A state press release said almost 100 doctors, public-health specialists, insurers, health-care providers, state and federal officials, family members and others attended the Kentucky Summit on Access to Care for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs, cosponsored by the Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs.
“There is an absolute need for us to take care of these children,” Bevin said. “We owe them that as a society, as Kentuckians, as human beings. It’s our obligation.”
CCSHCN Executive Director Jackie Richardson said Kentucky is estimated to have 197,916 children and youth with special health-care needs, a rate higher than the national average. Children and youth with special health care needs are defined as those who have or are at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional condition and who also require health and related services of a type or amount beyond what is generally required.
The summit in Frankfort was part of a learning collaborative sponsored by several national groups, including the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Leguislatures.
“We wanted this summit to provide a national perspective on the access to care provided through the commission,” she said. “With the group discussions we had today, we identified strategies to improve access to care and increase awareness of our programs.”
The commission has clinics that help with conditions like otology, orthopedics, severe cleft lip and palate and cerebral palsy. The commission also has a growing neurology program and has introduced autism clinics to improve access to diagnostic and medical resources for families in Eastern and Western Kentucky. “Many of them will need a lifetime of special care, and summits like today’s help ensure they will have consistent, coordinated and comprehensive access for as long as they need it,” Richardson said. For more information about the commission’s programs and services, see chfs.ky.gov/ccshcn.