An Opportunity to Improve Health Care Coverage and Quality for America's Children

eAlert 94cfc3f6-fc9d-4b40-861b-08c2b4cfc008

<p>The deadline for congressional reauthorization of SCHIP--the State Children's Health Insurance Program--is fast approaching. For nearly a decade, SCHIP has provided health insurance coverage to millions of previously uninsured low-income children. At the same time, the program has helped improve the quality and effectiveness of care for children, while expanding the health system's capacity to measure and further improve quality.</p><p>A new report from The Commonwealth Fund, <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=29462&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecommonwealthfund%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D514972%26%23doc514972">Reauthorizing SCHIP: Opportunities for Promoting Effective Health Coverage and High-Quality Care for Children and Adolescents,</a> says that Congress and the nation have a historic opportunity to build on these gains. The report, written by a team of noted child health policy experts, presents a framework for promoting effective health coverage and achieving high quality in both SCHIP and Medicaid, the other major public program that covers low-income children. The strategies discussed in the report include:<br /><ul><li>ensuring access to care through eligibility, enrollment, and retention policies;</li><li>providing a robust benefit package;</li><li>strengthening provider capacity;</li><li>measuring performance, improving quality, and providing incentives for high-quality care; and</li><li>promoting the use of health information technology. </li></uL><br />"SCHIP reauthorization presents an opportunity to transform the 'good' coverage and quality of care provided by SCHIP into 'great' coverage and quality," says lead author Lisa Simpson, the director of the Child Policy Research Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the National Director for Child Health Policy at the National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality (NICHQ). "It represents a chance to expand both the federal government's leadership role and the resources available to support states in developing high-performing, accountable public health care programs for children."</p>