Background: Care coordination has been shown to improve the quality of care for children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN). However, there are different models for structuring care coordination in relation to the medical home and most Title V agencies use an agency-based model of care coordination. No studies have prospectively compared a practice-based care coordination model to a Title V agency-based care coordination model.
Objective: Report the results of a prospective cohort study comparing a practice-based nurse care coordinator model with Title V agency-based care coordination model.
Design/methods: Three pediatric practices received the intervention, placement of a nurse care coordinator onsite within the practice, along with training and quality improvement on the principles of the medical home. Three practices continued to rely on agency-based care coordination services. CYSHCN in the practices were identified, interviewed at baseline, and re-interviewed after 18 months. We interviewed 262 families/children at baseline and 144 families/children (76 in the intervention and 68 in the comparison group) at 18 months. Families rated the quality of services they received from the care coordinator and the pediatric practice, and their experience of barriers to services for their CYSHCN.
Results: Families in the practice-based care coordination group were more likely to report improvement in their experience with the care coordinator (P = 0.02), fewer barriers to needed services (P = 0.003), higher overall satisfaction with care coordination (P = 0.03), and better treatment by office staff (P = 0.04).
Conclusions: We found that for families of CYSHCN, practice-based care coordination in the medical home led to increased satisfaction with the quality of care they received and a reduction of barriers to care. The practice-based care coordination model is utilized by a minority of State Title V agencies and should be considered as a potentially more effective model than the agency-based approach.