DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids is one of four Michigan hospitals which will benefit from a new grant aimed at increasing access to health care for children in Michigan.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has announced they have been awarded a $1.2 million grant for use over a three-year period from the Health Resources and Services Administration's Maternal Child and Health Systems Branch for the Michigan Pediatric Epilepsy Project.

The grant is meant to improve access to quality health care for children and youth with epilepsy in Michigan’s rural and medically underserved areas.

“This new funding opportunity will provide greater access to comprehensive services for children, youth, and their families living with epilepsy in rural and underserved areas of Michigan,” said Nick Lyon, director of MDHHS.  “By partnering with four of the major epilepsy centers in Michigan – Beaumont Children’s, Children’s Hospital of Michigan, DeVos Children’s Hospital, and UP Health System Marquette – pediatric epilepsy patients and their families will be able to more easily access specialty care to help successfully manage their epilepsy.”

More than 13,000 Michigan children up to 17 years old have active epilepsy, and roughly 25 percent of Michigan’s youth population reside in rural areas. Children in rural and underserved areas often have less access to pediatricians, pediatric sub-specialists, and coordinated care.

Strategies to improve access and epilepsy management will include training and education, direct services (care coordination, telemedicine, transition planning, epilepsy action plans), technology designed to support families, family engagement, and marketing and outreach.