Date of Award

12-1-2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Special Education

First Advisor

Bruns, Deborah

Abstract

Over the course of the past three decades, largely due to advances in technology, there has been growth in the fields of early intervention (EI) and pediatrics for infants/toddlers with special health care needs (SHCN). This growth has also brought about a change in the relationship between pediatricians and EI service coordinators, creating an increased need for communication and collaboration between these groups of professionals. In order to address these changes, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) presented recommendations for care coordination and stressed the placement of care coordination practices in the medical and developmental plans of infants/toddlers with SHCN. There have also been recommendations about communication and collaboration strategies from experts in the EI field. The medical home framework and Part C (EI) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) seek to establish care coordination systems with a family-centered focus of care. The purpose of this study is to examine care coordination within the context of the pediatric medical home and EI service coordination. Eighty- two pediatricians (n=1746, 4.7%) and 52 service coordinators (n=468, 11.1%) returned The Care Coordination Survey. Responses to the 40-item quantitative survey were analyzed using descriptive statistics and independent sample t-tests. Results indicated that pediatricians and service coordinators are implementing a number of key care coordination practices such as being available to clients/patients at their convenience. However, it was also found that both groups of professionals are not consistently providing a number of recommended care coordination practices such as sharing information between disciplines (e.g., contact information, assessment results). The results also offer implications across disciplines and reveal a need for future research in areas, such as training models across disciplines and developing a care coordination model to fit both disciplines.

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