Making Sure Health Transformation Works for Kids

Posted May, 9 2016 by Amanda Dunker



Kid Broken Leg

(National Library of Medicine)

 By: Andrew Leonard, Senior Health Policy Associate, Children’s Defense Fund – New York

Children’s Defense Fund and other HCFANY members are monitoring health transformation in New York State and looking for ways that stakeholders can get involved. Part of that work is thinking about how different groups will be affected. In this post, and in this new fact sheet, I look at children’s health care.

As children’s health advocates, it is important to ensure that health transformation efforts reflect the unique health care needs of children.  Although children tend to be healthier on average than adults, young New Yorkers receive the same inefficient and sometimes ineffective care as adults. Not surprisingly, the most common diagnoses associated with pediatric hospitalizations in New York State are issues that providers can better manage through a preventive approach in a primary care setting – conditions like asthma, bronchitis, and mood disorders.  Done properly, health transformation could create a system that is much more focused on that preventive care.

Advocates have to pay attention and get involved to make sure transformation occurs in a way that works for children. We’ve developed seven guiding principles that can help advocates make this happen.  Those principles are:

  1. Parents and children should be able to choose providers and health care services based on quality and their own preferences.
  2. All children should receive regular health care through a patient-centered medical home that integrates primary and behavioral health care.
  3. Children should have access to an adequate number of primary care and specialty providers who are geographically accessible and in their health insurance networks.
  4. Financing typically restricted to medical services should be expanded to fund services that address the social determinants of health.
  5. Children’s health care should be both linguistically and culturally competent.
  6. Payment and delivery system reforms must promote transparency, actively engage all parents and children and equip them to make decisions about their own care.
  7. Payment and delivery system reforms should utilize appropriate reimbursement levels for pediatric service delivery and incorporate child-specific outcomes measures when evaluating the success of these initiatives.

Keep an eye out for more HCFANY publications about health transformation, including a set of general principles later this week and fact sheets about how transformation could affect health care for women and the LGBTQ community. You can also watch a webinar with more information about children and health transformation at this link.

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