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Network News

Healthy Families Transition Issue Brief
California Healthline’s David Gorn recently reported on the landmark transition of 860,000 children from Healthy Families to Medi-Cal managed care starting this year. Our recent Issue Brief notes potentially negative outcomes for children with special health care needs affected by the transition. The brief recommends that the state monitor the impact on children with special health care needs and change course if necessary.

California Health Policy
Covered California Unveils New Website
With less than a year before California's health exchange opens for business on January 1, 2014, Covered California has launched a new website. Every county will have at least two health plans from which participants can choose. Clear benefit packages outlining the amount and scope of services offered by the plans are yet to be finalized, the Los Angeles Times reports. A new subsidy calculator will help in determining who is eligible for financial assistance in purchasing health insurance. 

CRISS Analysis of the Governor’s Budget for 2013-2014
Network member Laurie Soman (Children’s Regional Integrated Service Systems-CRISS) analyzed Governor Brown’s recent draft budget and uncovered some potentially good news for children and families if the budget is passed by the legislature. These include:

  • Ending a reduction in Regional Center funding
  • A budget increase for In-Home Supportive Services
  • A managed care tax to generate a higher match of federal funding to support Medi-Cal coverage for children, as well as seniors and persons with disabilities

We'll keep you posted on budget developments, but remember to urge your legislators to keep these items in the budget.

National Health Policy
Moving Forward: The National Pediatric Research Network Act
The National Pediatric Research Network Act continues to move through Congress after being approved by the House of Representatives on Feb. 4. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) now plans to introduce the bill in the Senate. Although children make up about 20 percent of the U.S. population, the National Institutes of Health dedicates only about 5 to 10 percent of its annual research budget to pediatrics, according to a press release from Brown’s office.

Federal Officials Recommend Permanent Funding to Ease Transition from Medicaid to Private Insurance
The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) has voted to recommend to Congress permanent funding of the Transitional Medical Assistance (TMA) program. This program helps states pay for families to continue Medicaid coverage for 12 months while moving to private health insurance. Children on average utilize Medicaid for an additional 4 months after becoming eligible for private insurance. The Commission argued that Congress’s annual funding of TMA creates “perennial uncertainty” about continued coverage for children moving between public and private insurance. Congress will need to approve mandatory funding for this program during the upcoming budget debate.

In the News — Children with Special Health Care Needs
For Kids with Chronic Conditions, a Looming Insurance Battle
KQED, February 11, 2013
Funding for this story was provided by the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health.  

Pollution Takes Heavy Toll on Bay Area Children with Asthma
San Jose Mercury News, February 10, 2013

Medicaid Is Off Limits for Now
Los Angeles Times, February 2, 2013

California Father of An Autistic Son and the Health Care Reform
New America Media, February 7, 2013

Study: Specialists More Likely to See Publicly Insured Kids if Referred from Emergency Rooms
Doctor’s Lounge, February 4, 2013

Grant Opportunity
For Community Health Centers
The California Catalyst Fund

The upcoming challenges of health reform implementation will require that community health centers maximize resources. The California Catalyst Fund announces a second round of funding to help clinics achieve this goal. Previous projects include administrative consolidation and joint programming, joint ventures, corporate mergers, with awards ranging from $10,000 to $40,000. For more information contact: cacatalystfund@nffusa.org. Applications due March 15, 2013.

Upcoming Events
February 25-26, Sacramento, Family Voices of California, Annual Health Summit and Legislative Day. Families, providers, policymakers, and advocates for children with special health care needs are all invited to participate in a discussion of current health policy issues for children and families.

Keep in Touch
Let us know what's happening with your organization or family. E-mail Network Manager Janis Connallon at at Janis.Conallon@lpfch.org with your news or updates.