AAP: Medical home integral to reduce harms of poverty, toxic stress among children

AAP president James M. Perrin, MD, FAAP, emphasized the importance of the medical home and how comprehensive care can alleviate two significant threats to the promise of a child — toxic stress and poverty — during his address at the 2014 AAP National Conference and Exhibition.

“We know that poverty blunts the promise of a child, and that programs and policies can really make a difference,” Perrin said. “One reason our country has not made more progress is that our interventions often come too late. If there is one overarching theme from the past few decades of research about how to break the cycle of poverty in the United States, it’s the power of parenting and intervening early, ideally in the first year or two of life, or even before a child is born.”

The AAP is working to level the playing field among children of all backgrounds by finding new payment arrangements and using new technologies to benefit patient care. These efforts have the potential to improve functionality of school-based health centers and other outpatient programs, which may be some children’s only source of health care, and advance telemedicine practices, which can serve as an extension of care for all children.

“When it comes to making sure children get the care and caring they need, there is no place like a medical home, with its teams and systems that establish relationships with parents and provide care for the whole child,” Perrin said.

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