This week, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act of 2019 (ACE Kids Act) as part of H.R. 1839. Having already passed the House, the bill now moves to the president to be signed into law. The ACE Kids Act will improve care for the sickest children in the nation; bipartisan champions in the Senate and House, along with children's hospitals nationwide and more than 30 supporting national health care organizations, worked together to advance this critical bill to the president.
How it will help kids
The ACE Kids Act supports better care coordination for children with medically complex conditions who rely on Medicaid. These children require serious and ongoing care—they often see six or more specialists and more than a dozen physicians. Just coordinating all those doctor visits can become a full-time job for parents. This bill will help reduce that burden on families by allowing states to create special health homes to coordinate children's care.
Sometimes, that care coordination even needs to extend beyond state lines. Children with very unique needs require highly specialized providers, and those providers aren't always in the same state as the children who rely on them. The ACE Kids Act is designed to make it easier for families to cross state lines for care, which can sometimes be a challenge today within the Medicaid program.
While long trips to see their doctor can be necessary, it's best when children see the provider they need as near home as possible. The ACE Kids Act supports care closest to children's homes and communities and aims to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations.
But the ACE Kids Act will do more than coordinate care, it will help make care for these children better overall in the future. Today, there is no national definition of what makes a child "medically complex," so it's hard to aggregate data and gain insight into issues they face; at a national level, it's hard to see how to help them through improvements in coordination, quality of care and more. The ACE Kids Act will fix this challenge.
What you can do
As the bill moves to the White House, you can help today by thanking your congressional delegation for prioritizing children's health and passing the ACE Kids Act.