Health care reform has made important progress in ensuring that America’s 70 million children have health care coverage with benefits that meet their unique health care needs. Families of child patients of America’s children’s hospitals understand that access to timely, high quality pediatric care can save lives. That’s why one Beavercreek teen and his family traveled to Washington, D.C. to discuss their personal health care story with lawmakers who are carefully monitoring how health reform implementation rolls out.
Sixteen-year-old Michael Dosedel joined more than 30 other families from across the nation as part of the June 15 and 16 National Association of Children’s Hospitals (N.A.C.H.) Family Advocacy Day. The two-day event included one-on-one Congressional visits, a tour of Washington, D.C. and a celebratory dinner to honor the child patients known as Family Advocacy Day “All Stars.”
“Ensuring that America’s children have health insurance coverage is a great step, but it’s just one step. We have to be sure that legislators understand that giving health insurance coverage does not guarantee a child access to high quality pediatric care,” said Vicki Giambrone, vice president of marketing and external relations at Dayton Children’s.
“For example, the current need for appointments with a pediatric specialist far exceeds the availability, resulting in long wait times for specialty appointments. Our priority is to help our legislators understand they can help us help families access the right care at the right time and in the right setting.”
The Dosedel family came to recognize the importance of access to high quality pediatric care through their own personal experiences. Michael woke up on the day after Christmas in 1996 and told his parents, Stefan and Ginger, that his “ankle” hurt. His pediatrician recognized a problem and referred Michael to a pediatric hematologist/oncologist, who diagnosed him with stage IV rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare muscle cancer.
Although Michael has been in remission since 1997, he undergoes physical therapy to lessen orthopedic problems that have developed because of past radiation treatments. The Dosedels moved to Beavercreek a few years ago because Stefan, who is on active duty in the US Air Force, was reassigned. The Dosedels heard positive reviews of the pediatric hematology/oncology department at Dayton Children’s and are delighted with the care they have received.
“The care we received at Dayton Children’s has made all the difference in Michael’s improvement,” said Ginger. “We hope that by hearing our story, our legislators will appreciate the real needs that still exist, even with the passage of health care reform.”
Children’s hospitals account for less than five percent of all hospitals nationwide, but they provide nearly 40 percent of all hospital care for children and the majority of care for children with serious medical conditions. They are responsible for providing training for the majority of pediatricians and virtually all pediatric subspecialists and research scientists.
The Dosedel family met with Congressmen Steve Austria, Michael Turner and Jim Jordan. They also met with staff from Senator George Voinovich, Senator Sherrod Brown and Congressman John Boehner’s office.
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