Why is a Medical Home Important?

Since the late 1960s, the concept of a medical home has evolved from a place to store medical records for children with special health needs to a coordinated approach to provide primary health care.

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Shared Plan of Care

A Shared Plan of Care (SPoC) is a tool that is designed to help you communicate and share information about your child with members of their care team, including doctors, nurses, therapists, emergency responders, respite care providers, teachers, and child care providers.

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Systems Integration Grant

In September 2015, the Department of Health was awarded a Systems Integration Grant (SIG) funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal Child Health Bureau (HRSA/MCHB) through August 2017.

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Medical Home

A medical home is not a specific place, but is a way of providing primary health care that partners a child with special health care needs, the child’s family, the primary care provider, and specialty providers. You may hear this referred to as a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) or a family-centered medical home (FCMH). Both of these terms refer to care that is:

  1. Accessible for families, personally, geographically, and financially;
  2. Compassionate, recognizing and supporting families’ needs in a respectful way;
  3. Continuous, ensuring that consistent providers work with a family and provide support in periods of transition;
  4. Coordinated between families, providers, and agencies;
  5. Comprehensive, addressing all aspects of well-being;
  6. Culturally appropriate, being conscious of family values and customs, and offering materials and translation services in appropriate languages; and
  7. Family-centered, sharing responsibilities and information, and valuing family expertise1, 2.

In a medical home, primary care providers offer preventive, acute, and chronic care for children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN), and make sure that the family receives all the help they need coordinating care with the child’s other specialists and service providers. This helps to reduce fragmented care that can include gaps and/or duplications in services. Fragmented care is associated with decreased satisfaction, poorer outcomes, and higher costs3. Instead, medical homes increase the efficiency and effectiveness of care by providing CYSHCN and their families the right care, at the right time, and in the right place.


  1. ECHO & Family Center Early Childhood Council. (2017). A Family’s Guide to Medical Home. Retrieved from http://echopassport.com/?page_id=94
  2. Medical Home Initiatives for Children with Special Needs Project Advisory Committee, & American Academy of Pediatrics. (2002). The medical home. Pediatrics, 110(1 Pt 1), 184.
  3. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2017). AAP Agenda for Children: Medical Home. Retrieved from https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-facts/AAP-Agenda-for-Children-Strategic-Plan/pages/AAP-Agenda-for-Children-Strategic-Plan-Medical-Home.aspx


Last Reviewed: 10/5/2018