Family Support

Coordinating Medical Care & "Navigating" Systems

Children with special health care needs or disabilities usually receive services from several agencies and systems. It can be very confusing to understand or coordinate all of it. Fortunately, there are professionals who help families coordinate their needs and services.

Insurance Case Managers and Care Coordinators

  • Most private insurance providers offer case managers or care coordinators to children with special health care needs.
  • If your child is enrolled in Medicaid (also called Medical Assistance or ACCESS), care coordinators are provided for patients with special health care needs.
  • Providers of Pennsylvania’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have  care coordinators for children with special health care needs.

For more information about insurance coverage, see the Medical Insurance and Public Benefits section in this Guide.

Care Coordinators within Health Care Settings

Some healthcare providers offer care coordination for children with special or complex health care needs. An example is the Ventilator-Assisted Children's Home Program, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, 877-KID-VENT(877-543-8368).

Ask your child’s health care providers if care coordination is available. 

For information about medical care, see the Medical Care section of this Guide.

Service Coordinators and Supports Coordinators

Public-funded early intervention services for children birth to age 3 provide a Service Coordinator for each child receiving services. In addition, the services of a Family Advisor are available. Contact Alliance for Infants and Toddlers - 412-885-6000.

For information about early intervention, see the Early Intervention/Developmental Supports section of this Guide.

Children who are registered for services from the Office of Intellectual Disability receive Supports Coordination through a Supports Coordination Organization.

Children who are registered through the Office of Behavioral Health will receive Service Coordination through a Service Coordination Unit.

For information about the Office of Behavioral Health and the Office of Intellectual Disabilities, see the Medical Insurance and Public Benefits section of this Guide.

Social Workers
Hospitals, schools and many other types of organizations that serve children with special health care needs and disabilities offer social work services.

Other Agencies Offering Care Coordination & “Systems Navigation”

Allegheny County Health Department/Maternal and Child Health Program/Children with Special Needs Care Coordination Program - 412-247-7957
Public health nurses provide care coordination, home visits and case management to children with special needs, age birth-22 years and their families to assess and arrange needed services. Families must meet income eligibility requirements.

Resource Contact Information

Allegheny Family Network
Supports and advocates for families who are raising children with emotional and mental health needs.
Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Pittsburgh
This non-profit, non-sectarian social service agency offers a Resource Coordinator for special needs.
Pennsylvania Elks Home Service Program
Offers free care coordination to children and adults with developmental disabilities.