Call for Focus on Children’s Mental Health in Next Congress
WASHINGTON, DC — This week, Congress passed a COVID-19 relief package paired with an FY 2021 omnibus funding bill that included policies that help sustain children’s hospitals. As the nation’s pediatric safety net, they see firsthand the effects of the pandemic on children including an emergent mental health crisis.
“The impact of COVID-19 to children’s hospitals risks their ability to deliver care to the nation’s children who are in crisis,” said Mark Wietecha, CEO of Children’s Hospital Association (CHA). “We appreciate that Congress worked to pass a compromise bill that includes provisions beneficial to health care delivery in the near term. Work is still needed to specifically address children’s health needs.”
A delay of cuts to Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments until FY 2024 and inclusion of additional policies related to supplemental payments are among provisions benefitting providers like children’s hospitals. Unlike most hospitals serving patients who are adults, children’s hospitals rely on Medicaid, not Medicare. The pandemic’s financial impact on children’s hospitals exacerbated the effect of Medicaid underpayment on these institutions, putting the safety net for vulnerable children at risk.
In addition to advocating to improve Medicaid for kids, children’s hospitals will work with Congress to secure additional provider relief and immediate federal support to expand access to children’s behavioral health care to enable earlier intervention and reduce the numbers of children in severe crisis.
About the Children's Hospital Association
The Children’s Hospital Association is the national voice of more than 220 children’s hospitals, advancing child health through innovation in the quality, cost and delivery of care.