Improving care coordination for African American and Hispanic children with special healthcare needs

Publication Date16 Mar 2015
AuthorSuzanne M. Bronheim,Elif Can,Bruno J. Anthony
SubjectHealth & social care,Vulnerable groups,Children's services
Improving care coordination for African
American and Hispanic children with
special healthcare needs
Suzanne M. Bronheim, Elif Can and Bruno J. Anthony
Dr Suzanne M. Bronheim is
Associate Professor at the
Department of Paediatrics,
Georgetown University Medical
Centre, Washington, District of
Columbia, USA.
Elif Can is based at the ENTER,
Flemish Centre of Expertise on
Accessibility,Antwerp, Belgium.
Dr Bruno J. Anthony is
Professor at the Departments
of Paediatrics and Psychiatry,
Georgetown University Medical
Centre, Washington, District of
Columbia, USA.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore perceptions of family-to-family (F2F) information centres
by health care providers serving Hispanic and African American families of children with special healthcare
needs (CSHCN) and how that information can be used to enhance effective collaboration to address
disparities in access to services.
Design/methodology/approach In this second phase of a formative, qualitative multi-phase,
collaborative study by a university centre and three F2Fs to develop strategies to increase the use of their
centres by Hispanic and African American populations, the authors report the results of key informant
interviews with healthcare providers serving the African American and Hispanic families who participated in
focus groups at the three centres.
Findings Healthcare providers reported that F2Fs play a unique role in providing families support and
skills to advocate within systems. However, barriers to healthcare providers recommending F2Fs to families
include a lack of knowledge about the specific services provided, the need for face-to-face contact to feel
comfortable making a referral and a lack of a formalised referral and feedback process that is in line with their
experiences in the medical services system.
Practical implications F2Fs can increase use of their centres by African American and Hispanic families
through provider referrals by: promoting specific services and supports they offer families, rather than
describing their programmes; promoting how they can help providers with the care coordination functions
that are time consuming; offering providers training opportunities; and developing processes for referrals
that include feedback to providers.
Originality/value There are no studies that currently address strengthening the collaboration between
medical homes and F2F centres to improve care coordination, access to information and receiving needed
services for Hispanic and African American CSHCN and their families. Understanding how healthcare
providers serving Hispanic and African American CSHCN perceive F2Fs and currently work with them will
enhance this collaboration.
Keywords Social marketing, Access to services, Children with special needs, Family support,
Healthcare disparities, Private/public partnerships
Paper type Research paper
Children with special healthcare needs (SHCN) have been defined in the USA as those who have
or are at increased risk of a chronic physical, developmental, behavioural or emotional condition
and who also require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by
children generally (McPherson et al., 1998). In the USA, the site of this study, national surveys
estimate that between 13 and 20 per cent of children have special health care needs (Bethell
et al., 2008). These needs, frequently quite complex, go well beyond traditional medical care and
can include special education services, a range of non-medical therapies, early childhood
Preparation of this paper and
research reported was supported
by research grant R40MC17176
from the Maternal and Child Health
Bureau, Health Resources and
Services Administration, US
Department of Health and Human
Services. The funding agency was
not involved in the planning or
implementation of the research.
The authors would like to thank
the partner family to family
organisations: ParentsPlace of
Maryland; Parents Reaching Out of
New Mexico and Exceptional
Childrens Assistance Center of
North Carolina.
DOI 10.1108/JCS-04-2014-0023 VOL. 10 NO. 1 2015, pp. 45-56, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 1746-6660
PAG E 45

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