Children with Special Health Care Needs Program (CSHCN) Including the Physically Handicapped Children's Program (PHCP)

Program Goal

To improve the system of care for children with special health care needs (CSHCN) and their families.


CSHCN are children birth to 21 years of age who have or are suspected of having a serious or chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional condition and who also require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally.

Any child with a special health care need residing in a county that has a CSHCN Program is eligible for information and referral services.


The CSHCN Program is a public health program that provides information and referral services for health and related areas for families of CSHCN. In addition, some of the local CSHCN programs offer case management services.

The CSHCN Program also has a financial component, the Physically Handicapped Children's Program (PHCP). The PHCP assists families in paying medical bills for children with severe chronic illnesses and/or physical disabilities, between birth and 21 years of age, who live in New York State and meet county medical and financial eligibility criteria.

The PHCP is located in many county health departments. Prior authorization from the local PHCP must be obtained for all services. The PHCP has two components: the Diagnosis and Evaluation Program (D&E) and the Treatment Program. The D&E Program will reimburse specialty providers for the diagnosis and development of a treatment plan for eligible children. The Treatment Program will reimburse specialty providers for the ongoing health and related services for children who are medically and financially eligible in their county of residence.

The county standards are designed to assist families with low incomes or inadequate private health insurance to obtain medical services for their children.

For More Information

To inquire about what programs (CSHCN/PHCP) may be available in your county, call the New York State Department of Health's Growing Up Healthy Hotline at 1-800-522-5006 or call your local health department in the government blue pages of the phone book.

Local program contact and other information is also available at

In New York City, contact the Division of Health Care Access and Improvement at (212) 676-2950.

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Publication 0548
Revised 10/2013