Massachusetts Medical Society: Better Bridges: Helping Young Adults with Special Health Care Needs

Better Bridges: Helping Young Adults with Special Health Care Needs

The MMS worked with Springfield pediatrician Matthew D. Sadof, M.D., and Beverly L. Nazarian, M.D., of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, to evaluate potential barriers that might impede young adults/children with special health care needs from accessing adult-medicine physicians for primary and specialty care.

An MMS-facilitated survey addressed two of six core action steps necessary to improve the transition to adult-centered care among this population: the identification of willing and able providers and identification of core knowledge and skills required to care for this population.

Key findings from the survey include the following:

  • Improved communication between pediatricians and adult-medicine physicians is crucial.
  • More than three-quarters of respondents said they were very comfortable/somewhat comfortable with taking care of young adult patients with special health care needs.
  • The top barriers to caring for these patients are time, knowledge, and availability of community resources. The top barriers inhibiting physicians from accepting these patients into their practices are time, reimbursement, and lack of available assistance from non-physician office staff.

View a list of adult primary care physicians willing to treat such patients in transition.

Dr. Sadof said the survey identified a "coalition of the willing," but he added that addressing the transition barriers will require additional resources and ongoing effort.

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