On Monday July 16, the Congressional Children’s Health Care Caucus helped host the last briefing in a four-part series addressing why Medicaid is essential to children’s health care. The briefing focused on reducing “red tape” barriers for children enrolled in Medicaid. In addition to providing a background on the issues most important in pediatric mental health, panelists discussed various initiatives that work to reduce administrative burdens to patients, and improve quality of care for children. The briefing was sponsored by the Children’s Hospital Association (formerly the National Association of Children’s Hospitals), the American Academy of Pediatrics, Family Voices, First Focus, March of Dimes, and the Georgetown Center for Children and Families.
- Kate Linzey, Mother of Annabelle, a child caught up in red tape
- Renee Fox, MD, FAAP, Associate Professor, Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Maryland School of Medicine
- Jodi A. Ray, MA, Project Director, Florida Covering Kids & Families, University of South Florida College of Public Health
- Stan Dorn, JD, Senior Fellow, Health Policy Center, Urban Institute
Congresswoman Kathy Castor (D-FL), a co-chair of the Congressional Children’s Health Care Caucus, gave opening remarks at the briefing, and spoke to the relevance of the topic given the Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Said Castor, “It’s timely to talk about how we work to make health care work better for families in America. We need to take the right next steps for our families as we work to expand Medicaid in the states.”
Kate Linzey, the mother of a young daughter named Annabelle spoke to the “red tape,” she and her family experienced while securing her daughter’s Medicaid application. She spoke to steps to help families like hers, with permanently disabled children eligible for Medicaid their entire lives, to better access coverage such as automatic renewals and expressway eligibility. She also spoke to how critical the Medicaid program, and the services it covers, is to her family, “Without Medicaid, we would be unable to care for our child.”
Providing a clinic perspective was Renee Fox, MD, FAAP, an associate professor in Neonatology at the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine. Dr. Fox spoke to the difference between eligible and enrolled, and the need to enroll all Medicaid-eligible children in the program. She also spoke to CHIPRA (Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act) provisions that need to be included in the budget process including 12-month continuous coverage, automatic renewals, presumptive eligibility and express lane eligibility.
The third presenter, Jodi Ray, Program Director of the Florida Covering Kids & Families program, spoke to barriers at the state level in reducing red tape in Medicaid. Medicaid provides access to health care for over 1,736,000 of Florida’s children. Ray spoke to the importance of Medicaid to these children as it means children receive the care they need like well-child check-ups, medical, vision, dental, and hospital care. She also spoke to the additional pressure state Medicaid programs face as more children are enrolled in Medicaid due to the recession.
The final presenter, Stan Dorn of the Health Policy Center at the Urban Institute discussed some of the solutions that are being used in states to reduce “red tape” barriers in Medicaid. Specifically he spoke to the state of Louisiana’s Medicaid program which has seen major success in improving enrollment rates for children. This success was due to recent innovative initiatives in electronic case records, automatic renewal and express lane eligibility.
For More Information Contact: Jenny Robbins, Assistant Director of Federal Affairs, Children’s Hospital Association, 703-797-6040, firstname.lastname@example.org.