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2012 Children's Services Archives

April 10, 2012. On March 22, the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) co-hosted a Capitol Hill briefing entitled “Medicaid Innovations.” The briefing focused on flexibility within the Medicaid program, including waivers and private initiatives, and educated congressional staff on innovations in Medicaid that lower cost and improve quality of care. This briefing was the second of four briefings in the series “Medicaid Matters for Kids,” being held in collaboration with the bipartisan Congressional Children’s Health Care Caucus.

The Association was represented on the panel by Dr. Patrick Casey of Arkansas Children’s Hospital, who spoke about Arkansas Children’s Hospital’s medical home program. The program’s enrollment consists of medically complex children followed by at least 2 subspecialty services with at least 2 chronic conditions. Casey stated that the program, which began in 2006, now has 466 active patients and saved over $3.18 million in Medicaid spending in just the first year of its existence. Casey noted that Medical homes for medically complex children are programs that can save Medicaid money while also improving care.

For more information on upcoming or past briefings, visit: http://www.childrenshospitals.net/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Washington_Update2&TEMPLATE=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=60155.

April 2, 2012. The Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) has completed its 2012 analysis of governors’ “state of the state” addresses and proposed budgets that were released. The analysis provides a snapshot of the governors’ 2012 policy agendas in different states and their implications for children's health care. As governors set forth their policy agendas for the year ahead, some states faced an improved economic outlook and fewer projected state budget shortfalls for fiscal year 2013 than in previous years. In addition, uncertainty continued to surround the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with the pending Supreme Court ruling on the law and a congressional and presidential election cycle underway. The improved economic situation, in conjunction with health reform’s uncertain future, likely led fewer governors to address Medicaid or health reform in their speeches or budget proposals this year. Specifically, half of the nation’s governors proposed measures that affect Medicaid and/or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and have implications for children in fiscal year 2013 compared to 27 governors last year. In addition, only eight governors specifically addressed ACA implementation this year, representing a significant reduction from the 14 governors who addressed this issue in 2011.

To view the CHA analysis, visit: http://www.childrenshospitals.net/AM/Template.cfm?Section=State_Tracking_and_Data&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=61293

March 26, 2012. On March 11-14, over 500 children’s hospital professionals, including representatives from Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, met in St. Louis for over two days of networking, learning and sharing at the 2012 Creating Connections Conference. 

Creating Connections is a one of a kind opportunity for children’s hospital professionals to share new ideas, learn successful solutions, discover emerging technologies and connect with hundreds of other children’s hospital leaders. This year, the conference offered more than 55 educational sessions, 40 poster presentations and two hands-on workshops for in-depth learning. Attendees explored the latest trends in children’s health and addressed today’s most complex challenges.

Educational sessions and poster presentations addressed a wide variety of topics through one of the following Learning Tracks:

  • Public Health and Child Advocacy;

  • Children’s Hospitals Within Hospitals or Systems;

  • Philanthropy;

  • Public Relations and Communications; and

  • Quality Improvement and Patient Safety

For more information and to view the Program Guide, visit http://www.childrenshospitals.net/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Creating_Connections1&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=61221.

March 19, 2012. The Virginia Congressional delegation has been invited to attend the second briefing in the four-part Medicaid Matters for Kids briefing series held Thursday, March 22 at 1 p.m. in room HVC 201 of the Capitol Visitor’s Center in Washington, D.C. The briefing, held in conjunction with the Congressional Children’s Health Care Caucus, will focus on innovations in Medicaid and will help the Children’s Hospital Association spread the message about how children’s hospitals are dedicated to innovations that improve quality while reducing costs. These briefings will also provide an excellent opportunity to educate new audiences about the role of children’s hospitals.

March 12, 2012. The Children's Hospital Association (CHA) and four children's hospital chief executive officers recently met with Marilyn Tavenner's staff. Tavenner is the Acting Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The discussion focused on exploring opportunities within existing law to allow providers to access the cost savings produced by innovations that reduce costs and improve quality, as well as the ability of CMS to examine issues that cross state borders. The Association will be following up with CMS to explore a Medicare payment and quality demonstration for children with end stage renal disease, suggestions on gain sharing models, and a potential meeting with hospitals and states to discuss multi-state issues as well as any additional quality efforts children’s hospitals would like to pursue that are not addressed through the Health Care Innovation Challenge.

March 5, 2012. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced a new initiative to increase healthy deliveries and reduce preterm births. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation will issue more than $40 million in grants to reduce the number of preterm births and early elective deliveries. The grants will be awarded to health care providers and coalitions to improve prenatal care to women covered by Medicaid. The funding will support the testing of enhanced prenatal care through several approaches under evaluation, including group visits with other pregnant women at birth centers providing case management and at maternity care homes where pregnant women have expanded access to better coordinated, enhanced prenatal care. For more information, visit http://innovations.cms.gov/initiatives/Strong-Start/index.html.

February 20, 2012. President Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2013 budget contains diminished funding for two programs that are crucial to children’s health care — Medicaid and the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program. The budget proposes cuts of $56 billion over a 10 year period to Medicaid, the single largest health coverage program for children, covering one in three nationwide. While the budget includes $88 million for pediatrician training through CHGME, the amount represents one-third of the current annual funding level of nearly $270 million — an improvement over the exclusion of the program from the president’s fiscal year 2012 budget. CHGME supports the training of 5,600 pediatricians each year at children’s teaching hospitals across the nation.

February 14, 2012. Children’s Hospital Association’s (CHA) briefing to the Congressional Children’s Health Care Caucus was a success. The focus of the briefing was Medicaid and children’s health care. The briefing was well-attended, attracting a standing-room-only crowd of approximately 100, including legislative health staffers. The panel, which included Bob Duncan, Executive Vice President of Community Services at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, addressed the basic structure of Medicaid, the children it covers and how it serves families during an economic downturn. Additionally, Jim Kaufman, Vice President of Public Policy at the Association, served as the moderator for the briefing and emphasized that children’s hospitals are committed to improving quality and access to care while reducing costs. Additional sponsors of the briefing included the American Academy of Pediatrics, First Focus, Family Voices, the Georgetown Center for Children and Families, and the March of Dimes. The briefing was the first in a four-part series addressing how Medicaid is essential to children’s health care. The next briefing will focus on innovations in Medicaid payment models and is scheduled for March 22 at 1 p.m. EST in the House Visitor Center, Room 201.

February 6, 2012. The 2011 Children's Hospital Association (CHA) State Legislative Fact Sheets summarize trends in state legislation enacted in calendar year 2011 that affect children’s health care, particularly Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The fact sheets offer a glimpse into state strategies to control health care spending in the face of record budget shortfalls. Specific strategies in 2011 have included cost-saving measures, such as reimbursement cuts and increased cost sharing, as well as implementation of managed care expansions, payment reforms, the medical home model, and global reform initiatives. In addition, states continued to use provider assessments to fund their share of Medicaid. The trends identified in the year-end fact sheets also offer insight into the potential direction of state legislative action in 2012.

To view the Fact Sheets, visit the following links:

Reimbursement for Medicaid Providers (PDF)
http://www.childrenshospitals.net/AM/Template.cfm?Section=N_A_C_H_News_and_Resources&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=60444

Health Care Coverage (PDF)
http://www.childrenshospitals.net/AM/Template.cfm?Section=N_A_C_H_News_and_Resources&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=60436

Medicaid/CHIP Financing (PDF)
http://www.childrenshospitals.net/AM/Template.cfm?Section=N_A_C_H_News_and_Resources&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=57919

Initiatives to Improve Health Care Quality (PDF)
http://www.childrenshospitals.net/AM/Template.cfm?Section=N_A_C_H_News_and_Resources&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=60437

Medicaid/CHIP Benefits and Cost Sharing (PDF)
http://www.childrenshospitals.net/AM/Template.cfm?Section=N_A_C_H_News_and_Resources&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=60442
 
Other Health Care Legislation of Interest to Children's Hospitals (PDF)
http://www.childrenshospitals.net/AM/Template.cfm?Section=N_A_C_H_News_and_Resources&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=60443

January 31, 2012. The Children’s Hospital Association (formerly NACHRI, N.A.C.H. & CHCA) is continuing efforts to ensure that the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program reauthorization legislation is enacted as early as possible in 2012. The Association is continuing to meet with stakeholders from both parties in an effort to jump-start bipartisan negotiations on moving the bill forward. As reauthorization efforts continue, the Association will work closely with government relations professionals at member hospitals on developing and implementing CHGME strategy.

The president’s fiscal year 2013 budget, originally scheduled to be released on February 6, has been delayed and expected to be available on February 13. With the budget’s pending release, the Children’s Hospital Association continues to press on multiple fronts for the president to include CHGME funding in this year’s budget, contrary to his decision last year to eliminate the program. Senior Association staff, along with Dr. Kurt Newman, CEO of Children’s National Medical Center, met with staff from the Office of Management and Budget to again make the case for including CHGME in the budget. In the meeting, Newman and Association staff emphasized the vital role that the program plays in addressing pediatric workforce shortages.

January 24, 2012. According to a recent report, half the states last year made it easier for children and their parents to enroll in Medicaid by streamlining enrollment and using technology advances to verify citizenship requirements.

The survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured also found that eight states expanded eligibility rules so more children would qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, CHIP (KHN is an editorially-independent program of the foundation). Three of the states — Illinois, Texas and Vermont — began covering lawfully residing immigrant children without first having them wait five years. CHIP helps more than 5 million children from low-income families whose incomes make them ineligible for Medicaid.

The annual 50 state survey of Medicaid programs, conducted with the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, found only two states reduced eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP. Arizona, which froze enrollment in its CHIP program in 2009, before the health law passed, continued the freeze; 129,000 children are on a waiting list for coverage. Last year, the state also froze enrollment in a temporary Medicaid program for adults without dependent children. Nevada ended a Medicaid expansion program that helped several hundred pregnant women and parents of children on Medicaid.

The federal health law prohibits states from cutting Medicaid and CHIP eligibility.  Nevada’s cut was allowed because it was only a temporary program. Among the ways states made it easier to sign up for Medicaid were using clients’ Social Security information to verify citizenship, enhancing online application tools and eliminating a face-to-face interview requirement, the survey found.  Several states also began enrolling children in CHIP based on their eligibility for other government assistance programs such as food stamps.

Federal bonus payments helped spur states to simplify Medicaid enrollment and renewal. Last year, the federal government paid $300 million to 23 states, including Virginia.

To view the report, visit http://www.kff.org/medicaid/8272.cfm.

January 16, 2012. National Association of Children’s Hospitals (N.A.C.H.) is working with the Congressional Children’s Health Care Caucus on a four-part series of Medicaid briefings in 2012, titled, “Medicaid Matters for Kids.” The Children’s Health Care Caucus is co-chaired by Representatives Dave Reichert of Washington and Kathy Castor of Florida, and has a membership of 30 representatives from the House. N.A.C.H. will also work with allied organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, March of Dimes, First Focus, and the Georgetown Center for Children and Families, on these briefings. The Association will use these briefings to promote the unique role children’s hospitals play in Medicaid, develop relationships with key congressional staff and spread N.A.C.H.’s name recognition on Capitol Hill. The briefings will also reflect upon the vulnerable position of Medicaid last year as advocates fought drastic funding cuts and will emphasize the importance of protecting Medicaid in this tough fiscal environment. The first briefing, which will be held January 25, will focus on the fundamentals of how Medicaid works for kids and will take place in the Capitol Visitor Center, room HVC 201, at 3 p.m. Congressional members and staff are welcome to attend.

January 10, 2012. Obama administration officials recently announced twenty-three states are to be awarded federal performance bonuses totaling nearly $300 million. Maryland and Virginia have qualified for the two largest amounts — $28.3 million and $26.7 million, respectively — under an incentive plan aimed at improving child enrollment rates in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. Jointly funded by states and the federal government, CHIP supplements Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor, by offering insurance to children in low-income families.

Together, the two programs are responsible for reducing the number of uninsured children from 6.6 million in 2008, just before CHIP was reauthorized, to 5.4 million in 2011, according to an analysis of survey data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition to the 1.2 million newly insured children, 3 million children who formerly had private insurance were picked up by CHIP or Medicaid over the same period.

The bonuses offset at least 15 percent of the added cost to states of covering the additional children. States that increase enrollment more than 10 percent above the baseline get a “Tier 2” bonus covering 62.5 percent of the extra cost. The 23 states that will be awarded bonuses for this year achieved increases ranging from 4 percent to 27 percent, with 16 states, including Maryland and Virginia, topping 10 percent.

For more information on today’s CHIP awards, visit http://www.insurekidsnow.gov/professionals/eligibility/performance_bonuses.html

 

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