Children with Special Needs

General Information 


BCMH, the Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps, is a health care program in the Ohio Department of Health.  BCMH links families of children with special health care needs to a network of quality providers and helps families obtain payment for the services their child needs.

What are special health care needs?

Special health care needs may be caused by a condition a child is born with or develops later.

How can BCMH help?
BCMH has 3 programs to help children with special health care needs:

  Diagnostic Program
  Treatment Program
  Service Coordination

All services must be given by BCMH-approved providers.

What children and conditions are eligible for BCMH? 

Those who are:

  • Age 0-21
  • Permanent residents of Ohio
  • Under the care of a BCMH-approved doctor (M.D. or D.O) and who have or may have a chronic medical condition


There is no cost to participate in BCMH

Financial eligibility is required for the Treatment Program only.

How is a child enrolled in the BCMH program?

The child’s BCMH-approved doctor (M.D. or D.O) sends a Medical Application Form to BCMH. Public health nurses can start the application process by referring families to BCMH-approved doctors. The parent or legal guardian (or client, if 18 years of age or older) must sign the release of information and consent on the application form before BCMH can act on the application.


Some of the eligible conditions are:


  • AIDS
  • Hearing loss
  • Cancer
  • Hemophilia
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Juvenile arthritis
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Metabolic disorder
  • Cleft lip/palate
  • Scoliosis
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Severe vision disorders
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Diabetes
  • Spina bifida