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New Health Reform Provisions to Help Kids Start Today!

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

Thumbs Up for New Health Provision to Help KidsToday, on the six month anniversary of the passage of health reform, several new health care provisions that greatly benefit children will begin to apply:

  • Eligible young people up to age 26 can stay on their parents’ health plan;
  • Insurers cannot impose lifetime limits on coverage of “essential health benefits”;
  • Insurers may no longer charge co-payments, deductibles or co-insurance for preventive services; and,
  • Children younger than 19 can't be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

Many children, especially those who are poor and underserved, often do not get the medical care they need. These children and their families face numerous barriers in accessing critically needed services—not having insurance coverage; being denied coverage because of a previous illness; or not having the money to pay co-pays and/or deductibles. This first wave of implementation of the health reform law will begin to chip away at these barriers and greatly benefit children who currently face overwhelming obstacles in getting comprehensive quality care.

Number of People in Poverty/Uninsured Rises in 2009

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

The U.S. Census Bureau released a few alarming statistics last week.  The first finding is that 43.6 million people, or 1 in 7, were in poverty in 2009, up from 39.8 million, or 13.2 percent, in 2008.  The second reported that the number of uninsured Americans jumped to almost 51 million in 2009, from 46.3 million uninsured in 2008. 

As we know all too well here at CHF, children living in poverty often do not get the medical care they need. Poor and underserved families face numerous barriers in accessing critically needed services, such as no insurance coverage or lack of transportation to get to the doctor.  Without access to regular health care, many children go without care for common ailments like asthma or cavities, which can lead to bigger and long term problems if left untreated. 

Statistics like these are an important wake up call for us all.  As the number of people living in poverty and those without insurance grow, the need for CHF's services grow. In addition, now, more than ever, it's essential to ensure that the critical pieces of health reform that were passed last year to help underserved children get care, are protected and not repealed.

Photo Friday: CHF's Day of Service with MBIA

►Pictured here are volunteers from MBIA an organization that is a part of Children's Health Fund's Workplace Giving Campaign.  Through their employee engagement they have helped enable a CHF mobile medical team to provide comprehensive health care to homeless children and families staying at a shelter in the Bronx.  After a tour of CHF's mobile unit, volunteers spent the day painting a youth recreational room at one of the homeless family shelters where CHF provides care. Thanks MBIA for all of your support and for a great day!

Faces from the Field: Kay Kelly, LPN

Nurse Kay Kelly of the Memphis Children's Health Project by Caitlin McFeely, Communications Associate, Children's Health Fund

Hi blog readers!! Today’s “Face from the Field”, Kay Kelly, LPN, comes from our program in Memphis. We hope you enjoy meeting her…don’t forget to leave a question or comment in the comments section below!

Caitlin (C): How long have you been working with CHF?

Kay: I have been at Le Bonheur for 3 years, and I have worked with the mobile unit 1 ½ years.

C: What made you want to work for this type of organization?

Kay: I came to this organization with 21 years of Public Health experience. I have a passion to help improve the health and well-being of those less fortunate.

C: What is your favorite part about working on the mobile clinic (or CHF fixed site)?

Kay: It is humbling to see the gratitude of the families and children we serve that might otherwise go without health care services. I’m glad we are here to help them.

Photo Friday - Eating Healthy!

Eating Healthy = Healthy Kids

► September 2010 has been designated National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month to try and shine the spotlight on the growing obesity epidemic among youth in the US.  CHF patient Selena knows that eating fruits will keep her healthy!

Why Arizona Needs to Focus on Kids

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

On September 20th, 2010, Children's Health Fund (CHF) is partnering with the Children’s Action Alliance and the Arizona Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics to hold a child health forum in Tucson, Arizona.

Children's Health Fund has two national network programs in Arizona, the Phoenix Children’s Health Project and the Southern Arizona Children’s Health Project.  While each program serves a unique patient population, they both deal with legislative decisions made at the state level, including budget cuts to important child health programs and supportive services on which patients and families depend.

Arizona has suffered more than most states in the current economic downfall.  Facing a $5.1 billion shortfall in 2010 (57.9% of the general budget), the state legislature passed and the governor approved the elimination of the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  However, due to the passage of health care reform, the state would have lost millions in federal aid with the elimination of CHIP.  In an early signal of how the federal health care reform law will interact with state health policy, the state re-instated the CHIP program. Looking forward however, the state will face a projected $3.1 billion budget shortfall in the coming fiscal year, meaning these programs will face funding cuts in the future.

Photo Friday - Heading Back to School

For many students, school begins next week.  Children's Health Fund programs around the nation provide services in their community, bringing medical, dental and mental health services directly to local schools.  Wishing everyone a safe & healthy Labor Day weekend!

Faces from the Field: Kimberly Williams, RN

Posted by Nurse Kim, Children's Health Fund’s Phoenix Children’s Health Project

My name is Kimberly Williams.   I’ve been a Registered Nurse for 16 years and feel extremely fortunate to have a career that I love so much.  I started working for Phoenix Children’s Hospital in 1994, first working in General Pediatrics and taking care of kids with a variety of health problems.  That experience gave me the confidence to work in the Emergency Department, where I worked as a staff nurse. After 4 years in the ER, I assumed the position of Interim Clinical Nurse Educator.  I loved being an educator, but my passion has always been “helping” children and their families, so you can imagine how excited I was when, two years ago, one of my nurse friends informed me that the “Crews’N Healthmobile” (CHF’s Phoenix Children’s Health Project) had an RN position available.  I applied the day after I found out and a few weeks later, I was boarding the Big Blue Medical Mobile Unit (MMU) for the very first time.   I was warned that this kind of work can take its toll, but since joining the Crews’N Healthmobile, my love for my job has only grown stronger and my passion for nursing has skyrocketed (I can tell you more about that in an upcoming post!).

Photo Friday - Remembering Hurricane Katrina

This Sunday marks the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  Immediately after Katrina, CHF Co-Founders Irwin Redlener, MD and Paul Simon, went down to the Gulf to survey the damage and organize a rapid medical response. Five days after the storm, mobile medical units from Children’s Health Fund’s (CHF) national network arrived and began providing medical care.  Since 2005, CHF has established three permanent projects in the Gulf Coast area and continues to care for children and families that are still feeling the effects of the Hurricane.

Faces from the Field: Donna D. Usner, ACE, LCSW-BACS

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

This Saturday, August 28, marks the 5th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  Shortly after the hurricane ravished the Gulf Coast, CHF’s mobile clinics were on the ground, providing health care for the children and families in the region.  Three permanent Children's Health Fund programs, in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Mississippi Gulf Coast, were launched and continue to provide health and mental health care to children and families living in the Gulf Coast region today.

Today, we’re talking to Donna Usner, who has been with the New Orleans Children’s Health Project since the program launched after Hurricane Katrina.  Enjoy!

Caitlin (C): Donna, thanks for interviewing with us!  How long have you been working with CHF? 

Donna: I began work with NOCHP not long after Katrina, in 2006.

C: What made you want to work for this type of organization?

Donna: As part of a career goal, I’ve always worked with children and families during a time of crisis. CHF’s work fit with my personal mission. Prior to Katrina, I worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at a local hospital that flooded and under great controversy would not reopen. As a result, I was forced to write the next chapter in my life. I met some of the CHF team in Baton Rouge and they talked me into doing a mental health needs assessment for the New Orleans area with the intent to have a Community Support and Resiliency Unit arrive the following spring.

C: What is your favorite part about working on the mobile clinic?

Donna: The mobile clinics I work on are state of the art clinics that truly remove barriers to accessing quality health care (physical and mental health care). The families we meet are my ‘favorite part’ of the work but the fact that each day is different… one never knows what to expect next on the mobile unit J! I also enjoy my work at a local maternity home done in conjunction with the mobile care clinics.

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