One of the most important ways we advance children’s health is by contributing to the development and implementation of effective policies at the local and national level. Through our frontline improvement work, we can identify areas where public policy is not effectively supporting progress on child health issues and can recommend policy changes to facilitate improvement. By educating policymakers about the lessons we have learned, we have been able to inform decisions that affect children’s health and healthcare.
We also participate in national coalitions that seek to inform policy makers about a range of issues related to child health and quality. NICHQ’s leaders have served on a number of national panels and committees convened to improve children’s health, including the National Quality Forum’s National Priorities Partnership, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Steering Committee on Quality Improvement and Management, and the Institute of Medicine’s Pediatric Health and Quality Measurement Committee.
Here are some examples of the important ways NICHQ has been involved in helping to set health policy:
National Quality Forum
NICHQ has worked to determine how NQF’s quality framework would best apply to child health and were proud to be selected as a member of the National Quality Forum’s National Priorities Partnership (NPP), a group of 52 major national organizations with a shared vision to achieve better health and a safe, equitable, value-driven healthcare system. NPP members offer annual input to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on the National Quality Strategy, a blueprint for creating meaningful change and improvement in health systems nationwide. In 2010, NICHQ and the NQF convened an expert panel to examine how the NQF framework at that time applied to child health and the priorities for NQF to explore in the child health space.
In 2009, NICHQ was commissioned by First Focus to author a policy brief on how healthcare reform could better address children’s health. The report outlines NICHQ’s policy recommendations for keeping pediatric health at the forefront of the reform agenda.
Additionally, we have responded to requests for public input on key relevant public policies. For example, NICHQ submitted comments about the HHS draft definition and measurement framework for “meaningful use” of health information technology. NICHQ endorsed HHS’s proposed framework, which emphasized quality in processes and outcomes and uses the National Priorities Partnership framework as the organizing approach for their measurement strategy. We also encouraged HHS to include and address issues related specifically to children’s health in their measures.
NICHQ and partners worked with Senator Evan Bayh’s office to craft a bill on pediatric healthcare quality whose essential terms were incorporated into the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) legislation during its 2009 reauthorization. Consistent with NICHQ’s principles, the legislation requires broad consumer participation in the development and use of the quality measures.