Medical Home, Arkansas -
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About Medical Home Arkansas
Children's Medical Services (in the Arkansas Department of Human Services) in collaboration with the Department of Developmental Pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences received a grant from the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau in April 2002 called "Medical Homes for Children with Special Health Care Needs." The purpose of this grant is to improve the accessibility and quality of Medical Homes available to Arkansas children. The activities of the grant are focused on educating both physicians and families about the seven major components of the Medical Home concept and the characteristics that bring the concept to life.

A Medical Home is not a building, house or hospital, but rather an approach to providing health care services in a high-quality and cost-effective manner. Children and their families who have a medical home receive the care that they need from a well-trained physician who provides primary care and helps to manage and facilitate essentially all aspects of pediatric care. Physicians, families and allied health care professionals act as partners in a Medical Home to identify and access all the medical and non-medical services needed to help children and their families achieve their maximum potential.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) believes that the medical care of infants, children, and adolescents should be accessible, continuous, comprehensive, family-centered, coordinated, compassionate, and culturally effective. It should be delivered or directed by well-trained physicians who provide primary care and help to manage and facilitate essentially all aspects of pediatric care. The physician should be known to the child and family and should be able to develop a partnership of mutual responsibility and trust with them. These characteristics define the "Medical Home". In contrast to care provided in a Medical Home, care provided through emergency departments, walk-in clinics, and other urgent-care facilities, though sometimes necessary, is more costly and often less effective.

What are the benefits of a Medical Home?

  • Increased patient and family satisfaction
  • Establishment of a forum for problem solving
  • Improved coordination of care
  • Enhanced efficiency for children and family
  • Efficient use of limited resources
  • Increased professional satisfaction
  • Increased wellness resulting from comprehensive care

The desirable characteristics of a Medical Home are summarized below:


  • Care is provided in the child's or youth's community.
  • All insurance, including Medicaid, is accepted.
  • Changes in insurance are accommodated.
  • The practice is accessible by public transportation, where available
  • Families or youth are able to speak directly to the physician when needed.
  • The practice is physically accessible and meets Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
  • The medical home physician is known to the child or youth and family.
  • Mutual responsibility and trust exists between the patient and family and the medical home physician.


  • The family is recognized as the principal caregiver and center of strength and support for the child.
  • Clear, unbiased, and complete information and options are shared on an ongoing basis with the family.
  • Families and youth are supported to play a central role in care coordination.
  • Families, youth and physicians share responsibility in decision making.
  • The family is recognized as the expert in their child's care, and youth are recognized as the experts in their own care.


  • The same primary pediatric health care professionals are available from infancy through adolescence and young adulthood.
  • Assistance with transitions, in the form of developmentally appropriate health assessments and counseling, is available to the child or youth and family.
  • The medical home physician participates to the fullest extent allowed in care and discharge planning when the child is hospitalized or care is provided at another facility or by another provider.


  • Care is delivered or directed by a well-trained physician who is able to manage and facilitate essentially all aspects of care.
  • Ambulatory and inpatient care for ongoing and acute illnesses is ensured, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.
  • Preventive care is provided that includes immunizations, growth and development assessments, appropriate screenings, health care supervision, and patient and parent counseling about health, safety, nutrition, parenting and psychosocial issues.
  • Preventive, primary, and tertiary care needs are addressed.
  • The physician advocates for the child, youth, and family in obtaining comprehensive care and shares responsibility for the care that is provided.
  • The child's or youth's and family's medical, educational, developmental, psychosocial, and other service needs are identified and addressed.
  • Information is made available about private insurance and public resources, including Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, waivers, early intervention programs, and Title V State Programs for Children with Special Health Care Needs.
  • Extra time for an office visit is scheduled for children with special health care needs, when indicated.


  • A plan of care is developed by the physician, child or youth, and family and is shared with other providers, agencies, and organizations involved with the care of the patient.
  • Care among multiple providers is coordinated through the medical home.
  • A central record or database containing all pertinent medical information, including hospitalizations and specialty care, is maintained at the practice. The record is accessible, but confidentiality is preserved.
  • The medical home physician shares information among the child or youth, family, and consultant and provides specific reason for referral to appropriate pediatric medical subspecialists, surgical specialists, and mental health/developmental professionals.
  • Families are linked to family support groups, parent-to-parent groups, and other family resources.
  • When a child or youth is referred for a consultation or additional care, the medical home physician assists the child, youth and family in communicating clinical issues.
  • The medical home physician evaluates and interprets the consultant's recommendations for the child or youth and family and, in consultation with them and subspecialists, implements recommendations that are indicated and appropriate.
  • The plan of care is coordinated with educational and other community organizations to ensure that special health needs of the individual child are addressed.


  • Concern for the well-being of the child or youth and family is expressed and demonstrated in verbal and nonverbal interactions.
  • Efforts are made to understand and empathize with the feelings and perspectives of the family as well as the child or youth.

Culturally Effective

  • The child's or youth's and family's cultural background, including beliefs, rituals, and customs, are recognized, valued, respected, and incorporated into the care plan.
  • All efforts are made to ensure that the child or youth and family understand the results of the medical encounter and the care plan, including the provision of (para)professional translators or interpreters, as needed.
  • Written materials are provided in the family's primary language.

The complete policy statement of the AAP on Medical Home, click here

If you are interested in learning how to evaluate the "medical homeness" of your (primary care physician's) practice, click here