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Children's Health Fund partnership

Getting access to healthcare can be tricky, particularly for people who are less well off.  In the United States of America, it is estimated that around 23 per cent of all children live below the poverty line. 

The parents of these children can face a tangled web of obstacles to get essential healthcare, from insurance and transportation barriers, to the acute shortage of doctors in some communities. These challenges are especially overwhelming when a child needs to see a medical specialist.

“Many of our patients don’t have insurance at all. Without our help, these families would not have any idea where to go.” That’s how one Case Manager at our Children’s Health Fund’s New York programme describes the situation that poor families with sick children must cope with.  

Referral Management Initiative

Tackling this problem requires an innovative solution that will help families cut through the red tape when they need to get their child to a pulmonologist for asthma care, an audiologist for hearing problems or some other specialist that the primary care physician recommends.

To this end, we joined with Children’s Health Fund to develop the Referral Management Initiative. Case managers are assigned to parents - who may struggle with literacy or language issues - to help navigate the health care system, coordinate their child’s appointments, follow-up with reminders, arrange for round trip transportation if needed, and enhance the communication between the primary care doctor and specialist.

The results

The initiative is making a significant difference in turning a challenging healthcare problem into a solution for poor and low-income families, expanding their access to healthcare. Tens of thousands of children in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Dallas, Memphis, South Florida, Washington DC, New Orleans and Austin have been referred to specialists they otherwise would not have access to. And today more than 60 per cent of referrals are successfully completed by the patients.

Watch the Referral Mangement Initiative in action:



“If I call a specialty provider or patient’s insurance company and they put me on hold for an hour, I will stay on that phone. I don’t give up. If I gave up, a child wouldn’t get care.”

- Referral Manager, Children’s Health Fund’s Southern Arizona Project