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Photo Friday - A Look Back to the Welfare Hotels of New York

Homeless child sitting in New York Homeless Shelter

We recently came across a number of photos from Dr. Redlener's visits to the NYC welfare hotels  in the late 1980s.  As you can see from today's photo, homeless children were living in horrendous conditions with little chance of achieving a healthy lifestyle.  Unfortunately, many children today are still suffering like this young girl. With your support, we will continue to bring these children the health care they need and deserve.

My Day in Albany

By Deirdre Byrne, Director of Policy, Children's Health Fund

On Monday, I traveled to Albany with one of the doctors at the New York Children’s Health Project, Dr. A.J. Khaw. Our agenda for the day included several meetings with legislators and fellow advocates from the Providers of Health Care for the Homeless Coalition. This is budget season in Albany and the state is facing a $10 billion budget deficit. While the state has not proposed cutting Medicaid rolls or other drastic measures, the Governor formed a Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) to find $2.85 billion in savings for FY 2012, which starts on April 1, 2011, and beyond.

During our meetings, Dr. Khaw and I talked about our programs and state budget concerns, including a proposal by the MRT to enroll all homeless children and families into Medicaid managed care, an alternative that may not work well for homeless children. This is just one of 79 MRT recommendations put forward by Governor Cuomo that must be approved by the legislature as part of the budget process. (Learn more about the recommendations from the Medicaid Redesign Team.)

While the state has successfully implemented managed care for a majority of Medicaid recipients, we believe that the use of managed care for this population is inappropriate and interferes with their access to care. Homeless children and families face unique challenges as a patient population; requiring enrollment in managed care cripples their access to care and also puts health care for the homeless providers at moral and financial risk.

Want to know more? Read CHF’s letter to the MRT on homeless health care.

Photo Friday - Promoting Proper Nutrition All Year Round

CHF Dietician Working with Child

This year, the theme of national nutrition month is "Eat Right with Color" and it's a great time to think about adding more colorful fruits and vegetable to your diet. In this photo, nutritionist Dr. Sandra Arevalo is teaching her patient what his dinner plate should look like.  We're glad to see he is adding his greens! 

Our programs are committed to helping families understand healthy eating and exercise habits through programs like the Starting Right Initiative, a multi-faceted program designed to increase awareness of the rise in pediatric overweight risks including type 2 diabetes (T2DM).

Children's Health Fund also creates health education materials that make vital health information accessible to children, teenagers, parents and care givers. Material topics include promoting healthy behaviors, growth and development, preventing disease and managing chronic illness. These award-winning health education materials are available for download in English and Spanish. 


Photo Friday - A Blast From the Past

► Children's Health Fund (CHF) is lucky to have so many noteable friends that support our work.  Pictured here from left to right:  Don Mattingly, who helped launched Children's Health Fund's Yankee Home Run Club, CHF Co-Founder Paul Simon, Jane Pauley, Chair of CHF's Advisory Council, and CHF Co-Founder and President Irwin Redlener M.D.   

Defunding Health Care Reform Jeopordizes Well Being of America's Children

Today the House of Representatives voted to attach to a budget bill multiple amendments that would prohibit funding for important health care reform provisions that benefit children and families.

Defunding health care reform would halt progress in enrolling at least 5 million children in health insurance and limit the ability of the federal government to protect patients, regulate premium increases, set up insurance exchanges and hold insurance companies accountable.

In addition, the budget bill contains deep cuts to federal programs that would impact the lives and health of America’s children, including a $210 million cut to the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant, which supports state and local programs serving women, babies, children and children with special heath care needs, and a $747 million cut to the WIC program, which provides supplemental food, health care referrals, and nutrition education to at-risk infant, children and pregnant women.

It’s crucial that children have access to affordable, comprehensive health care services. Let your legislator know that you don’t support legislation that jeopardizes the well-being of millions of America’s children.

Photo Friday - Out on the Rural Roads of Southern Arizona

Dr. Darlene Ray in front of the CHF Mobile Medical Unit she sees patients in.

► At CHF's Southern Arizona Children’s Health Project, doctors like Darlene Ray (pictured here) provide medical and dental services to kids of the rural US/Mexico borderlands of Cochise County, Arizona (an area equivalent to the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island together!) Check out Dr. Ray's post about working in Southern Arizona.

Help! Major Budget Cuts Ahead

By Deirdre Byrne, Director of Policy, Children's Health Fund

Last week, the House Appropriations Committee released a budget bill to fund the government for the next year which contains major proposed cuts to programs that help children and families every day.  They are expected to vote on this measure THIS WEEK.  Included in the cuts are:

  • $1.3 billion CUT to health centers, ending recovery funding for community health centers, eliminating funding for increased demand of services grants meant to respond to the economic downturn and undermining the capacity of health centers to provide services to an estimated 11 million patients.
  • $210 million CUT to the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, which supports state and local programs serving women, babies, children and children with special heath care needs, to detect developmental delays and provide treatment early to avoid costlier treatment down the road.  This cut equals 32% of the program.
  • $530 million CUT to community development block grants, which help finance housing, sewer, streets and economic development in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, including housing for the homeless.

Though different than the budget presented by President Obama yesterday, this budget proposal is just as important as it will determine how money is spent through the remainder of this fiscal year.

It is extremely urgent that lawmakers hear from you about how these cuts will negatively impact your community.  Write your lawmaker now, let them know that you support these programs and realize the impact of these budget cuts in your community. 

Thanks for your help!!

Photo Friday - Share the Love!

Share the love and give the gift of good health.  Do something different this Valentine's Day, make a donation to Children's Health Fund in honor of your loved one. You can even send your Valentine a eCard or letter in the mail!  

Photo Friday - Healthy Teeth = Healthy Kids

►In honor of "Give Kids A Smile" Day, take a few minutes to remind your kids how to properly brush and floss their teeth.  You can even demonstrate proper brushing on a doll, just like the boy in this picture!  Or, download our Healthy Teeth Bright Smiles brochure and share with your children.

Giving Kids A Smile…All Year Round

by Delaney Gracy, MD, MPH, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Children's Health Fund

Today, as part of National Childhood Dental Awareness month, the American Dental Association (ADA) celebrates “Give Kids A Smile” Day.  This year, over 12,000 dentists have signed up to participate in the program and provide free oral health care to kids from low-income families across the country.  In addition, dental-health focused events across the country will help to shine the light on the many barriers facing low-income families who are trying to access dental care for their kids. 

At Children's Health Fund (CHF), we know all too well how difficult it is for children living in poverty to access dental care. Kids living in poverty have twice the odds of having tooth decay, twice the extent of the decay, twice the unmet treatment need, twice the pain experience, but half the access to dental care than their more affluent peers.   A variety of variables adds to this lack of access:

  • Medicaid’s low reimbursement rate discourages many dentists from participating;
  • Many children in rural communities face transportation barriers in accessing dental care; and
  • In designated dental Health Professional Shortage Areas, too few dentists are available to meet the needs of the community.

At CHF, addressing these low rates of dental care is always a priority. Our National Network programs in Arkansas, Dallas, Idaho, New York City (including Harlem) and Washington, D.C., provide free, comprehensive oral health care – screening, dental exams, digital x-rays, oral health education and dental procedures – to low-income children. Eight of our programs offer fluoride varnishes in the primary care setting, and throughout the National Network primary care providers conduct oral health screenings and provide referrals to collaborating community dentists.  

Today in Idaho, our Idaho Children’s Health Project (ICHP) is participating in the ADA’s “Give Kids A Smile” day!  Dentists will be providing exams, sealants, and fluoride varnishes for 2nd and 3rd graders at Bickel Elementary in Twin Falls and hope to see about 110 kids throughout the day (they will definitely be keeping busy!)  The ICHP is working in collaboration with the Caring Foundation for Children, who will help with paperwork, the College of Southern Idaho, who will bring volunteer dental assistant students, and Delta Dental, who is supplying tooth brush kits for the kids!

We are thrilled to join the ADA’s commitment to helping provide dental care to low-income kids and bring awareness to the many access barriers facing the kids in these communities.  Today and everyday we all need to do what we can to ensure all kids have something to smile about!

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