Children's Hospitals Today - Winter 2014 - (Page 30)

associationnews TASK FORCE UPDATE Ensuring a safe surgical environment T he Task Force for Children's Surgical Care-leaders from pediatric and subspecialty organizations-developed standards for children's surgical centers to ensure a child's medical and surgical needs are matched to a center's resources. The group is tackling issues such as defining optimal resources, workforce adequacy, ambulatory surgery environments, family travel burden and rural access. With facilitation by Keith Oldham, M.D., and support from the Association, the group's recommendations focus on the best outcomes for each child and are deemed voluntary. The work has culminated in a manuscript, "Optimal Resources for Children's Surgical Care in the United States," which is in press with the Journal of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). The ACS verification-modeled after the successful trauma verification process, which has been in place for decades-is in development. The surgical sections and the anesthesia section of the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) have recommended the initiative continue. The task force continues population-based data collection and research focused on the question: Will outcomes improve if resources are matched to the individual patient need? The group hopes that by identifying the appropriate facilities, equipment and personnel, providers can organize care in the best interest of patients. -Keith Oldham, M.D., clinical vice president of surgery, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin; and Jacqueline Kueser PUBLIC POLICY The fate of CHIP It's time to raise our voices as Congress decides whether to renew funding. T he Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) represents a national investment in children's health that pre-dates the Affordable Care Act (ACA), providing benefits, provider networks and cost-sharing protections designed with children's needs in mind. Participating families can access networks of pediatric providers through their plans, and they are protected from out-of-pocket costs that exceed 5 percent of their family income. CHIP's policies also allow states to streamline enrollment to reach more children, bringing uninsured rates for this population to an all-time low. But, if Congress fails to renew funding for the program by September 2015, up to 13 million children could transition into the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) exchange plans, leaving advocates concerned about losing child-specific protections that don't exist in adult-focused exchange plans. These plans are not expected to provide children with comprehensive pediatric benefits, such as habilitative therapies or ancillary services that are critical for children with chronic or complex conditions. Exchange plans may neglect to include children's hospitals-or other pediatric providers-in their networks without repercussion under the general network adequacy regulations. The exchange plans may also be unaffordable for families with children who fall under the "kid glitch," which will leave some ineligible for premium tax credits, potentially causing many children to remain uninsured. To prevent this, children's advocates are working with Congress to renew CHIP before it expires. The Association and six leading national organizations released a document, "Renewing our Commitment to Children's Health," explaining that children need comprehensive, affordable and continuous coverage that ensures access to high quality care. Based on these concepts, some lawmakers are in the early stages of conceptualizing potential legislation to enhance and protect children's health care by extending and making improvements to CHIP. One challenge children's advocates will face in reauthorizing CHIP will be the changing political landscape over the course of 2014 and 2015. A number of congressional champions of the program have announced that they will not seek another term. The top two democrats on the Senate Finance Committee, Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Sen. Jay Rockefeller IV (D-WV), have announced they will not be returning to the Senate in 2015. Rockefeller's leadership in the final year of his incumbency will be critical for maintaining CHIP into the future. The fate of CHIP could also depend on the outcome of the 2014 elections. While the House is predicted to maintain a Republican majority, the Senate is within a handful of seats of switching to Republican leadership. CHIP is popular in many conservative states and has regularly received strongly bipartisan votes to reauthorize the program. However, it's hard to predict political dynamics and whether lawmakers will be prepared to take on health system improvements in the first nine months of a new Congress. Because of CHIP, in addition to Medicaid, the rates of uninsured children have dropped to historic lows. These gains have provided stable, cost-effective, pediatric-specific coverage to millions of children. But it is up to us, along with children's advocates, to raise our voices as Congress decides the fate of CHIP. -Shannon Lovejoy and Jennifer Rudisill Because of CHIP, rates of uninsured children have dropped. 30 children's hospital s today Winter 2014 childrenshospital

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Children's Hospitals Today - Winter 2014

Children's Hospitals Today - Winter 2014
Edito's Note
President's Message
First Person
Everyday Hero
Reader Commentary
Helping Kids Affected by Burns
Behind the Numbers
Hands On
Healing Spaces
Board Member q&a
Public Policy Update
Child’s Story

Children's Hospitals Today - Winter 2014