Starks et al. discuss an evaluation of educational initiatives to improve rural systems of care for children with special needs. Akin to the medical home neighborhood concept, building a holistic medical "village" entails improving collaboration, sharing accountability, and helping families to navigate the health care system. The article suggests that policymakers should include patient experiences of care in program evaluation, and they should build a community infrastructure for shared information and efficient communication.

Key Take Away Points

  • Rural community providers and families have increased confidence in advocating for children with special needs after attending an educational series.
  • The medical neighborhood, as an expansion of the medical home, seeks to improve health care quality by engaging community providers in co-management and family-centered care.

Author Biography

Dr. Tapia is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. He participates in a multidisciplinary team at Texas Children’s Hospital to provide a quality, patient-centered medical home for children with medical complexity. Dr. Tapia is a content expert in pediatric medical homes, having served in the AAP Community Access to Child Health program for the past 7 years. He has also been involved in the creation of the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative pilot project in Texas. Dr. Tapia has expertise in health services research, dataset utilization, quality improvement and patient safety research, medical home research, and care of the child with medical complexity.

A Response To:

Saundra Starks, Dana J. Sullivan, and Vella Mae Travis, Connecting the Dots: Families and Children with Special Needs in a Rural Community