This post is heavy on acronyms so I thought I would keep that theme in the title.  My wife didn’t see the humor in it either.

I serve on the Family Advisory Council for Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and I love every minute of it. This group explores ways to combine innovative healthcare solutions with high levels of customer service to people who are in complex situations. I have for years enjoyed finding opportunities to serve people well in the public sector (not always known for stellar service). Recently, I received an invitation to serve as Tennessee’s family delegate to the AMCHP (Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs) Conference in Washington, DC. I’m very thankful to the Tennessee Department of Health for the opportunity to serve in an area of interest and I’m pretty excited about going to DC as well.

Simply put, AMCHP members consist of state directors of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Programs and Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) Programs. These programs are funded by what is referred to as the Title V Block Grant (Title V of the Social Security Act). My focus is to fully understand what resources are available to CYSHCN and advocate for those families. Hopefully, whatever your politics, you can see this kind of work as within the role of government. Many of you know I have a son with Down syndrome. As a disclaimer, he is not a recipient of Title V funds.

Tennessee’s CYSHCN Program is called Children’s Special Services and falls under the Department of Health. In short, “a child/youth is eligible for the program if s/he is under the age of 21, and has been diagnosed with a physical disability which requires medical, surgical, dental or rehabilitation treatment.” Clearly identifying diagnostic and financial eligibility requires research and the department is aware that not every family in need of the resources has access to this information. There lies the need for advocacy. Children’s Special Services of Nashville also offers a clear and concise summary of services. A quick Google search for MCH in your state should put you on your way toward resources.

While at the conference, I plan to tweet about what I learn, so feel free to follow me on Twitter @jeff_myrick from Sunday, January 25th – Tuesday, January 27th and learn with me.

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