care and services, along with decreased fragmentation inherent in fee-for-service care. For providers, managed care creates financial risk while offering opportunities for acquiring new skills and knowledge. The primary care provider assumes a central role in creating a medical home that links the child and family to a single provider who is an ongoing resource and partner in care. To provide comprehensive, coordinated, family-centered care, the medical home provider must learn about a variety of services available within the community and guide parents in learning how to access the services that meet their child's needs. Pediatric nurse practitioners can play a significant role in ensuring that children receive the most appropriate care.