This week, over 130 children’s hospital representatives were in town for N.A.C.H.’s VIP Advocacy Day. This year in addition to going to Capitol Hill, many children’s hospitals participated in meetings with high level officials at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to discuss priority children’s health policy issues. Many of these meetings focused on particular aspects of health reform and how we can partner to ensure that implementation works for children.
Thank you to all of the children’s hospitals that participated in these meetings and contributed significantly to the success. We could not have done it without you.
As the person responsible for arranging these meetings, I am happy to say that we secured six of the seven meetings that we requested. We even had an extra meeting with White House policy staff working on health reform. It was a little nerve racking to be calling it “Children’s Hospital Day at HHS” even before any meetings were confirmed. With multiple meetings spanning three days, we ended up with “Children’s Hospital Day(s) at HHS.” Now I will be able to sleep a little better…
The main focus of these meetings was to not only build stronger relationships with HHS staff, but also to establish ourselves as a community that can contribute positively to policies for children. In every meeting, children’s hospitals provided their feedback on what works for children, related to access to care, health information technology, childhood obesity, health insurance exchanges, Medicaid delivery system reforms and program integrity. Here is a rundown of the meetings that children’s hospitals participated in:
- HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
- David Blumenthal, MD, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
- Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD
- Jay Angoff, Director of HHS’ Office of Consumer Information and Private Insurance Oversight
- Peter Budetti, MD, CMS Deputy Administrator for Program Integrity
- White House Domestic Policy Council staff
- White House Office of Health Reform staff and Health Policy staff from the Office of Management and Budget
Ever since the meetings concluded yesterday, we have begun to outline follow up items and next steps to continue the momentum we have on these issues. As a fellow staff member said to me after the last meeting concluded, “Now the real work begins.”
Christopher Durovich, President & CEO, Children’s Medical Center Dallas; Michael Farrell, President & CEO, Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital; David Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) Clinic, Children’s Hospital Boston ; Sandy Hassink, MD, FAAP, Director of Obesity Initiatives; Nemours and Suzanne Respess, Director, Government Relations, The Children's Hospital of Alabama are photographed with Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD after a successful meeting. Photograph courtsey of N.A.C.H.