Department of Public Health

Children's Special Health Care Services

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The State of Michigan recently expanded Children's Special Health Care Services to include individuals who qualify for the program up to the age of 26.

For more information, contact Brenda Kempf, Ottawa County CSHCS Representative, at 616-393-4445 or the CSHCS Family Phone Line in Lansing at 1-800-359-3722.

Children’s Special Health Care Services (CSHCS) is a program for families whose children have ongoing, special health care needs. Services are provided to individuals from birth to age 26. Eligibility is based on medical diagnosis, not on income. You may still be eligible for the program even if you have other health insurance.

Children's Special Health Care Services

What may be covered by CSHCS?

  • Visits to specialists.
  • Specialized equipment such as wheelchairs when they relate to the CSHCS qualifying medical condition.
  • Medications for the CSHCS qualifying medical condition.
  • Coordination of medical services and bills.
  • Travel and lodging expenses related to treatment and care for the qualifying medical condition.
  • Medical bills for a child who has recently died.
  • Assistance identifying community resources for your family.

What is NOT covered by CSHCS?

  • Primary care, well-child care, mental health care needs, experimental health care, or incontinence supplies.

Eligibility for CSHCS

Eligibility is determined by a medical physical diagnosis.

This does not include developmental, behavioral or intellectual conditions. Severity, chronicity of the condition and the need for treatment is evaluated by a MDHHS medical consultant.

  1. Residency - A person must be a Michigan resident to receive CSHCS.
  2. Citizenship - U.S. citizens and some non-citizens may qualify for CSHCS coverage. Citizenship restrictions do not apply to migrant farm worker families.
  3. Age - Adults with sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis and certain blood clotting disorders over the age of 26 may be eligible for the program.
There are more than 2,700 medical diagnoses that CSHCS may cover.

These include (but are not limited to):

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Applying for CSHCS

Contact Ottawa County Department of Public Health: 616-393-4445 or bkempf

Contact the CSHCS Family Phone Line: 1-800-359-3722 or

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Transition to Adulthood

Reaching 18 or Reaching 26

Children's Special Health Care Services covers eligible individuals until the day before their 26th birthday or regardless of age if they are covered under the diagnosis of Cystic Fibrosis or certain blood clotting disorders. When children reach age 18, the financial payment agreement is filled out with respect to the client's income; it must also be signed by the child unless someone else has legal guardianship at that time. If you have not recently had a visit with your CSHCS nurse and you/ your child is within 6 months of reaching age 18 or 26, please call to schedule a visit or phone call with your nurse so that we can better assist with any questions or concerns you might have regarding these transitions.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are incontinence supplies covered by CSHCS?

    CSHCS does not provide assistance with incontinence supplies. Incontinence supplies may be a benefit of Medicaid coverage. Contact your DHS caseworker for more information.

  • Is travel and lodging a benefit of CSHCS?

    Travel reimbursement (mileage and lodging) has been restored for the budget year October 2010-September 2011. We thank our advocates and families who worked so hard to get travel reinstated for this fiscal year. To receive travel reimbursement you must contact CSHCS prior to the date(s) of travel. For travel in Michigan contact Brenda Kempf for more information. For travel outside of Michigan contact the family phone line 1-800-359-3722. This benefit allows for mileage reimbursement at the Medicaid rate.

  • Why did my provider list (CEN) change?

    The medical consultants at CSHCS in Lansing periodically review the medical services being received by clients. This review sometimes results in finding that a service being covered was no longer necessary for treatment of or was not relevant to the child's CSHCS covered condition. Or, it might be determined that the condition your child has no longer meets the severity criteria established by CSHCS.

    • If you disagree with the decision made, you might start by calling your child's local CSHCS nurse.
    • You may also call the CSHCS Family Phone Line at 1-800-359-3722. They may be able to assist you or help you begin the appeals process if necessary
  • What should I do if I have a grievance or complaint regarding CSHCS?

    If you have complaints or concerns with your CSHCS health care or your CSHCS provider call or write the Department of Community Health (DCH) about your complaint:

    Department of Community Health
    Administrative, Tribunal and Appeals Division
    PO Box 30763
    Lansing MI 48909-7695

    To appeal a negative action, such as CSHCS not paying a bill or not approving a service, complete the form you received when you were notified of the decision. Your request must explain the problem in writing. Mail the form to:

    Department of Community Health
    Administrative Tribunal and Appeals Division
    PO Box 30763
    Lansing, Michigan 48909-7695

    If you have questions, call the CSHCS Family Phone Line at 1-800-359-3722.

  • What should I do if I want to go to a provider not on the Eligibility Notice?

    Contact Brenda Kempf (see contact information) to see if the provider can be authorized. Without authorization, you may be responsible for the bill.

    NOTE: Pharmacies, medical equipment and supply companies, hearing and speech centers, hearing aid dealers, and home health agencies do not need to be listed on the Eligibility Notice.

  • How does CSHCS work with other insurance?

    CSHCS cannot pay for providers that your insurance will not cover. If you see a provider that your other insurance provider does not cover, CSHCS will not be able to assist you in paying for the visit either. If your insurance has "in-network" providers, you must utilize those providers rather than "out-of-network" providers.

    When you have additional insurance, present both to the providers upon receiving services. The provider will bill your primary insurance first and then bill CSHCS for the remainder. For services or prescriptions relating to the CSHCS qualifying diagnoses, you will not need to pay a co-pay when CSHCS is billed.

    If you have further questions about how your insurance works with CSHCS, call us!

  • Why did I receive this letter about needing to apply for MI Child/Healthy Kids?

    Beginning 11/2010, clients renewing or enrolling in CSHCS whose reported income indicates they may be eligible for MI Child/ Healthy Kids are required to apply. Once notified, if you do not apply, CSHCS coverage will expire in 90 days. When the application is received and processed, coverage will be extended through the remainder of your coverage year.

    It is in your best interest to apply on-line (! This will speed processing, which allows your coverage for CSHCS to be extended sooner.

    MI Child is a program for children less than 19 years old who have no comprehensive health insurance, including Medicaid. MI Child services include ambulance, dental services, doctor visits and health check-ups, family planning, hearing and speech therapy, hospital care, medicine, and many other services. MI Child costs only $10/month regardless of how many children in your family are covered by MI Child. The Healthy Kids program is for those under age 19 or pregnant. This service also provides health and dental services. There is no monthly premium for Healthy Kids.

  • What if I do not want to receive MI Child/ Healthy Kids services?

    You may disenroll from MI Child/ Healthy Kids once you have received notice of eligibility. You are not required to receive MI Child/ Healthy Kids in order to continue receiving coverage through CSHCS even if you are determined to be eligible.

  • What should I do if I receive a bill that I thought CSHCS would cover?

    DO NOT IGNORE THE BILL! If the bill is from a provider not listed on your eligibility notice, contact Brenda Kempf to see if they can be added. If the provider is already listed or does not need to be listed (see note below), contact the provider and ask them to bill CSHCS.

    NOTE: Pharmacies, medical equipment and supply companies, hearing and speech centers, hearing aid dealers, and home health agencies do not have to listed on the Eligibility Notice

  • Can I be reimbursed by CSHCS for bills I have already paid?

    No you cannot. Sometimes the provider will be willing to bill CSHCS and pay you back - Contact your provider.

  • What if my provider recommends a provider out of state?

    Out-of-state care always requires special approval. Please contact us for assistance in obtaining approval for out-of-state care.

  • How are Medicaid and CSHCS different?

    One major difference is in terms of eligibility. Eligibility for Medicaid is based on income whereas CSHCS eligibility is based on a qualifying medical condition.

    Another big difference is services covered. CSHCS covers only those providers and services related to the qualifying medical condition, Medicaid covers general health care expenses.

  • Why should I do a visit or phone call with my nurse?

    Our goal at Children's Special Healthcare is for each of our families to have a yearly visit with one of our Registered Nurses. This meeting allows us to update your child's medical information, and to discover ways that CSHCS can help to improve your child's health and to enhance the quality of life for your child and family.

  • How can I best prepare for a visit with my nurse?

    To prepare for your nurse visit it is helpful to have handy a list of the medicines your child is taking, and the names of doctors and providers that they see. The nurse will also review the highlights of the year with regard to your child's health such as testing, treatments, or therapies, so having this information available will be beneficial as well.

    During the meeting, your valuable input will assist the CSHCS nurse in developing goals for your child's health, including access to specialty healthcare, and for your child's and family's well-being. Also, during the meeting, please let us know of any questions you have, or any problems you are encountering with regard to your child's healthcare, development, and your child's or family's well-being. We may be able to assist you directly or to point you in the direction of other resources that are available within our community.

    Following your nurse visit, you will receive a written summary called a Plan of Care. This Plan of Care document can be used as a quick reference for future doctor visits, and as a summary to keep track of your child's yearly progress.

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Have any more great resources? Let us know!

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Your CSHCS Team: (left to right):
Lauren Potter, Brenda Kempf, Leslie Ver Duin, Aimee Dekker, Samantha Leffman, Irene Atwood, Sandra Lake

Contact the CSHCS Team

The Ottawa County CSHCS team is made up of support staff, nurses, a program representative and a supervisor. It can be a bit confusing deciding who to call when you need assistance or have a question, so we've provided a brief guide to help.

  • Changes in name, address, phone number, insurance coverage/cards should be directed to CSHCS Support, Brenda Kempf: 616-393-4445 or Irene Atwood: 616-393-4439
  • Travel/Lodging, Renewal, Additional providers, billing issues, significant changes in income should be directed to CSHCS Representative, Brenda Kempf :616-393-4445.
  • Questions relating to coverage, medical information, or case management should be directed to your Program Nurse: Aimee Dekker at (616) 393-4440, Samantha Leffman at (616) 393-4442 or Lauren Potter at (616) 393-4416.
  • To contact our CSHCS nurses, call: Aimee Dekker at (616) 393-4440, Samantha Leffman at (616) 393-4442 or Lauren Potter at (616) 393-4416.
  • To contact the Program Coordinator, Leslie Ver Duin: 616-393-4444.
  • You can also reach us toll-free via Family Phone Line: 1-800-359-3722
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