DHMC gets $1.5 million grant
The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center recently won nearly $1.5 million to create a program that will teach physicians how to treat chronically ill children who contract minor ailments.
Children with severe illnesses often need medical attention for minor sicknesses. Because of their long-term illness, they are often sent to specialized medical centers far from their homes where highly trained doctors can care for them.
That means big medical bills and large expenses for families, which must pay for transportation and housing during the treatment.
The new project will look for ways to bring the specialized knowledge about dealing with the complications of long-term illness to pediatricians and physicians who can care for the children closer to home, according to a statement announcing the grant.
The three-year project is a collaborative effort among the Hood Center for Family Support at Dartmouth Medical School, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, local health care providers and families of children with special medical needs.
It is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which aims to improve health care, especially for poor and rural families.
The project is one of the most comprehensive efforts of its kind in the country. It will enable New Hampshire medical groups to provide care for these children in a community setting, the statement said.
The program will organize a network incorporating family support, medical outreach, school-based reforms and state policy.
"The purpose of this project is to encourage schools and communities, local health care providers, academic medical centers and state government to adapt policies and practices to meet the needs of children with chronic conditions and their families," said Rosemary Gibson, a foundation officer.
The program's target population is approximately 1,350 seriously ill children who live in rural communities, small towns and Manchester, N.H., Gibson said.
The pilot program's designers hope it will be expanded across the state. Eventually, the program could address the areas of family support, medical outreach, school-based reforms and state policy, according to the statement.
Families with chronically ill children often have difficulty finding health services because different programs are offered at different locations. The project will help these families get in touch with one another to share information about what services are available in their area.
The Dartmouth-Hitchcock project will also inform school nurses, teachers and administrators about caring for children with chronic conditions in the school environment and tailoring the curriculum for special needs.
The project will also monitor state policy with regard to child health services and analyze and recommend Medicaid reform options.