March 31 was a big day for many health care advocates—the last day in 2014 families could sign up for coverage through the health insurance marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, unlike the marketplaces, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) allow children to enroll in health coverage year round.
Unfortunately, the future of CHIP coverage is uncertain beyond September 2015, when the current program will expire. If Congress fails to renew funding, many children will lose the child-specific protections in CHIP, become subject to the limited open enrollment periods through the marketplaces or lose health insurance coverage altogether.
The lynchpin in children accessing the health care they need is ensuring there are enough pediatricians and pediatric specialists who have received the highly specialized training required to successfully care for this population. In some areas, certain specialists are so scarce that it may take weeks or even months for a child to get an appointment.
Yesterday evening, the House of Representatives passed a bill that will help support the programs that train these much needed specialists. The bill, S. 1557, passed the Senate at the end of 2013 and now goes to the president for his signature to become law. The bill extends authorization for Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) through 2018.
Few people know that heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children. In fact, according to Safe Kids Worldwide, an average of 10 children die each day from heatstroke in a vehicle. “Young children are particularly at risk for heatstroke related injuries,” said the organization. “Their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s.”
The hospitalization of a child can be particularly stressful on the patient and the family. Children can be confused and uncomfortable in new surroundings. Parents often find that they don’t know the right way to manage their child’s overall hospital experience. That is where child life services and specialists are integral to understanding what a child needs to make it through their time spent receiving care away from home.
Much of childhood is marked by increased curiosity and a desire to explore. While we celebrate this aspect of a child’s early years, the fun and games stop when that curiosity leads to the accidental ingestion of chemicals or medicines that are harmful and poisonous.
Among the many issues children’s hospitals advocate for nationally, one stands out: Medicaid. Medicaid matters for kids because it provides health coverage for so many kids — nearly one in three children nationwide. Within the Medicaid population is a group of roughly 2 million children for whom Medicaid is truly a lifeline. These kids are medically complex meaning they have multiple conditions like cerebral palsy and congenital heart disease affecting multiple body systems. And they require medical care from as many as 10 different pediatric specialists located in multiple hospitals.
We all need sleep; but while teens and adults face the challenge of getting eight full hours of rest, children and babies have a different set of obstacles to a safe night of sleep. During National Sleep Awareness week (March 2 - 9, 2014), we wanted to highlight some safe sleep practices for parents and babies.
During National Patient Safety Awareness Week (March 2 – 8, 2014), a national learning network of children’s hospitals—Children’s Hospitals’ Solutions for Patient Safety (SPS) and the Children’s Hospital Association—are collaborating to offer safety tips for families to follow when visiting the hospital with their child.
On Thursday, Feb. 20, the Association and eight allied organizations held an educational lunch briefing on Capitol Hill to a standing-room only crowd of more than 100 attendees, primarily Hill staffers. The briefing, “CHIP = Healthy Kids: Building on State Successes to Address the Health Care Needs of Children,” presented information about the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), including its history and structure, and highlighted state experiences in providing health coverage for millions of low-income children. Among the materials distributed to attendees was an open letter to President Obama and congressional leaders, co-signed by more than 400 organizations from across the country, urging leaders to reauthorize CHIP. The message from the briefing was clear: CHIP needs to be reauthorized.
February is Children’s Dental Health Awareness month, a time to reflect on the type of dental hygiene education kids receive to maintain a healthy smile for life. The Children’s Dental Health Project has released some new facts about this topic and ways we can help improve our children’s overall health by promoting proper oral care from the start.