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STEP Frequently Asked Questions

What is the STEP Program?
STEP, Staging Transition for Every Patient, is a bridge program to help pediatric patients with disabilities and those with complex care needs move from pediatric care to adult care. To be most successful, this process should start at an early age. It involves a lot of planning and should be individualized to each patient’s specific needs.

Who does the program assist?
The STEP program is designed to meet the transitional needs of individuals who are disabled or have complex care needs and are transitioning from pediatric care at Children’s of Alabama in order to transfer to adult care at UAB.

When you say transition and transfer of care what do you mean? Are they the same thing? 
Transition is the process of preparing for independence, planning for adult life, and thinking about changes that will be coming. The transition process also includes increasing health awareness and knowledge of one’s condition. It shifts from caregiver-centered (i.e., parent, guardian, etc.) to individual patient-centered communication. 

Transfer of care happens at the end of the transition process and is the single step of shifting from one provider in the pediatric setting to a comparable adult provider.

When should I start thinking about transition?
As soon as possible. We encourage patients and their families to start having discussions about transition during their visits to Children’s of Alabama and work through the transition with their pediatric medical providers during the early teen years with the purpose of entering the UAB STEP clinic at age 18.

We are here to help!
Our goal is to prevent interruptions in medical care and provide support services such as physical therapy, social services, counseling, and emergency planning within a single primary care setting. The Children’s of Alabama transition team will educate you and your family on various topics such as health insurance, scheduling adult providers, and keeping track of appointments. 

If your transition process does not happen through Children’s, or you have not completed the transfer of care to adult providers at UAB or somewhere else, STEP Clinic is still here to help you. 

Our providers give primary care services to patients age 18 and older and have connections with the extensive network of specialists at UAB. This allows for easier referrals to the adult specialists you need. We work to develop an individualized transition plan for each patient and their family. 

This aspect of the transition process can be supported through a referral to Children’s Rehabilitation Services (CRS)’ Teen Transition Clinic, or Children’s Harbor transition services.

Are there requirements to participate and how can I get an appointment in STEP clinic?
To be seen in the STEP clinic, individuals should be 18 years or older and have a disability or complex medical needs.  Patients can be referred by their primary care physician, their specialists, or you can self-refer by calling Beth McGee at selmore@uabmc.edu or 205-801-7442.

Why is STEP so important?
Due to advancements in medicine and technology, individuals with disabilities or significant complex medical needs live well into adulthood. Recent data suggests that 90% of individuals with disabilities live to at least 20 years old. STEP is meeting the needs of patients with medical complexity by identifying adult partners to provide care. STEP places an emphasis on uninterrupted, and dedicated care, with open lines of communication across Children’s of Alabama and UAB.

Additionally, we work to better prepare primary care physicians and healthcare providers across the state of Alabama through educational methods. We also identify community partners and resources to share with families, and help patients and their families understand the transition process, both medically and socially.

I love my pediatric care team! Do I really have to leave?
For most patients, there is a point where the level of care available from adult providers is aligned better with a patient’s needs and life desires. We recognize that every transition is individualized for the patient needs so that the safest, most appropriate care is received. We will work to identify adult providers for each specific need.

What about insurance?
The STEP clinic is able to provide care to all patients regardless of insurance.

I noticed that your website lists several people as contacts. Who should I, or my doctor, start with?
If you are at least 18 years old and seeking an appointment in STEP clinic, you can contact the STEP Nurse Coordinator, Beth McGee at selmore@uabmc.edu or 205-801-7442.

I am a physician needing information, where do I start?
If you are a physician seeking an appointment in STEP clinic for your patients, you can contact the STEP Nurse Coordinator, Beth McGee at selmore@uabmc.edu or 205-801-7442.
For information about STEP or guidance to connect with UAB physicians and specialists because you are treating a patient with a disability or complex condition of childhood, please contact Phillip Crain our Program Navigator at pcrain@uab.edu