06-04-2010 (Dayton, OH) -
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 are traveling 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 is joining 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 includes one-on-one Congressional visits, a luncheon on Capitol Hill with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (invited), 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 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.”
Read Michael’s blog post about his experience at Dayton Children’s.
Advocates for accessible pediatric care point to key challenges that still exist for children and families seeking care, including:
- Low Medicaid reimbursement for pediatric care, which limits the number of Medicaid patients primary care pediatricians can afford to see and the number of physician residents choosing to pursue pediatric specialties;
- A national shortage of pediatric specialists;
- The threat of additional state-level Medicaid cuts, which can impact all children, regardless of health care insurance status;
- Inconsistent quality measures and incentives across states;
- Cuts in supplemental funding (disproportionate share hospital or DSH payments) that support care for Medicaid patients in children’s hospitals;
- Continued support for the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education program that enables children’s hospitals to train pediatricians and pediatric specialists.
About the National Association of Children’s Hospitals
The National Association of Children’s Hospitals – N.A.C.H. – is the public policy affiliate of NACHRI. N.A.C.H. is a trade organization of 141 children’s hospitals and supports children’s hospitals in addressing public policy issues that affect their ability to fulfill their missions to serve children and their families. N.A.C.H. fulfills its mission and vision through federal advocacy, collaboration and communication designed to strengthen the ability of children’s hospitals and health systems to influence public policy makers, understand federal and state policy issues, advance access and quality of health care for all children, and sustain financially their missions of clinical care, education, research and advocacy.
For more information on Family Advocacy Day and to follow the event on Twitter (#FAD10), visit www.childrenshospitals.net.
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