When Colin O’Reilly, DO, FAAP, FACOP, FCCM, makes a social determinants of health referral in his pediatric hospital, he can’t just send the child and family to any social services provider. He has to make sure that social service is completely accessible, both in its physical space and how it serves patients.
That’s because O’Reilly works at Children’s Specialized Hospital, a part of RWJBaranabas Health in New Jersey, where he’s the vice president and chief medical officer. Children’s Specialized Hospital delivers care to kids with disabilities and specialized care needs both in its flagship inpatient acute rehab hospital and in its 15 outpatient centers across the state.
Delivering care to kids with disabilities is different from a neurotypical population, O’Reilly said in an interview with PatientEngagementHIT, because these children and their families have more specialized care needs.
Those differences are playing out in health disparities and inequities, with individuals with disabilities facing worse health outcomes than their counterparts. In December 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) published data showing that, globally, an individual with a disability might die up to 20 years earlier than someone without.