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Page 1

A YOUNG PERSON’S GUIDE TO HEALTH CARE TRANSITION
CHILDREN’S MEDICAL SERVICES, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

My Future

Page 2

2ABOUT CMS

ABOUT CMS
The staff of Florida’s Department of Health, Children’s Medical Services (CMS) understands that
transition to adulthood is an exciting time for teens and young adults. Transition may include
changes in where you go to school, where you work, or where you live. Health care transition may
include changing from pediatric care and services to adult care and services. Teens and young
adults with special health care needs, and their families, need to know that health care transition
takes a lot of thought and planning.

The staff at CMS wants to help with health care
transition. One of our primary goals is to be sure that:

“Beginning at age 12, all teens and
young adults with special health
care needs who are enrolled in the
CMS Network and their families
receive the services needed to make
transitions to all aspects of adult life,
including adult health care, work,
and independence.”

This guide will help you and your family start
thinking about health care transition and
making a health care transition plan so that
it will be a successful process. Health care
transitions work best when they are planned.
In order to plan, you and your family need
to learn about new choices and new ways of
getting health care services.

We hope that you and your family will read this
guide and will begin to talk about this important
part of your future. The staff at CMS looks
forward to working with you to help make your
health care transition as successful as possible.

Page 12

12PRACTICING INDEPENDENCE (AGES 15-17)

PRACTICING INDEPENDENCE AGES 15-17

College Bound
Health care transition is all about providing you with a healthy foundation on which to build your
life goals. Going away to college or vocational training may be part of your plans for the future. If so,
there are some things you can do to help make this transition to a new school and to new health care
providers easier. Even if you are not going away to school, some of the tips can be helpful.

The transition to a college away from home takes some planning. Once on campus, your parents will not
be there to help you with your care, make decisions, or solve problems. Therefore, it will be important to
plan ahead and make sure you are as prepared as possible to be in charge of your health care.

Let’s begin with some questions. What medical care do you need when you are away from home?
Do you need physical assistance? Will you be using personal assistants to help you complete activities
of daily living? Once you have determined what you need, you will have to check to see if these
services are available at the colleges you are considering. All colleges have an Office for Students
with Disabilities. Contacting this office is a good place to begin. Some colleges have worked hard
to make their campus and educational programs very accessible. These colleges tend to have more
comprehensive programs to help you adjust and succeed in college life.

Tips for Young Adults
When you turn 18 years old,
you legally become an adult.
If you are 16 or 17, now is the time to find out
how your legal rights and responsibilities will
change when you turn 18. Did you know that
in Florida when you turn 18, you are legally an
adult and you can do anything any adult can do (except purchase alcohol)? As an adult, you have
the right to have most medical and other information about you kept private from everybody,
including your parents. You will also be the one who signs the medical consent forms. By signing
these forms, you say that you understand what the doctors have told you and agree to certain tests,
surgeries or procedures. Doctors can’t talk with any other people about you, even your parents,
unless they have your written permission to do so. If there is an emergency, doctors cannot share
information with your parents or talk with them about what things you do and do not want to
be done to your body (remember – when you turn 18, you are in charge) unless you have signed a
“release of information” form ahead of time. In the “Transition Resources” section, there are links
to web sites and other things to read about your new legal rights, your rights to privacy, and how
to give permission to doctors to share information with your parents or with other people who you
want involved in decisions about your care.

On page 15 there is a checklist that gives you some other things you can practice in order to be
more independent. After you do the checklist, talk with your parents and doctors, and decide
together what things are most important for you to practice doing on your own now.

Page 13

13PRACTICING INDEPENDENCE (AGES 15-17)

PRACTICING INDEPENDENCE AGES 15-17
If you think that you will need special
housing arrangements at college because
of your health care needs, be sure to talk
with your school’s Office for Students
with Disabilities. Many colleges have
only a few dorm rooms that are specially
equipped for students with special needs
and these spaces fill up quickly. Let your
school know about your needs as soon
as possible, so that they can make your
living arrangements as comfortable,
accessible, and safe as possible.

In addition to making arrangements with
your new school, you will also need to
make arrangements for getting the health
care you will need while you are away at
college. Even if you are still receiving
services from pediatric providers, you
should not expect to get care from
pediatric providers in your new location.
To make arrangements for health care,
begin by talking to the college or student
health center to find out if they can or
cannot meet your medical needs.

The student health center at many
colleges and universities can provide care
to students with a cold or sprained ankle,
but do not have the staff or expertise to
meet the needs of students with special
health care needs or disabilities. Although the student health center might be willing to work with
your home town doctors, you might be happier if you find a primary care provider who practices close
to your college.

If the student health center is unable to meet all your health needs, you will need to find a local health
care provider. Finding a new provider may take some effort on your part so you will want to start this
process as early as possible. After you have found a new provider, arrange an introductory meeting so
you can discuss your care, ask questions, and learn about the doctor’s treatment approach. You may
want to ask your current provider and new provider to talk directly with each other. Once this has been
arranged, have your medical records sent to your new provider.

Page 23

TRANSITION RESOURCES

23TRANSITION RESOURCES

National/Federal
Resources Cont.
Healthy and Ready to Work
National Center
Phone: (202) 884-8650
Web Site: www.hrtw.org
Information, tools, resources, and links to many
transition-related web sites.

National Center in Secondary Education
& Transition
Web Site: www.ncset.org
Web site includes resources related to education,
training, independent living, and work for youth
with disabilities.

Social Security
Phone Toll Free: 1-800-772-1213 or
1-800-325-0778 (TTY)
Web Site: www.ssa.gov/disability
Information about eligibility and applications for
SSI and SSDI.

The Arc
Phone: (301) 565-3842
Web Site: www.thearc.org
Web site includes guardianship information.

Other Resources
4 Girls Health
Web Site: www.4girls.gov
Promotes healthy, positive behaviors in girls between
the ages of 10 and 16. Gives girls reliable, useful
information on the health issues they will face as
they become young women and tips on handling
relationships with family and friends at school
and at home.

Build Your Own Care Notebook
Web Site:
www.medicalhomeinfo.org/tools/care_notebook.html
Provides access to several different care notebooks.

Choosing & Using a Health Plan
Web Site: http://www.ahrq.gov/consumer/hlthpln1.htm
A booklet on health insurance.

CMS Health Care Transition Workbooks
Web Site:
http://hctransitions.ichp.ufl.edu/resources.html
Workbooks for youth, young adults, and their families.

CSHCN Emergency Planning Form
Web Site:
http://hctransitions.ichp.ufl.edu/resources.html
Form for documenting information that can be used
by professionals to care for a child with special health
care needs in case of an emergency.

Evaluating Managed Care Plans
for CSHCN
Web Site: http://policyweb.ichp.ufl.edu/ichp/purchaser/
A tool for assessing how well a managed care plan will
meet the needs of CSHCN.

Youthhood.org
Web Site: www.youthhood.org
Provides transition planning for youth with or without
disabilities, teachers, community service providers,
parents, guardians, and anyone else interested in
transition from high school to adult life.

Page 24

This guide is a product of the Health Care Transition
Initiative of the Institute for Child Health Policy (ICHP)
at the University of Florida, and was developed under
a contract (COQFV-R1) from Florida Children’s Medical
Services Program (Florida Department of Health) to ICHP.

Production Team Members:
Robert W. Gibson, Ph.D., MSOTR/L - Author
John G. Reiss, Ph.D. - Author
Narayan D. Raum - Project Coordinator, Designer, Photographer

Florida Department of Health, Children’s Medical Services:
Susan J. Redmon, R.N., M.P.H. - Contract Manager

Acknowledgements:
Jane Warner & Christine M. Burke, MEd, CHES - Keene State College

Copyright © 2005. Institute for Child Health Policy at
the University of Florida. All rights reserved. Unlimited
reproduction is allowed for educational or personal use,
not for resale! You have permission to reprint any of
the material in this guide if you are using it for non-
commercial purposes, provided full credit is given to the
authors, ICHP at the University of Florida, and Florida
Department of Health, Children’s Medical Services.

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