Imagine that your child becomes seriously ill- but the hospital refuses treatment because of lack of funding for adequate care. There are no children’s doctors to provide treatment. What do you do?
“As City, State and Federal governments grapple with budget crises and looming cuts, families that rely on government funding and organizations that serve them, such as Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, are gravely concerned about how proposed government cuts would affect our country’s most critically ill children.
These cuts would severely compromise the ability of pediatric specialists and children’s hospitals to continue providing quality healthcare.
Children’s Memorial Hospital, the largest provider of pediatric Medicaid services in Illinois, has always faced challenges when it comes to government funding and Medicaid reimbursement….
Illinois’ state budget proposals are calling for a 6 percent reduction to hospital Medicaid reimbursement rates, which would amount to a $10 million cut to Children’s Memorial Hospital.
In addition, pending a move to mandatory managed care, there could be an additional 15 percent reduction in Medicaid reimbursement payments to hospitals. All of this is on top of our losses last fiscal year due to the Medicaid program’s inadequate reimbursement – $39 million loss to our hospital and $32 million loss to our physicians….
For the past 11 years, children in this country have benefited tremendously from a little-known, modest federally funded pediatric training program.
CHGME helps subsidize the significant yet necessary cost of training pediatric residents, including pediatric specialists, at 56 freestanding children’s hospitals across the country.
While other hospitals receive funding through Medicare for training residents, CHGME is the only federal program that funds graduate medical education at freestanding children’s hospitals – including Children’s Memorial Hospital.
The President’s proposed budget eliminates this program entirely.”
For full article: “Protecting Children’s Healthcare” by Patrick Magoon/March 31, 2011: http://www.childrensmemorial.org/newsroom/gme-medicaid-cuts.aspx
Children’s Memorial Hospital is only one hospital, but not the only one that will be facing severe budget cuts and doctor shortages.
There is nothing more important than the health and happiness of a child, and preserving the well being of our future generation. Although significant progress has been made in protecting the welfare of children’s health in recent years, the threat of proposed cuts could mean one in three children are without the access to care they need.
Medicaid, which is the single largest children’s health insurance program (insuring more than one in three children and covering half of all children who receive care in a children’s hospital), is a crucial component for the well being of children.
Proposed legislation to transform Medicaid and limit federal support to states threatens children’s health care coverage and benefits, as it would radically alter access to care and health benefits.
Another current issue being faced is the elimination or reduction of funding for the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME).
The program aids in the training of 40 percent of the nation’s pediatricians and in 2009, it supported the training of 5,361 resident pediatricians.
However, even with CHGME’s success, hospitals still report difficulties in finding enough pediatric specialists to meet the growing needs of their communities. By compromising the pediatric workforce, the quality of children’s health care is in danger of being threatened even further.
When I spoke to Lawrence A. McAndrews, President and CEO of the National Association of Children’s Hospitals (N.A.C.H.), he addressed these concerns while remaining hopeful. The interview took place on July 25th, N.A.C.H. 2011 Family Advocacy Day, a time when patients and their families were making their voices heard.
McAndrews was in Washington with thirty families facing the crisis of Medicaide cuts first hand. “Since Medicaide currently covers one in two children being seen in a children’s hospital, this is a serious issue for many. We’re hoping to put a face to it.
I think everybody wants to do the right thing for children. We want to remind legislators that this is an important priority. While it is important that we address the deficit and long term financial health of the country, children are the future of the country, and a good long term investement. When funding is weakened at any institution, the institution is weakened and this affects everyone.
For more information and how you can get involved: http://www.childrenshospitals.net
About: Lawrence A. McAndrews has become a national spokesman on children’s issues and the changing health care marketplace since becoming president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI) in September 1992.
A hospital executive since 1971, McAndrews was president and chief executive officer at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO, for six years before coming to NACHRI. McAndrews previously served as administrator of the Prentice Women’s Hospital and, before that, of the Institute of Psychiatry, both components of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, the teaching site for Northwestern University.