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Rhode Island Office for Special Healthcare Needs
Department of Health
Special Health Care Needs refers to children, youth or adults 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 that required by children generally. In public health terms, people with special health care needs are considered a vulnerable population, since they have a shorter life expectancy, are more likely to engage in dangerous or risky behaviors and are often isolated from a system of support. A public health response to several vulnerable populations is coordinated in the Division of Community Family Health & Equity’s Health Disparities and Access to Care Team. The Office of Special Healthcare Needs ensures family-centered, community based, systems of services for children and youth with special healthcare needs through infrastructure building, training and technical assistance, and collaboration with families, other state agencies, heath plans, and community agencies. The Office assures access to care through systems improvement as guided by consumer input, Healthy People 2020 Objectives and Title V federal legislation. The Office is specifically charged with developing and implementing a plan to achieve appropriate community-based systems of services for children and youth with special healthcare needs and their families. What We Do: Family/professional partnership at all levels of decision-making; Access to comprehensive health and related services through the medical home; Early and continuous screening, evaluation and diagnosis; Adequate public and/or private financing of needed services; Organization of community services so that families can use them easily; Successful transition to all aspects of adult healthcare, work, and independence.