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Max’s Story: A Boy and His Patient-Centered Specialty Practice

August 8, 2016 · Matt Brock


Max Autism

About a month ago, we told you about our Annual Report for 2015. It includes a number of stories about the people we serve. That includes one about a young patient at a NCQA Patient-Centered Specialty Practice.

Max is a prime example of the people we think about when we consider our mission to improve health care quality. We recommend you check out the entire annual report, but we wanted to make sure you read Max’s story. It’s special. He’s special.

Max’s Story: It Takes a Team


You see it at school, in the backyard and in the pool at the Aquatic Center of Hospital for Special Care in Connecticut, where he takes swim lessons with his brother, Bennett. Max’s smile is charming and infectious. It also has the power to mask what he faces every day.

With diagnoses of epilepsy, autism spectrum disorders and ADHD, Max’s challenges are significant. His care, a challenge too.

“We were overwhelmed by the number of therapies recommended for Max outside of services he receives at school,” said Ian, Max’s father.

“Every time we went to a different therapy or appointment, Kris-Ann and I had to provide updates and share notes about Max’s various activities. This could take the first 30 minutes of every appointment. Max’s care operated in silos, and we were responsible for coordinating everything .”


Patient-Centered Specialty Practice: A Parental Discovery


A year ago, though, Max’s parents saw a story about the Autism Center at Hospital for Special Care in New Britain, CT in the local newspaper. What caught their eye? It was a description of a Patient-Centered Specialty Practice (PCSP) for autism and a concept called “care coordination.” It appeared to be just what they needed.

Child Psychiatrist Dr. Patricia Aguayo and Care Coordinator Liz Sytulek, RN, soon created a single treatment plan, collaborating with all providers and therapists. The Hospital for Special Care also guided Max’s team at school to ensure everyone is aligned and working together.

“For the first time, we are confident we have a team looking at Max and all of his needs and coordinating all associated treatments and therapies,” continued Ian. “We’ve seen great success thus far and hope for even more improvement as we continue.”

Hospital for Special Care earned recognition as a PCSP for the Autism Program in 2015. It is the first autism program to do so. The hospital is now pursuing similar NCQA Recognition for additional specialties.

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