How can I assure the best health care for my child?

Coordination of Care

Many service providers may be involved in a child’s care. Often it is one parent who sets up a lot of appointments. Some people in Alaska are fortunate to have help with care coordination services through a local healthcare agency. Sometimes Native organizations offer this service.

Some doctors are recognizing the need to partner with families in caring for children. Nationwide, there is a growing trend to do things in a way that is called a “medical home model.” The medical home is not a place. It is a way of doing things. The center of the medical home is the family. Service providers are a team surrounding the family. The biggest helper is usually the child’s primary doctor or someone in that office. This person takes the lead to help coordinate all the different services for the family.

A parent’s role in this partnership is to share thoughts and concerns, to discuss problems and potential solutions with the child’s primary care provider. Parents may want to ask about payment plans, medications, referrals, tests, and procedures. They might also want to discuss fun activities, sports, school issues, interactions with siblings, and alternative treatments. The child’s primary care provider works closely with parents and the rest of the team.

Parents can ask their child’s primary care provider if he or she might be willing to work with them using a medical home model. It might be a new idea and people may be willing to learn together. In the long run, it is medical care that fits the family and the child.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A MEDICAL HOME15

  • A partnership between your family and your child’s primary care clinician
  • A relationship based on mutual trust and respect
  • Connections to supports and services to meet your child’s and family’s needs
  • Respect for your family’s cultural and religious beliefs
  • After hours and weekend access to medical consultation about your child
  • Families who feel supported in caring for their child
  • Your primary care doctor working with your team of other care providers

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