Influencing Policy for Better Children's Healthcare
The National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality advocates for effective policies to support the delivery of excellent care for children. Leaders from the organization are actively involved in many initiatives to advance an improved children’s healthcare agenda.
NICHQ Produces Policy Guidelines for First Focus
This month, NICHQ was commissioned to produce a key policy paper for First Focus. The paper, geared towards priority setting around national health reform, outlines NICHQ’s policy recommendations for ensuring child health quality remains a key nation priority. Developed in close consult with Debbie Chang (Nemours), Dr. Lisa Simpson (Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center), our Policy Committee, and our board of directors, the paper speaks to five major policy recommendations. A 2-page version is also available, providing a quick list of recommendations.
NICHQ Commits to Health IT
NICHQ efforts towards developing and improving Health IT infrastructure are currently underway. In addition to the Health IT recommendations as outlined in our policy paper, NICHQ has joined others in commenting on pertinent policy definitional issues as well. In response to a request for input from the US Department of Health and Human Services, NICHQ—with tremendous input from its Policy Committee—submitted a response to the HHS draft definition and measurement framework for “Meaningful Use” of health information technology. These are the criteria that will be required for health care providers to receive payment for health IT use under the American Reconstruction and Recovery Act (ARRA) Health Information Technology (HITECH) provisions. NICHQ applauded the general framework that HHS proposed—which emphasized quality in processes and outcomes using the priorities of the National Priorities Partnership. NICHQ also urged that the measures better reflect child health priorities.
Comparative Effectiveness Legislation
This month, NICHQ's public policy committee provided written comments to several groups setting direction for the Federal comparative effectiveness research program just funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Writing to the Institute of Medicine, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the newly formed Federal Coordinating Council on Comparative Effectiveness, the committee advocated for a focus on child health broadly defined—including community and preventive services—and addressing the cross cutting themes identified in the prior IOM report on priority Areas for National Action. These themes included children with special health care needs and care coordination.
Speak Now For Kids
NICHQ is proud to support the efforts of Speak Now For Kids, a national campaign seeking children's healthcare reform. They urge everyone who cares about this issue to voice their thoughts and concerns to congress on why children matter in the healthcare reform debate. To let your voice be heard, you can visit their website today
SCHIP Legislation Signing
NICHQ applauds the joint efforts of both President Obama and the US Congress in the reauthorization of SCHIP yesterday. NICHQ particularly commends the House and Senate for including in this new legislation a substantial component that begins to create a quality framework for Medicaid and SCHIP.
NICHQ CEO Charles J. Homer MD, MPH — in concert with NICHQ policy director Lisa A. Simpson MB, BCh, MPH, FAAP and representatives from the AAP, March of Dimes and NACHRI — worked with Senator Evan Bayh’s office to craft a bill on pediatric healthcare quality whose essential terms were incorporated into the SCHIP legislation. The new SCHIP legislation provides funds and a process for the development and use of pediatric quality measures by state SCHIP and Medicaid programs. It also appropriates funds for demonstration programs, health information technology for children’s healthcare, enhanced medical management and care coordination, and evidence-based quality improvement. The bill also authorizes the secretary of Health and Human Services to develop new quality and performance measures for children’s healthcare with national pediatric organizations, consumers of children’s health services and other experts in pediatric quality to identify gaps in existing measures and priorities for development. Consistent with NICHQ’s principles, the legislation requires broad consumer participation in the development and use of the quality measures.
NICHQ expresses its deep appreciation to Senator Evan Bayh for his commitment to building quality into this critical child health legislation. Additionally, NICHQ commends congress and President Obama for tackling issues of child health quality early and making them a top priority moving forward. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress and the Administration to assure that both the program is implemented effectively and appropriate attention is paid to addressing children's health needs in broader health care reform.
The Obama Administration
In the first days of 2009, NICHQ held a discussion joined by several members of our advisory committee and other interested parties to develop recommendations for the incoming administration related to health reform. We wanted to make sure that the discussions of health reform include improved access and system redesign for children and families. We grouped our recommendations into three areas:
- Prevention: increase system orientation towards prevention by community health grants and programs; provide broadened and developmentally appropriate benefit package through Medicaid, SCHIP and others.
- Organization and Finance: Establish support for the creation and sustenance of medical homes and systems of care coordination; comparative effectiveness research addressing child health; commission on high performing Medicaid/SCHIP systems.
- Quality Improvement: National and regional resources for technical assistance for children’s quality; child oriented performance measures; and health IT that addresses unique child health needs.
America's Health Starts With Healthy Children: How Do States Compare?
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America examined the health differences among America’s children. This chartbook examines how healthy children from different socioeconomic backgrounds are now and how healthy they could be.
Download the 'America's Health Starts With Healthy Children: How do States Compare?' chartbook.