Hamilton aims to rejoin Ohio program to help kids with medical needs

Ohio assisted area children with special healthcare needs when Hamilton was unable to amid COVID response.

The City of Hamilton Health Department is seeking to rejoin a state program to help children with medical needs.

Hamilton had not participated in the Ohio Department of Health’s Children with Medical Handicaps (CMH) Program for the past few years due to the city health department’s COVID response. Health Director Cindy Hogg is asking City Council to rejoin the program, which connects families with children who have special healthcare needs to a network of providers and helps families obtain payment for those services.

Hogg said this program “provides a much-needed service” to these children and their families as grant funding helps to offset nursing services provided, and Hamilton is “making a recommitment to this Ohio Department of Health program.” Funds come through the Ohio Department of Health Bureau of Child and Family Health.

“It is a safety net program that supports children who have eligible chronic medical conditions and provides connections to a network of specialized healthcare providers,” she said, adding there are a wide range of healthcare needs that are covered, including children with cleft palates, cystic fibrosis, and cancer.

The children and their families weren’t without assistance during the time Hamilton was unable to meet the staffing needs of the program. Hogg said the state assisted through the CMH program.

“Our health department now has the staffing to provide a public health local service to our families in Hamilton,” she said.

The CMH Program’s mission, according to the Ohio Department of Health, assures families can obtain comprehensive care and services that are family-centered, community-based and culturally sensitive. It’s a state-administered program that receives funding for services from the federal Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, state general revenue funds, county tax funds, third-party reimbursements, and donations.

The way the program works is a public health nurse is linked to a family with a child with special healthcare needs. The nurse takes on a case management role, helping the family navigate the network of specialized doctors, obtaining specialized equipment and navigating financial resources.

“These families face so many challenges, and having a public health nurse who can assist them with their child’s needs is a service for our health department to provide,” Hogg said.

There are approximately 120 children and their families who benefit from this program within the city of Hamilton, she said.

The city of Middletown Health Department has continued the local connection with the CMH program, and Health Director Jackie Phillips said they’ve had their nurse travel outside the city limits when no service programs were available.

“At this time our director of nursing is doing very limited services due to the loss of the designated nurse,” she said. “It is our desire and mission to eventually fully restore this vital necessary program as we address our budget concerns.”


Families can sign up for this program by contacting the City of Hamilton Public Health Department at 513-785-7080 or completing a medical application online with the Ohio Department of Health at odh.ohio.gov/know-our-programs/children-with-medical-handicaps/questions.

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