Families and care providers know that children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) are best served through a coordinated approach across the myriad programs, agencies, and levels of government that touch them. However, states face structural, operational, financial, regulatory, and cultural challenges to breaking down traditional silos to achieve interagency, cross-sector collaboration.
In a new report prepared for Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, HMA colleagues Sharon Silow‐Carroll, Diana Rodin, and Anh Pham highlight how six programs in five states have made progress in overcoming these barriers in healthcare, education, and other key services.
“Interagency, Cross-Sector Collaboration Can Improve Care for CSHCN: Lessons from Six State Initiatives” describes how programs in Colorado, District of Columbia, New York, Oregon, and Washington State have implemented collaboration mechanisms, such as interagency councils and task forces, data sharing agreements, and new departments or full-time equivalents focused on fostering communication and coordination across programs for vulnerable children. Their achievements include:
- Better identification of CYSHCN and more children/families with a shared care plan (Colorado care coordination data sharing pilot)
- “Flagging” of CYSHCN for targeted outreach (Washington’s CYSHCN cross-agency data system);
- Increased health screening and dental visit form completion in public schools (DC’s data sharing across education, Medicaid, and health departments);
- A common developmental screening metric for health and early learning systems (Oregon’s alignment of Health and Early Learning)
- A new interactive website for families of vulnerable children to navigate services across health, education, and human services (New York’s Council on Children and Families)
- And a cross-sector ten-point plan for improving long term outcomes for young children enrolled in Medicaid (New York’s First 1,000 Days on Medicaid initiative).
While each state’s environment and experiences are unique, the common themes, strategies, and lessons across the programs examined can be translated into recommendations to other states wishing to strengthen cross-sector collaboration to improve services for CYSHCN and other vulnerable populations.
The report offers recommendations on how states might foster efforts to improve communication and coordination across programs and reduce fragmentation and duplication of services.