Opportunities to Improve Children's Health Care Through Federal Policy

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<p>Federal leadership can spur state actions to build stronger, more accountable primary and preventive care systems for children. While efforts to reauthorize and expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) failed in 2007, they laid much of the groundwork for federal action to expand child health coverage in 2009 when a new administration begins.<br><br>A <a href="/publications/issue-briefs/2008/oct/improving-child-health-care-through-federal-policy--an-emerging-opportunity
">new issue brief</a> from The Commonwealth Fund reviews recent legislative proposals focusing on child health care coverage and quality and proposes a set of provisions that would strengthen primary, preventive, and developmental health care services. Authors Charles Bruner, Ph.D., Carrie Fitzgerald, and Carla Plaza, M.P.H., say that while the proposed legislation would address important aspects of children's health care, none focus explicit federal attention on opportunities to improve primary pediatric practice or strengthen well-child care to ensure that it addresses children's healthy development.<br><br>The authors believe that the following elements are essential components of future reform legislation:<ul><li>establishing a core set of primary child health service outcomes for tracking within Medicaid and SCHIP;</li><li>creating a structure within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that focuses on strengthening primary, preventive, and developmental child health services;</li><li>supporting additional research on child health quality and outcomes in primary care; and</li><li>providing incentives to states to promote evidence-based practices in children's primary health care.</ul>These provisions, the authors say, if incorporated into any SCHIP reauthorization legislation or developed as freestanding legislation, could enhance primary, preventive, and developmental care.<br><br>On November 19 at 3:00 p.m., E.T., The Commonwealth Fund will host a webinar on legislative opportunities to improve the quality of children's health care. Participants will include Charles Bruner, Ph.D., director of the Child and Family Policy Center; Alan R. Weil, J.D., executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy; and Bruce Lesley, president of the advocacy organization First Focus. Commonwealth Fund vice president Ed Schor, M.D., head of the Child Health and Development Program, will moderate. Details on registration will follow.</p>