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The Health Reform Fight: Why It’s Not Over Just Yet

by Caroline DeRosa, Senior Director, Policy and Advocacy, Children's Health Fund

As a child health advocate, it was extremely satisfying to watch President Obama sign historic and far reaching health care reform into law earlier this year.  Since then, the question most often asked by colleagues at Children's Health Fund (CHF) has been “what’s next?” As it turns out, the process doesn’t end when a bill is signed and the “what’s next” in the implementation phase is just as important as the initial passage.

In order to be successfully implemented, the legislation that is passed must be further clarified with details and specifics through federal rules and regulations.  These regulations are released by federal agencies so that interested parties can comment and provide feedback to ensure that laws respond to real world concerns.  This phase is critical, because it makes certain that the provisions originally intended within the law are properly carried out. 

In the coming months and years, CHF will be monitoring federal regulations and providing our feedback to the government to ensure a resounding voice for children is heard in this lengthy and complicated process.  We will continue the fight to ensure that all kids, especially those served by our programs, will get all the health benefits and coverage that were intended by the health reform law.

Happy Fourth of July

Wishing you all a safe, healthy and fun-filled 4th of July weekend.

Children's Health Fund Caravan to Washington D.C.
CHF's New York and Washington DC Mobile Medical Clinics head to the U.S. Capitol to advocate on behalf of America's most vulnerable children.

Photo Friday - Mississippi's Big Blue Bus

Children on Gulf Coast's Big Blue Bus

by Caitlin McFeely, Communications Associate, Children's Health Fund

Introducing Photo Friday

Starting today and continuing every Friday from here-on, we're going to share a new CHF photo with all of you in the blogosphere. We hope these photos give you a better sense of the work that we do and the wonderful children and families we serve.

Do you have your own photos from a CHF program or event? Post them on our Facebook page! We'd love to see the CHF moments you capture on camera.

 

► Children from our Mississippi Gulf Coast project love coming to the "Big Blue Bus" where they receive quality health care and a sticker for being great patients.

The Goal is Control!

by Wendy Quinones, BSN, MSN, CPNP, Co-Director of the Childhood Asthma Initiative, Children's Health Fund’s New York Children's Health Project

I work in the South Bronx, an area that is no stranger to asthma as it has one of the highest rates of asthma prevalence not only in NYC but in the country.  It’s sometimes frightening to think of the huge problem that asthma has become in areas like the South Bronx, but one day at a time, my colleagues and I are trying to help improve management of chronic asthma for thousands of medically underserved children and families through the Children’s Health Fund’s Childhood Asthma Initiative (CAI)

Currently implemented in CHF’s NYC and Washington DC programs, the CAI provides children with asthma access to the highest quality care—clinical visits and medication, asthma severity assessment, and even psychosocial services for families of asthma patients, who often experience the anxiety and depression that accompanies chronic illness.  All of these services are supplemented by in-depth health education, including access to Children’s Health Fund’s Family Asthma Guide. The guide, available in both English and Spanish,is published annually and used as a complement to asthma care to help children and their families actively manage asthma symptoms.  In fact, we received some great news last week that the guide won a 2010 Communicator Award of Distinction!!  Considering the time, research, and team work that is involved in the production on this guide, it’s a great accomplishment to be recognized, but for us, the real reward is being able to watch children and families use the guide to control their asthma.

Our hope for the Family Asthma Guide is that individuals with asthma and their family members will educate themselves and others about the condition and that providers will use it when they are teaching patients about asthma.  As we reiterate many times in the guide…The Goal Is Control!! If we can get a patients asthma under good control—allowing them to live an active life with no hospitalizations—we have done our job.

Have you used the guide before to learn about your own asthma or help someone understand about the condition?  If so, please let us know what you think in the comments section below.  We are always looking for feedback!

Keeping Dental Care a Priority

by Arturo Brito, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer & Executive Vice President, Children's Health Fund

The Surgeon General calls dental problems the “Silent Epidemic” that results in more than 51 Million school hours of missed school each year.  For poor children, Medicaid is the principal insurer and its low reimbursement rate discourages the participation of dentists across the country.  It’s a frightening reality, since not properly caring for teeth can bring about more critical medical problems and can sometimes even lead to death.

CHF Idaho Program Staff provide comprehensive dental care to local childrenWednesday'sPittsburgh-Post Gazette brought attention to the low rates of dental care visits among low-income children in the state of Pennsylvania.  According to the article, the Pennsylvania Medicaid Policy Center at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health released an online report that found Medical Assistance (Pennsylvania’s name for Medicaid) covered nearly 1 million (35.5%) of all Pennsylvania children last year and less than half of the children enrolled in Medicaid see a dentist each year.  While the article goes into more detail about how this specifically affects children in the state of Pennsylvania, we know this is a larger problem and children nationwide are not getting appropriate and quality dental care. 

At Children’s Health Fund (CHF), addressing the low rates of dental care visits is a priority—programs in our national network assure that children receiving medical services also receive needed dental services either through a mobile dental clinic or by referring children to collaborating community dentists.  Mobile Dental Clinics in CHF's national network provide comprehensive oral health care - screening, dental exams, digital x-rays, oral health education and dental procedures - to low-income children throughout the country.  

A Night of Beginnings

by Karen Redlener, Executive Director, Children's Health Fund

Last night, Children's Health Fund (CHF)’s annual benefit celebrated beginnings. Our three honorees Joan Baez, Jane Pauley, and James L. Dolan, were each a part of an important beginning for Irwin and me and the Children’s Health Fund.

Joan Baez received CHF’s Humanitarian Award for a lifetime of inspiration and unerring dedication to the well-being and human rights of all people. Joan was with Irwin and me at the beginning of Joan Baez and Paul Simon performing togetherour careers in Lee County, Arkansas, when she helped save the Lee County Cooperative Clinic which Irwin was running. To be able to recognize our dear friend Joan and witness an entire audience give her a standing ovation, is a moment I will not soon forget.  We were also graced with Joan’s angelic voice when she performed with CHF Co-Founder, Paul Simon, bringing the entire audience to their feet once again.

CHF’s Founders Award was given to Jane Pauley, another long-time, dear friend to both Irwin and me and to Children’s Health Fund. Jane was with Irwin, Paul Simon, and me at the beginning of the start of CHF.  She has guided us as a member of our Board of Directors and Chair of CHF’s Advisory Council, encouraged others to become aware about our organization, and helped CHF raise much needed funds to expand our National Network of programs throughout the country.  Since the beginning, Jane has been a true member of the CHF family. 

CHF’s prestigious Corporate Award was given to James L. Dolan for his support of CHF during the beginning of CHF’s endeavor in the Gulf Coast region after Hurricane Katrina.   Dolan was instrumental in the production of "From the Big Apple to the Big Easy”—the benefit concert that raised money to benefit long-term hurricane relief efforts and.  Funds raised supported the expansion of CHF’s fleet of mobile CHF 2010 Honors Joan Baez, Jane Pauley, James L. Dolanmedical clinics in the Gulf region.  Our fleet remains there today, ensuring quality care for underserved kids still affected by the aftermath of the Hurricane. 

It was a night to celebrate these beginnings and the work CHF has done over the last 23 years to help children receive access to quality health care.  But it was also a night to reflect on the long road ahead…and the new beginnings on the horizon.  While the passing of health insurance reform back in March was a step in the right direction, we must not forget that health insurance doesn't equal health care. Work remains to address the many barriers to accessing care that affect many of CHF’s families across the nation, preventing many kids from just getting to a regular well-child visit to treat a chronic illness before it results in a more serious ER visit or preventable hospitalization.

With support like we have seen from our honorees and from those who attended last evening, CHF will be able to address and try to eliminate these barriers and continue to provide quality and consistent care to the most underserved children across the US.

Making Jerry Garcia Proud

by Mike Marzen, Development Associate, Children's Health Fund

Last Sunday, I spent the afternoon listening to the Lead Heads—America’s only teen Grateful Dead cover band – who organized a benefit concert for the Children's Health Fund at legendary NYC venue, the Bitter End.  This was the second year in a row that the Lead Heads have helped CHF by raising money and awareness for the Fund by packing the venue with people interested in our cause.  Check out some pictures from the event on CHF’s facebook page.

New Study Finds ‘Best Practice’ Asthma Program Saves U.S. Health Care System More than $4500 a Year per Child

by Roy Grant, MA, Director of Research, Children's Health Fund

Asthma is a huge problem in this country…nine million US children are diagnosed with asthma including more than two million who are living in poverty.  In inner city communities, asthma is the leading cause of hospital emergency department visits – as is the case here in New York City.  In fact, the South Bronx has one of the highest asthma prevalence rates in NYC and the country. Rates are even higher in high-risk populations like the homeless. Nearly 32% of the children living in New York City homeless or domestic violence shelters have asthma. 

In 1997, to increase access to health care and improve management of chronic asthma for thousands of medically underserved children and families, Children’s Health Fund’s launched a Childhood Asthma Initiative in New York City. It is currently implemented in CHF’s New York City and Washington, D.C. programs.  Over the years, we’ve worked to track the success of the initiative and its effectiveness in helping children and families control their asthma.  In a new study I worked on with CHF President Irwin Redlener MD and a team that included Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University and Montefiore Medical Center, we are reporting some important data that shows the effectiveness of this ‘best practice’ asthma program.

Yankees Hit a Home Run with CHF!


by Caitlin McFeely, Communications Associate, Children's Health Fund

I’m a huge Yankees fan – in my family, you are born one.  Given the extent of my loyalty, you can imagine how excited I was when I started working at CHF and learned about CHF’s Yankees Home Run Club.  The club was started by Yankee legend Don Mattingly (Donnie Baseball!) in 1988 to raise money and awareness for CHF’s programs.  Over the years, thanks to the generous support of loyal Yankee/CHF fans, the Club has grown to over 60 members and has raised more than a million dollars! 

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