National and state reforms to health-care delivery – largely designed to improve care for older Americans – may inadvertently exacerbate health disparities for the youngest Americans. Nowhere is this danger greater than for children with complex health conditions who live at or near poverty.
Now that the health care reform bill has been upheld, our California Advocacy Network for Children with Special Health Care Needs will continue to work toward an improved delivery system for children in California’s Exchange program, Medi-Cal, the California Children’s Services program, and private health plans.
The Essential Health Benefit package is, of course, particularly important for children with chronic conditions and multiple medical needs. These children not only use more health care services, but also require more complex services over longer periods than those needed by most children. An inappropriate benefit package can dangerously limit the services children with special needs may obtain, jeopardizing their health.
A relatively small proportion of California’s children with special health care needs will be covered under the new Health Benefit Exchange. However, the creation of new benefit packages offers an opportunity for developing a high quality, cost-effective model to serve these children.
In November 2010, our Foundation announced the formation of the California Collaborative for Children with Special Health Care Needs. Over the past few months, we have been in the development phase, and now I’m pleased to let you know that Janis Connallon has joined our staff to manage the work of the Collaborative.
To inaugurate its work on improving services for children with special health care needs and their families, the Foundation in 2009 began a series of convenings with wide-ranging groups of stakeholders from around the state and the nation. ...