The BCMH Program is an acronym for the Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps. This is a program within the Ohio Department of Health whose goal is to assure that children with special health care needs and their families obtain comprehensive care and services.
The program connects families to a network of quality providers and helps to obtain payment or the services rendered. Here in Fayette County, the BCMH office is located at the Fayette County Health Department. The program is divided into three main sections, including the diagnostic program, treatment program, and service coordination program. As with any government funded program, certain criteria must be met to be eligible. For BCMH, the child must be: under 21 years of age, an Ohio resident, under the care of BCMH approved physician, and who has/may have a chronic health condition. Chronic health conditions that qualify include, but not limited to: Diabetes, Hearing loss, Cerebral Palsy, Heart Disease, Scoliosis, Cystic Fibrosis and many more.
The purpose of the Diagnostic Program is to rule out a medically handicapping condition, to diagnose a condition, and help develop a plan of treatment. With the Diagnostic program there is no financial eligibility requirements. For six months, BCMH will cover the financial obligations for physician office visits, diagnostic tests, x-rays, biopsies, and Public Health Nurse Services. Next, with the Treatment Program the purpose is to provide ongoing treatment services for medically and financially eligible children. Although there is a financial eligibility requirement, many families qualify. Services include physician office visits, prescription medications, therapies, medical supplies/equipment, surgery, laboratory tests, and Public Health Nurse Services. Lastly, it’s the Service Coordination Program in which children that have certain complex handicapping conditions receive help in obtaining needed services, such as scheduling multiple doctor appointments on the same day.
No matter which BCMH program you are in or interested in enrolling, you are able to receive the Public Health Nurse services. This includes health education, home visits, and referrals to other agencies and services. The BCMH nurse is available to help families understand their child’s plan of treatment, explain the BCMH program to new families, explain the letter of approval, and offer available services.
In Fayette County we are currently serving almost 100 families. In order to apply, a medical application must be submitted to BCMH by a BCMH-approved physician who will manage the child’s care. BCMH approved physicians have applications on hand, so just ask about applying for the program. The Public Health Nurse is also able to assist families with the application process. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the BCMH nurse, Holly Johnson, RN, BSN, at the Fayette County Health Department, 740-335-5910.