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Matern Child Health J. 2008 Sep;12(5):633-40. Epub 2007 Aug 21.

A medical home center: specializing in the care of children with special health care needs of high intensity.

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Division of General Pediatrics, University of Minnesota, McNamara Alumni Building, 200 Oak Street SE, Suite 160, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.



Children with special health care needs (CSHCN) benefit from a medical home, however, a subset, those children with high intensity needs, have medical and social service issues beyond the capacity of most primary care practices. We describe a novel medical home center that is designed to meet the needs of children with special health care needs of high intensity (CSHCN-HI).


The medical home center, U Special Kids (USK) is located at the University of Minnesota and affiliated with a tertiary medical center. USK serves CSHCN-HI throughout the state of Minnesota and, because of state supported funding for the program, children have access to the program regardless of their health insurance coverage. The team is expert at gathering an overall perspective of the child's needs, identifying gaps, accessing services and weaving together the plethora of disparate services, agencies and providers. A major goal of this model is to transition care from USK to a primary care medical home within the child's community. Transition is more likely to occur optimally once the child's complex needs are organized, the family is trained, adequate management resources are in place, and the intensity of care coordination needs are reduced.


We propose that, in addition to a primary care medical home, CSHCN-HI benefit from a unique medical home center that can provide sufficient resources and expertise to organize their complex care coordination needs. Medical home centers, designed specifically to manage the care of children with complex high intensity medical and care coordination needs, have the potential to reduce excess health care utilization and improve patient outcomes by providing this group of children with customized, accessible and integrated services.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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