Having a child with a disability is a hard enough burden for families to bear. Having a child with a disability and being poor can be overwhelming. For instance, poor children with disabilities are more likely to be affected in their daily activities. Children suffering such double jeopardy deserve comprehensive health and related services, but what they often get is fragmented, unreliable and non-empathic care.
The HSC Foundation has been working with a number of groups that are piloting community activities to reduce health disparities among underserved children with special healthcare needs. These programs offer some potential solutions, such as effectively organizing primary-care practices that serve special needs populations, integrating and coordinating disability services into schools and the community, and better addressing social determinants of health.
As the Affordable Care Act rolls out, there are significant opportunities to implement improvements previously not available in the health system. Some could include a serious commitment to ensuring that children with disabilities have access to a medical home. Others embrace full implementation of community health worker programs to ensure that traditionally underserved children and families could have access to high-quality healthcare and related disability services.