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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 9, 2003

UI Child Health Specialists Urge Families To Create 'Medical Home'

Faculty and staff members of Children's Hospital of Iowa at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics will place increased emphasis during October on the importance of creating a "medical home" for children.

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack has declared October Iowa Child Health Month. Pediatricians and other child health specialists are encouraging families to develop a medical home for children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) defines a medical home as "... an approach to providing health care services in a high-quality and cost-effective manner." Every year since 1992, the AAP has designated October as Child Health Month and chooses a specific aspect of child health as a point of emphasis.

"All children should have a medical home where care is accessible, family-centered, continuous, comprehensive, coordinated, compassionate and culturally competent," said George Phillips, M.D., assistant professor of clinical pediatrics in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine. "This is a crucial step that will enhance the health of all children, and we feel very strongly about the importance of this effort."

Building a medical home involves establishing a relationship with a pediatric health care provider very early, preferably during pregnancy or even when couples are planning to begin their family. Children and parents can rely on the medical home to ensure that immunizations, health screening tests and treatments are provided in a timely manner. Families can also turn to the medical home for answers to their questions and advice about how to help children become as healthy as possible.

Part of the national agenda within Healthy People 2010 calls for all children with special health care needs in particular to receive ongoing comprehensive care within a medical home.

The Center for Disabilities and Development, which was known as University Hospitals School when it opened its doors in 1948, is Iowa's premier center for people with disabilities and special needs. The center serves as a resource for the citizens of Iowa, as well as residents of neighboring states and beyond. The center's specialists provide medical care and related services, training, research, information sharing and services that improve people's quality of life at home, work and school.

The Iowa AAP chapter is again sponsoring a poster contest for children from kindergarten through eighth grade. For more information about the Medical Home Initiative, visit online at www.uihealthcare.com/aapiowachapter, or contact Children's Hospital of Iowa at 1-888-573-5437 or www.uihealthcare.com. For more information, contact AAP at 1-800-433-9016 or www.aap.org.

Children's Hospital of Iowa at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City is the state's longest-serving children's hospital. More than 100,000 children receive care at Children's Hospital of Iowa and its statewide network of outreach clinics each year.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at www.uihealthcare.com.

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Planning, Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room 8798 JPP, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, Writer, 319-356-3945, thomas-moore@uiowa.edu