Children’s Hospitals Outline Year End Priorities in Letter to Congress
WASHINGTON, DC – On behalf of 220 children’s hospitals, Children’s Hospital Association’s (CHA) CEO Mark Wietecha sent a letter to congressional leaders highlighting the end of year priorities that are critical for children’s health care across the nation.
“At a time when our children’s hospitals are flooded with kids dealing with respiratory illnesses, mental health crises and other health care needs, congressional action is urgently needed before the end of the year to ensure children’s hospitals have the resources and capacity they need to best take care of our nation’s children. Our children cannot wait for much needed federal support,” said Mark Wietecha, CEO of CHA. “We have worked closely with key committees and a number of congressional offices on bipartisan, bicameral solutions to address this ongoing crisis through investments in Medicaid, boosting the pediatric behavioral health workforce and bolstering community-based and inpatient services and support, but there’s more to be done.”
The letter outlines how Congress can best support the immediate needs of our nation’s children by:
- Making Investments to Address the Children’s Mental Health Emergency
CHA marked the one-year anniversary of declaring a national state of emergency in child and adolescent mental health, and hospitals continue to see this firsthand in their emergency departments (EDs). As the crisis continues, there is a need for federal Medicaid investment, support for the mental health workforce and community-based systems, and dedicated funding for the pediatric mental health infrastructure.
- Bolstering Support for the Pediatric Workforce
The Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education program (CHGME) supports the training of more than half of the nation’s pediatric physician workforce and is essential to the continued access for children to the much-needed pediatric specialists, including doctors to care for children in mental health crisis, that treat complex pediatric medical conditions and respond to viral surges such as RSV.
- Safeguarding Children’s Health Coverage
Extending 12-month continuous eligibility for children is a critical step to reduce coverage gaps and ensure stable health care coverage for children in Medicaid and CHIP. Permanently authorizing CHIP will ensure stable health coverage for millions of children and pregnant women who rely on the program.
Wietecha concludes, “It must be a national priority to safeguard our children’s future by ensuring they can receive the high-quality health care they need to grow and thrive. Congress should take steps now to stem the ongoing crisis in children’s mental health, address the growing RSV surge, stabilize children’s coverage through Medicaid and CHIP and invest in the pediatric health care workforce across specialties and disciplines.”
To learn more, you can find the entire letter here.