Medical Home concept focuses total
health care for special needs patients
By: Courtney Klemm
"DECATUR - When Tina Carter's 5-year-old son Ryan awakens in the night with a
high fever, she rarely hesitates to call his primary physician, regardless of
Carter of Boody has more to worry about than the average mother.
Ryan was born with epilepsy, spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy. The muscles of
all four limbs are affected by stiffness, as often are the muscles controlling
his mouth and tongue, and several other health conditions resulting from birth
"I never know if he's running a fever because his brain is acting up or if he's
really sick, or what else it could be," Carter said.
Fortunately, Ryan and his family have formed a strong relationship with his
physician, Dr. Samir Patel of Decatur, which puts Patel at the center of every
aspect of Ryan's care.
Patel is one of many doctors who has adopted the growing concept of Medical
Home. Under the concept, the physician coordinates all of the child's care and
works with other specialists and the child's school to create a health plan.
The concept of Medical Home was established in 1967 by the American Academy of
Pediatrics, said Dr. Charles Onufer, director of the Division of Specialized
Care for Children in Springfield, an agency under the University of Illinois at
Chicago. Recently, the Maternal Child Health Bureau joined with the American
Academy of Pediatrics and prompted every state to look at how to promote Medical