Dr. Rachael Johnston posted a thoughtful piece about a year ago about the impacts of Texas’ refusal to accept additional funding for Medicaid that is available through the Affordable Care Act. This week, on the heels of the opening of a brand-new Parkland Hospital in Dallas, a hospital that provides care for thousands of low-income patients, the Dallas Morning News has published and editorial outlining the impact that this policy decision has had on the state.
In January 2015, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators and Representatives introduced the Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act of 2015 (ACE Kids Act), S. 298 and H.R. 546. If passed the Act will improve Medicaid care for the children with complex medical conditions. The legistation currently has 136 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and 19 co-sponsors in the Senate. The bill has been referred to committees in both the House and Senate, but it has not progressed further. To move the legistlation forward for a vote, I encourage you to contact your Congressional Representative and the Texas Senators to express your support for this bill.
Vaccines have been protecting people since their creation. They protect the population against diphtheria, hepatitis A, measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, polio, and other diseases. In addition they save the United States a significant amount of money when factoring in the cost that would have been spent treating these diseases. Barriers exist to widespread vaccination including the complex delivery system, costs of acquiring/administering vaccines, and a growing number of parents who choose not to vaccinate their children.The passage of the Vaccinate All Children Act of 2015 would provide incentives to states to improvvaccination rates and ultimately increase protection for the population.
The proposed Vaccinate All children Act of 2015 would prohibit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from awarding grants to public entities of a state for preventive health service programs unless the state requires each student in public elementary or secondary school to be vaccinated in accordance with the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The bill provides an exception for students whose health would be endangered by vaccination in the opinion of a physician. The result of implementing this bill would be increasing vaccination rates of children in states that would like to continue receiving these grants.
Currently 70.4% of children between the ages of 19 and 35 months are immunized. This rate is low when considering the percentage needed to have herd immunity. Herd immunity is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease. This type of immunity occurs when a large percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, thereby providing a measure of protection for individuals who are not immune. In highly transmittable diseases, about 90-95% of the population must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. This is particularly relevant now in light of the recent measles outbreak.. We should be proactive towards vaccination of our children and to protect them from preventable diseases. Continue following the Vaccinate All Children Act to ensure that the bill gets passed and implemented.
Wenly Ruan, M.D.
Recently there has been a surge in the number of immigrant children crossing illegally into the United States through the southern border. This crisis provides us with the opportunity to take a closer look at immigration reform policy and how current legislation is creating more gaps in access to health care for immigrants. (more…)
The attraction and desire to maintain an active lifestyle even as a parent has led to the development of child care products designed to be an effective mode to transport a child and to allow the parents to continue their favorite activities. However, not all of these products offer the highest level of safety for children. (more…)
In a previous post on June 23, 2014, Dr. Michelle Ting highlighted H.R. 4800 (Sec. 739), the U.S. House bill concerning the Agriculture Department’s 2015 FY budget. Dr. Ting explained that the bill threatens to weaken federal child nutrition programs by creating a waiver from compliance with current nutrition requirements for schools that are able to demonstrate a net loss, for at least six months, from operating a food service program. With many children receiving as much as 50% of their daily caloric intake from meals at school, school nutrition standards play a large role in reducing the rate of pediatric obesity. (more…)
Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are the two largest public health insurance programs for working and low-income children families in the United States. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), both of these programs have seen an increase in enrollment across the country during the past year even in states, such as Texas, that have decided not to expand Medicaid eligibility to poor adults. As of May 2014, Texas had 80,435 new enrollees in Medicaid– a 1.8% increase over pre-ACA figures. However, roughly 874,000 Texans eligible for Medicaid and CHIP have still not enrolled, including over 700,000 children. (more…)
In the wake of the tragic news that 2 Texas children drowned at Lake Georgetown earlier this month while in the care of their foster family, Texans Care for Children, an organization focused on public policies impacting children, has renewed its call for reform within the Foster Care system and Child Protective Services (CPS). In addition to advocating for higher standards in the foster family screening and training process, improvements in the role CPS plays within the system remains a core issue for the safety of these vulnerable children. (more…)
Foster care children often have difficulties finding a consistent medical home. The children see different health professionals when their placement changes, which can be frequent. Health care providers then face difficulties to provide effective treatment with lack of follow up or inadequate knowledge of the child’s past course. (more…)
Just as pediatricians discuss poison prevention or using car safety restraints, we must also counsel patient-families on prevention of firearm-related injuries and deaths. Pediatricians are in a unique position to provide anticipatory guidance to families about ways to keep children safe from firearms, particularly in light of the threat which children face from guns. (more…)