"Our children's health care safety net is under unprecedented strain"
WASHINGTON, DC — With pediatric COVID-19 cases increasing, hospitalizations for respiratory illness spiking and demand for acute mental health services expected to rise with return to school, Children's Hospital Association (CHA) is raising awareness through a multi-tiered campaign about the challenges children’s hospitals are facing as they care for kids. These hospitals are urging immediate action by the Biden administration, Congress and the American people to prevent further weakening of the pediatric safety net supporting all children.
"Our children's health care safety net is under unprecedented strain. Children's hospitals and their dedicated staffs are doing their part, and we hope every American, the White House and Congress can help,” explained CHA's CEO Mark Wietecha. "Given the situation on the ground, we are reaching out to draw further attention to the challenges we face that affect our kids. Our children's hospitals provide care to all children who need it, and with support directed to pediatric capacity, they can continue to meet that commitment."
In response to this 'perfect storm' of pediatric health challenges, Wietecha sent President Biden a letter on behalf of the nation's children's hospitals asking the administration for immediate support through the release of provider relief funding and any other federal workforce support that can be quickly distributed and targeted to pediatric crisis response. He echoed that message in a USA Today opinion piece published Friday, Aug. 27, in which he wrote, "As a nation, our federal government has the power and authority to ensure our children's health system is not upended, and the pediatric safety net is strengthened, not further strained."
In addition, CHA ran an open letter signed by children's hospital leaders as full-page advertisements in the Sunday New York Times and Los Angeles Times encouraging all eligible Americans to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, mask responsibly and adhere to the proven practices of social distancing and handwashing in an effort to better protect children.
Complementing this effort starting this week, CHA and The Hill will run multi-week digital content urging Congress to help children's hospitals help kids.