As one of only 50 freestanding children’s hospitals in the country, over the past year, Dayton Children’s worked hard to be sure that federal leaders understood the unique health care needs of children during the health care reform conversation.
After months of advocacy on behalf of children, we were pleased to see the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act pass with provisions to improve access to care, such as:
- prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions,
- extending authority and funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP),
- providing pilot programs in delivery reforms through Medicaid and CHIP,
- requiring that Medicaid pay at least Medicare rates for primary care physician services.
While federal health care reform takes some first steps in improving health care for children, we know there is a lot of work still to do to address specific issues that could greatly increase access to pediatric health care. The right prescription for children’s health care includes better Medicaid reimbursement for pediatric specialists and a reduction in cuts in funding for hospitals that have a disproportionately high Medicaid caseload, including Dayton Children’s.
This inadequate reimbursement results in shortages of services and pediatric specialists, and that translates into long wait times for specialist appointments, hardships on families forced to travel long distances for care, and high emergency room use.
Our number one priority is to save, protect and enhance the lives of children by ensuring access to exceptional quality pediatric health care, regardless of their ability to pay.
This means our job is not done. Dayton Children’s will continue to be the safety net for all children, and we will continue to be hopeful that as we move forward the House and Senate leadership will focus on efforts to address these inequalities and improve access to specialty care for all of our nation’s children.
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