Family-to-Family Health Information Centers (F2F HICs)
Looking for the Family-to-Family Health Information Center (F2F) in your state? Visit the Family Voices National Center for Family/Professional Partnerships website to find your F2F and learn more about how these centers provide free service to families of children/youth with special health care needs and the professionals that serve them.
Imagine a family that is suddenly confronted with a severely premature baby, who is likely to have multiple health problems or disabilities, or discovers that their child needs a kidney transplant, or has autism, diabetes, epilepsy or a serious mental illness. They are likely to be at a loss for information about how to get the best treatment for their child -how to find the right specialists, therapists, or caretakers - and how to pay for that costly care (autism therapies, private-duty nursing, and medications, for example, can cost tens of thousands dollars per year).
When a family receives help from a Family-to-Family Health Information Center (F2F HIC), they can get this vital information, emotional support, and help in finding ways to get their costs covered.
What are F2F HICs?
F2F HICs are family-staffed organizations that assist families of children with special health care needs (CSHCN) and the professionals who serve them. Some F2F HICs are independent nonprofits; others are part of collaborative nonprofit organizations or agencies. All F2F HICs have a strong commitment to and expertise about CSHCN.
F2F HICs are uniquely able to help families because they are staffed by family members who have first-hand experience and training in navigating complex health care services and programs. Staff understand the issues that families face and are well qualified to help families make informed decisions.
F2F HICs provide assistance in a variety of ways, including support and referral through direct telephone, e-mail or in-person contact, training through workshops, advocating for and connecting families with resources, running listservs and websites, and developing newsletters and family-friendly publications.
How are F2F HICs funded?
F2F HICs were established in all States and the District of Columbia by the Family Opportunity/Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. Subsequent laws have extended the F2F HIC program through fiscal year 2017. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal Child Health Bureau (MCHB) distributes the funding for the program through a competitive grant process. Prior to the passage of FOA, funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and MCHB supported F2F HICs in many states, while a few other family organizations obtained state funding to conduct F2F HIC activities.
What do F2F HICs Help With?
F2F HICs provide assistance on many issues related to caring for CYSHCN. Some typical questions asked of staff at F2F HICs include:
- Is there a health insurance program that will pay for my child's medical needs as well as the rest of my family?
- What are the eligibility requirements for Medicaid? How do I apply?
- What is Title V and what programs do they have for children?
- Medicaid has denied payment of some of my child's services. What do I do now?
- Is there a way to keep my child's longtime pediatrician when my job requires that we switch insurance plans?
- Can you help me write a health care plan to help my son's teachers and therapists care for him at school?
- Who can help me find a way to pay for my child's expensive medications?
- Where can I find a support group for families of children with my child's disability?
- Family-to-Family Health Information Centers Brochure - (pdf)
Information about Family-to-Family Health Information Centers in the states, including contact information.
- Family-to-Family Health Information Centers Data Reports: Visit the Family Voices National Center for Family/Professional Partnerships website to learn:
- about the families and professionals served by the F2Fs,
- the assistance and training provided by the F2Fs,
- broader outreach activities,
- work on specific initiatives, including Medical Home,
- Innovative Strategies for Strengthening Family to Family Health Information And Education Centers (pdf)
A 35-page report prepared for CMS by Thomson Medstat, Research and Policy Division, that provides a brief overview of the F2F HICs and examples of grantees' strategies focused on such areas as developing partnerships, enhancing communication with families, serving culturally diverse populations, facilitating the transition to adulthood and ensuring sustainability.
- Activities and Accomplishments of the Family to Family Health Care Information and Education Center Grantees (pdf)
A 55-page paper prepared for CMS that describes the activities of the 19 Grantees funded in fiscal year 03 and 04 from CMS and six Grantees funded in fiscal year 02 by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), providing information about grant activities, implementation challenges, and accomplishments of the F2F HICs.