Speaking out in Washington, D.C., on behalf of our patients and familiesChildren’s Hospital of Wisconsin is dedicated to advocating on behalf of our patients and families at the local, state and national level to positively impact legislation that affects the health of children and families in Wisconsin and nationwide.

Later this month, I will have the honor of visiting federal lawmakers in Washington, D.C., with one of our patient families to discuss issues impacting children’s health care. The visit is part of Children’s Hospital Association’s annual Family Advocacy Day, which provides a unique opportunity for children’s hospital patients and families to come together and advocate on issues impacting access to high-quality pediatric health care.

Maintaining a strong, stable Medicaid program

One such issue is Medicaid, which is the single largest insurer for children. Approximately 53 percent of our patients at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin are insured by Medicaid, including many with extremely complex illnesses. While children’s hospitals account for less than 5 percent of the hospitals nationwide, they provide about 47 percent of all inpatient hospital care for children on Medicaid and almost all the hospital care required by children with complex conditions.

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin believes it’s important that federal policymakers maintain a strong, stable Medicaid program so that all children, regardless of their socioeconomic status, are able to receive timely, quality health care. Having access to regular health care keeps kids healthy and keeps their cost of health care low.

Through the Children’s Hospital Association, children’s hospitals across the nation are working to advance innovative policy reforms that will lead to better care and lower costs while maintaining standards children rely upon. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is proud that our president and CEO, Peggy Troy, currently serves as chair of the Children’s Hospital Association Board of Trustees, representing children’s hospitals across the country and serving as a national spokesperson for issues affecting kids and kids’ health.

Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act

One reform that is gaining traction in Congress is the Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids (ACE Kids) Act, which seeks to improve care for children with medical complexity on Medicaid while helping contain costs.

The ACE Kids Act builds on the success of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s Special Needs Program, which provides specialized, coordinated care for kids with medical complexity. Since 2002, through this program Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin has managed the needs of approximately 600 medically complex children in the state. Our program receives high satisfaction rates from enrolled children and families and has resulted in decreased health care costs by reducing the number of days patients spend in the inpatient setting.

A voice in health policy discussions

Brian and Kelly Lynch and their daughter, Cailinn, will accompany me in Washington, D.C. Cailinn is a happy and energetic seven-year-old girl who first came to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin when she was 3 months old after being diagnosed with a rare genetic arrangement that only two other people in the entire world have been diagnosed with. Since that time, she has undergone more than two dozen surgeries and procedures. Her care — which constitutes everything from making her home environment more comfortable and conducive to her needs to speech, occupational and physical therapy — is currently coordinated through Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s Special Needs Program.

The Lynch’s will meet with members of Congress from Wisconsin on June 16 to share their story and discuss the importance of federal policies that provide Cailinn, and millions of other children, access to high-quality pediatric care.

Patients and their families are our strongest advocates when it comes to educating policymakers about the impact of public policies on children’s health and why it is important that the pediatric community has a voice in health policy discussions. We are eternally grateful to our patients and their families for courageously sharing their stories and impacting the lives of so many other children with complex medical needs.

Stay tuned for updates of the Lynch’s visit to Washington, D.C., on our social media channels!

Lindsay Punzenberger– Lindsay Punzenberger, director of federal government relations, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

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