Dayton area family speaks out for preserving and improving children’s access to pediatric healthcare
proposed cuts to national programs would harm kids ability to access timely, quality pediatric healthcare
A local family is taking their story to Washington, D.C. this month to meet with federal legislators and to ask them to take action to protect care for children in the face of proposed cuts to national healthcare programs kids and pediatric providers rely on.
Nine-month-old Amelia Cutter and her family will join nearly 30 other child patients and their families traveling to the nation’s capital to help bring to life the importance of adequate funding for pediatric care as part of the Children’s Hospital Association’s Family Advocacy Day, taking place July 23-25, 2012. The event includes one-on-one congressional visits, a congressional luncheon, a tour of Washington and a celebratory dinner to honor the child patients known as Family Advocacy Day “All Stars.”
The Cutter family, from Liberty Township, knows firsthand the value of quality pediatric care. Just days after birth, one of Amelia Cutter’s nurses noticed the first episode of supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), which is a very rapid heartbeat. The baby was rushed to the special care nursery where her mother delivered and it was determined Amelia’s heart was racing between 250-300 beats per minute.
After a quick consult with one of Dayton Children’s pediatric cardiologists, Amelia was quickly transferred to Dayton Children’s Regional Level III Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Michael Ralston, MD, one of the Dayton Children’s pediatric cardiologists caring for Amelia, noticed a small anomaly on Amelia’s EKG (electrocardiogram) that is consistent with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPW), which can cause the SVTs Amelia was experiencing. WPW is a congenital heart condition in which the heart has an extra electrical pathway, and is one of the most common causes of fast heart rate disorders in infants and children.
Amelia is now thriving, steadily gaining weight since going home. The Cutters manage the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome by using the heart monitor at night and giving daily beta blockers to control Amelia’s heart rate. Amelia has monthly appointments with the cardiologists at Dayton Children’s.
“We feel incredibly blessed for the specialized care and attention Amelia receives from the pediatric specialists and specially trained nurses at Dayton Children’s,” said Sara Cutter. “Timely access to pediatricians and specialists for all children is critical. We’re taking our story to Washington to help our leaders recognize the need to protect and preserve quality health care for kids all across the country.”
Experts agree that several proposals have the potential to harm children’s access to care.
- Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME), a national program solely devoted to helping children’s hospitals train pediatricians and pediatric specialists, supports the training and development of nearly half of all pediatricians and pediatric specialists practicing in the U.S. Unfortunately, CHGME funding is far below the support needed to close the gap between demand for care and the supply of pediatric specialists. The result is a national shortage of pediatric specialists.
- Medicaid, a federal-state program that provides health coverage to one in three children faces proposals that would slash program funding. President Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposes Medicaid cuts of $56 billion over a 10-year period. The House fiscal year 2013 budget proposes capping the amounts of funding states receive for Medicaid, which could negatively impact children’s health care.
“Because kids get sick, and some kids get very sick, timely access to well-trained pediatricians and pediatric specialists should be a priority for Congress,” said Vicki Giambrone, vice president of marketing and external relations at Dayton Children’s. “Children are not small adults. They are constantly growing and developing, and need specially trained health care providers who can meet their needs. To ensure they get the best care to grow and succeed child health programs should be protected, not cut.”
The Children’s Hospital Association will release findings from a survey of children’s hospitals to better understand the impact of pediatric specialist shortages on children’s ability to access timely medical care. The release will occur during Family Advocacy Day (July 23–25).
About the Children’s Hospital Association
The Children’s Hospital Association advances child health through innovation in the quality, cost and delivery of care. Representing more than 220 children’s hospitals, the Association is the voice of children’s hospitals nationally. The Association advances public policy enabling hospitals to better serve children, and is the premier resource for pediatric data and analytics driving improved clinical and operational performance of member hospitals. Formed in 2011, the Association brings together the strengths and talents of three organizations: Child Health Corporation of America (CHCA), National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI) and National Association of Children’s Hospitals (N.A.C.H.).
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