child health data
Candidate Survey on California's Kids
Responses: Richard Pan, MD
Office: Assembly, District 5
Q1: If you could tell California voters one thing about your commitment to the health and well being of children, what would it be?
As a pediatrician and community advocate who has worked throughout my career to expand access to quality health care, I have dedicated my life to promoting children's health and overall well-being. Over the years, my work on children's issues has focused on forging new partnerships between the medical/health field and local communities and towards building consensus around needed change and improvements to our system. My efforts have included:
- co-founding Communities and Physicians Together, which partners doctors with disadvantaged communities to address the local factors influencing health;
- co-founding the Healthy Kids Healthy Future, which secured health, dental and vision coverage for over 65,000 children in Sacramento, Colusa, El Dorado, Placer and Yuba counties;
- fighting for the establishment of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and later its reauthorization, and opposing efforts to cut or cap the Healthy Families program in California;
- partnering with school nurses, psychologists, and teachers to help children with special needs to succeed in public schools;
- co-founding the Sacramento Health Improvement Project to strengthen the safety-net in Sacramento County;
Q2: In the past decade, Californian voters have consistently ranked children and child-related issues as a top priority, yet state programs that support children frequently lack adequate resources to fulfill their missions. If elected, what steps would you take to make the health and well being of children a higher priority in California?
The health and well-being of children will be one of my highest priorities as a legislator. As a pediatrician and child advocate, I see first hand how children and their families often bear the brunt of state budget cuts. I also bring a knowledge and expertise on children’s health that does not currently exist in the legislature. I have worked with many child advocates, both locally and in the state, to support families in helping their children reach their potential. As a legislator, I am eager to seek solutions to adequately supporting state programs for children and to build partnerships to improve the effectiveness and reach of services for children.
Q3: How would you leverage the newly enacted health care reform legislation to benefit children in California?
If elected, I would be the only practicing physician in the Assembly's Majority Caucus. Not only that, I would be the only pediatrician in the history of the State Legislature. Given my medical background and expertise navigating our complex health system, and my firsthand experiences on the front lines of treating vulnerable populations, I will bring an unique perspective and knowledge to help lead the implementation of health reform in California. Policymakers and stakeholders will look to me to provide input on new guidelines and measures and their impact on our state's children. I have devoted my life to achieving universal coverage of comprehensive health care for all children, and I will continue to vigorously advocate for that as a legislator. All children should be able to have a medical home and have age-appropriate benefits including preventive services and dental and vision coverage.
Q4: Statewide, 10 to 15 percent of families have a child with a special health care need -- a chronic physical, developmental, or behavioral condition that requires more than routine health and related services. As the fact sheet below illustrates, California ranks last in the nation on a minimum quality-of-care index for children with special health care needs. If elected, how would you address this situation?
As a UC Davis pediatrician, I am a California Children's Services (CCS) credentialed physician and many of my patients are on Medi-Cal and have special health care needs. I understand the challenges this population faces in getting the services they need. A former board member of the Children's Specialty Care Coalition (CSCC), I, along with over 1000 of my pediatrician colleagues, have worked hard to ensure children with special health care needs have access to necessary, quality medical care. In the Assembly, I will educate my colleagues and other state officials about the importance of ensuring appropriate, high quality health care for all children with special needs and raise the Legislature's and public's overall awareness about issues affecting children with special health care needs. I will work to ensure that children with special needs have access to a medical home that includes preventive care, pediatric specialty care, and dental and vision care. California should be first on the quality-of-care index for children with special health care needs, not last.