Family-to-Family Health Information Centers (F2F HICs)


The list of currently funded F2F HICs is available HERE.

What are F2F HICs?

Family-to-Family Health Information Centers (F2F HICs) are non-profit, family-staffed organizations that help families of children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) and the professionals who serve them.  Because the health care needs of CYSHCN are chronic and complex, parents and caregivers are often challenged with finding the resources to provide and finance health care for their children.  F2F HICs are uniquely able to help families because they are by parents and family members of CYSHCN themselves who have first-hand experience navigating the maze of services and programs for CYSHCN.  Staff at F2F HICs understand the issues that families face, provide advice, offer a multitude of resources, and tap into a network of other families and professionals for support and information.  Family Voices, through the National Center for Family / Professional Partnerships, provides technical assistance, training, and connections to other F2F HICs and partnering organizations.

How do F2F HICs help?

F2F HICs were established in all States and the District of Columbia by the Family Opportunity/Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.  The Affordable Care Act of 2010 extended the F2F HIC program through fiscal year 2012.  The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal Child Health Bureau (MCHB) funds the F2F HICs 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.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal Child Health Bureau (MCHB) provides the primary funding support for F2F HICs, as authorized by the Family Opportunity Act (FOA), legislation signed into law in 2006 (as a part of the Deficit Reduction Act). Through this funding, HRSA's MCHB currently supports F2F HICs in all states and the District of Columbia. 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.

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. 

As the National Technical Assistance organization, Family Voices collects data from the F2F HICs in order to demonstrate the need for and value of the assistance they provide and to help F2F HICs meet accountability requirements. Family Voices aggregates this data on an annual basis, summarizing data about families and professionals served, type of information and assistance provided, reported health care financing issues, and the extent of outreach activities to families and professionals.

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?

Materials

  1. Family-to-Family Health Information Centers Brochure - (pdf)
    Information about Family-to-Family Health Information Centers in the states, including contact information.

  2.  Data Reports summarizing the assistance provided by F2F HICS to families and professionals
  3. 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.

  4. Activities and Accomplishments of the Family to Family Health Care Information and Education Center Grantees (pdf and html)
    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.