Today, Children's Hospital Association (CHA) CEO Mark Wietecha released the following statement commending the introduction of H.R. 5131, the Pediatric Access to Critical Healthcare (PATCH) Act, by Rep. Tony Cárdenas, D-Calif., and fellow Californians representatives Nanette Barragán, Judy Chu, Lucille Roybal-Allard and Barbara Lee. In addition, we thank Senator Alex Padilla, D-Calif., who has announced his intent to introduce companion legislation in the Senate. The bill would provide grants to improve pediatric care capacity and dedicate funding for national pediatric preparedness response investments.
"On behalf of children's hospitals and the patients and families we serve, Children's Hospital Association thanks Congressman Tony Cárdenas, Senator Alex Padilla and co-sponsors Congresswomen Nanette Barragán, Judy Chu, Lucille Roybal-Allard and Barbara Lee, for the timely introduction of the PATCH Act. The legislation would provide necessary pediatric capacity support to children's hospitals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We must invest in the pediatric safety net if we are to emerge from this pandemic with a stronger health care system for all children. We look forward to continuing meaningful discussions with the bill sponsors and Rep. Cárdenas to advance this important piece of legislation."
In its weekly report with the American Academy of Pediatrics, CHA notes that the number of children with COVID-19 infections rose above 200,000 for the first time since January of 2020. Children requiring hospitalization and treatment for conditions, including COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and mental illness, depend on children's hospitals for that care.