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Superior Services for Children with Special Health Care Needs

By Florida Department of Health, Office of Communications

March 10, 2015

March 10, 2015

Contact: Communications Office
(850) 245-4111

Florida Department of Health Continues to Provide Superior Services to Children with Special Health Care Needs

TALLAHASSEE—Today, the Florida Department of Health highlighted the valuable programs and services offered to families across the state through the division of Children's Medical Services (CMS). Appearing before the House of Representatives Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee, State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong offered a comprehensive briefing of the important work performed by CMS and its partners.

"Florida's children are our future and Children's Medical Services offers hope for so many families," said Dr. Armstrong. "We've identified many opportunities for improvement within the program that will allow us to better serve Florida's children, families and communities."

With roots dating back to 1929, CMS has assisted families of children with special health care needs through a variety of programs designed to empower Florida's families with information, tools and services to help children grow and develop. Most of Florida's more than 4 million children have been served by some aspect of CMS.

CMS is moving forward with greater accountability and efficiencies to ensure the availability of more direct services for children who need them most. Florida families can depend on programs like Newborn Screening, Poison Control and Early Steps to be viable for years to come, serving the health care needs of children across the state.

Floridians recognize the importance of these programs and their impact on children, their families and the communities where they live. The department remains committed to serving children through these programs to offer them the best start at life.

Dr. Scott Rivkees, professor and chairman of pediatrics, University of Florida, said, "CMS is an integral part of Florida's pediatric community because it ensures health care services for Florida's sickest children. We value our strong partnership with CMS and look forward to continued collaboration as we provide these much needed services to Florida's children."

Dr. Paul Pitel, Chairman, Genetics and Newborn Screening Advisory Council, said, "Early screening gives children a head start by identifying genetic disorders in newborns, allowing doctors the chance to change the outcome of children's lives."

Jay Schauben, PharmD, DABAT, FAACT, director of Jacksonville Florida Poison Information Center, said, "The Poison Control Center impacts the lives of not just Florida residents, but also visitors to the state in the case of an overdose or exposure to toxins. The Department of Health continues to fund this necessary program that provides expert advice to mothers, doctors and hospital staff in an effort to save lives each and every day."

Dr. Armstrong is scheduled to speak before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services Wednesday regarding CMS.

The department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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