August 2011

#10 August 2011

 Brought to you by:The Florida Office on Disability & Health

“Accessibility for All”

Florida Office on Disability & Health

The Florida Office on Disability and Health (FODH) was created in 2007 through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The mission of FODH is to maximize the health, well-being, participation, & quality of life, throughout the lifespan of all Floridians & their families living with disability.

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Insurance Guide for Young Adults and those with Chronic Health Conditions or Disabilities

The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council is pleased to announce the publication of “Just The Facts: The 411 on Health Insurance for Young Adults Ages 18-30 in Florida”. This insurance guide is designed to help all young adults – including those with chronic health conditions or disabilities – identify, access, and maintain health insurance coverage that meets their needs. This guide was developed by FloridaHATS (Health and Transition Services), and is one of many valuable resources that can be found on their website. FloridaHATS is a program of the Florida Department of Health, Children’s Medical Services and was funded by the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council.

HHS Unveils National Quality Strategy

The Department of Health and Human Services has unveiled a three-pronged National Quality Strategy that calls for developing patient-centered care, reducing costs, and improving general public health by supporting “proven interventions” that address unhealthy behavioral, social, and environmental issues.  The strategy was called for under the Affordable Care Act and marks the first effort to create national aims and priorities to guide local, state, and national efforts to improve healthcare, the Department of Health and Human Services said.

Partner Highlight: Florida Health and Transition (HATS)

Transitioning Youth from Pediatric to Adult Health Care…Tools for Success

What happens to young adults with disabilities or chronic health problem when they age-out of pediatric health care? The large number of youth with special health care needs (YSHCN) moving from pediatric to adult health care is a relatively new phenomenon. Due to advances in medical care, we’ve seen dramatic increases in survival rates among children with special health care needs, yet we do not have a system that adequately supports this population as they become adults. Some of the problems they face are finding adult physicians who are qualified and willing to provide care, difficulty accessing affordable health insurance, and inadequate preparation for health care self-management. Young people who don’t receive age-appropriate and preventive care are more likely to experience disease complications, increased emergency room visits and hospitalizations, as well as development of secondary disabling conditions-all factors that impact quality of life and ability to work.

FloridaHATS (Health And Transition Services) was established in 2009 in response to legislation mandating a statewide Task Force to assess health care transition issues. Its overarching goal is to provide leadership in bringing together consumers and service providers to address the complex issues associated with transition for all youth and young adults, including those with special health care needs. While it is a program of the Florida Department of Health/Children’s Medical Services and administered by the University of South Florida, it is a collaborative initiative involving multiple partners and agencies, such as the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, Inc., Florida Office on Disability and Health at University of Florida, and others.

Florida HATS’ Medical Advisory Committee (MAC), comprised of pediatric and adult medical providers throughout the state, has partnered with the Florida Pediatric Society, Florida Medical Association, and other professional associations to support its advocacy and training activities. The MAC provides guidance on identifying best practices, establishing quality of care guidelines, and developing model programs like the nationally recognized JaxHATS Medical Home program for transitioning youth and young adults in Jacksonville

In addition to its work in financing, education, and training, FloridaHATS provides technical assistance in building local service networks that span pediatric and adult systems. Public-private coalitions have been organized in three pilot regions: Tampa-Hillsborough County, the Panhandle area, and Jacksonville-Duval County. The FloridaHATS web site,, provides a rich repository of resources for youth, families, and providers.

We invite you to learn more about FloridaHATS by visiting or by contacting Janet Hess, MPH, Project Director, at (813) 259-8604,, or David Wood, MD, MPH, CMS Medical Consultant, at (904) 244-9233,

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