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Study Shows: Medicaid Improves Lives

By Deirdre Byrne, Director of Policy

As reported in last week’s New York Times, a ground-breaking recent study shows that Medicaid, the public health insurance program for low-income Americans, has significant benefits to those enrolled. This confirms what clinicians in the field who work with Medicaid populations see every day: Medicaid improves access to health care and quality of life of those enrolled.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the National Bureau of Economic Research, and Providence Health & Services conducted the first-of-its-kind analysis of 90,000 people who participated in a lottery for Medicaid in Oregon. The state operated the lottery with 10,000 possible slots for low-income adults, those with incomes below the federal poverty level ($10,400 for a single person and $21,200 for a family of four). After one year, researchers compared utilization, financial strain and perceived health of those who had access to Medicaid and those who did not.

Overall, researchers found that compared to people without insurance, those with Medicaid had better access to and used more health care. In addition, they were less likely to experience unpaid medical bills, or medical debt. Medicaid enrollees were more likely to report being in good physical health, and they were less likely to report feeling depressed. Specifically, the study found that those with Medicaid were:

  • 35 percent more likely to go to a clinic or see a doctor;
  • 15 percent more likely to use prescription drugs;
  • 25 percent more likely to say that their health was good or excellent; and
  • 40 percent less likely to say that their health had worsened in the past year.

While these findings are based on an adult population, Medicaid has long been known to improve access to care and use of services for children. Research has shown that children with Medicaid are more likely to have a usual source of care, lower frequency of unmet health needs and better access to medical services compared to poor children without health insurance.1

As states and the federal government make budget decisions that impact the future of the Medicaid program and the program’s ability to successfully ensure access to health care, it is important that policymakers balance the benefits of insuring 60 million people, including 30 million children, against short-term political gains. Want to weigh in on the current budget debate? Visit our advocacy action center.

1 Paul W. Newacheck, Michelle Pearl, Dana C. Hughes, Neal Halfon, The Role of Medicaid in Ensuring Children’s Access to Care, JAMA, November 25, 1998, Vol 280, No. 20.

Happy 4th of July Weekend!!

LIttle Girl With American FlagWe're proud to celebrate America this weekend - a country where people are concerned with the well being of their neighbors.  Thank you to all of the Corporations, Foundations, and individuals that support CHF and the children we serve.  With your continued help, we can bring health care to the kids that need it most and strive to make America a healthier and happier place to live.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday weekend with your family & friends.  


CHF Doctors Mobilize on Capitol Hill for America’s Kids

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

This week, medical directors from Children’s Health Fund projects across the country are meeting in Washington, D.C., to speak with legislators about the human costs associated with cutting health care benefits for children. With new legislation threatening to do just that, CHF is launching into action to protect the benefits that children need to grow up healthy.

The health care reform legislation passed last year protects, through “maintenance of effort” (MOE) provisions, gains achieved for children in public health safety-net programs. In practical terms, that means that through 2014 states must maintain their Medicaid eligibility standards as they were in place prior to the passage of health care reform. In fact, the MOE provisions further require states to maintain their pediatric Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) standards through 2019.

Unfortunately, under the current recession, states are looking for ways to reduce Medicaid and CHIP spending – at a time when the need for public health insurance is even greater due to loss of jobs and insurance coverage. In May, the State Flexibility Act was introduced in Congress, with the intent of repealing the MOE requirements for Medicaid and CHIP. Passage of that legislation would allow states to reduce coverage to mandatory federal minimum levels of Medicaid and scale back or eliminate their CHIP programs – a devastating prospect to the 35 million children covered by Medicaid and CHIP.

Children's Health Fund's Online Auction

Children's Health Fund Charity Buzz   

Have you always wanted to spend a weekend in Paris? Lunch with actress Julianne Moore? Or maybe your dream is to practice the guitar with legendary musician and CHF co-founder, Paul Simon?

Here’s your chance to bid on these and many more exciting prizes through Children Health Fund’s online auction. Treat your dad or grad to something special - while helping children get the health care services they need. The bidding is open until June 22nd, so don’t delay visit charitybuzz today.

Photo Friday - Hop on Board

► What do a tire, a baby-scale, and a nutritionist all have in common?  They're all a part of a Children's Health Fund Mobile Medical Clinic!  Visit our interactive "Build-a-Bus" page to hop on board and learn more about what a mobile clinics needs to keep moving in order to bringing health care to America's neediest kids:

CHF’s 2011 Benefit: Raising Awareness & Urgently Needed Funds for America’s Kids

By Carol Sumkin, Senior Vice President, Development, Children's Health Fund

Children’s Health Fund (CHF)’s annual benefit is one of the most important and exciting nights of the year for us.  Our Benefit brings together individuals, foundations and corporations to honor, reflect, and re-dedicate support of CHF’s mission of providing health care via a fleet of nearly 50 mobile clinics to the nation’s most medically underserved children and their families. 

This year, The Starr Foundation and its Chair Maurice R. Greenberg will be presented with CHF’s Founders’ Award for their generosity and support of CHF since 2004.  The Starr Foundation has helped CHF expand services at its flagship program in New York, including the school-based health center in Harlem, the mobile medical program serving homeless families across the city, and the health center in the South Bronx. In addition, CHF was able to create, evaluate and replicate effective models of care in New York and across the nation with assistance from The Starr Center for Preventive Health and Special Initiatives. 

Our Corporate Award will be accepted by Priyan Fernando, Executive Vice President, Global Business Services, on behalf of American Express.  Through their long standing relationship and investment in CHF, American Express has helped thousands of medically underserved children get the essential health care services they need.

And for the evening’s entertainment, New York’s own Bette Midler will be joined by CHF co-founder Paul Simon for what is sure to be an outstanding performance!  We can’t wait to see what’s in store.

Check in with CHF’s Twitter and Facebook accounts on Monday for live updates and photos from the event!

Photo Friday - Celebrating Dads

►With Father's Day just a few weeks away, we want to know how you are planning to celebrate with your Dad.  A walk through the neighborhood, a family barbeque, or even a game of catch are all fun ways to spend the day with Dad!

Still haven't found the perfect Father's Day present?  Why not make an honor or memorial donation to Children's Health Fund now and give the gift that helps vulnerable children get the health care they need and deserve:

Photo Friday - New Mobile Medical Clinic on the Road in West Virginia

►Leadership from Children's Health Fund (CHF), Marshall University, Walmart and West Virginia Children's Health Project, along with patients and students, celebrate the launch of a new mobile medical clinic that will bring comprehensive health care to children in rural West Virginia.  The group gathers, following the official ribbon cutting, for a photo commemorating the launch. 

From left to right: Kayla Baisden, former patient; Emma Baisden; Kate Mora, Sr. Director, Regional General Manager, West Virginia Region, Walmart; Karen Redlener, Executive Director, CHF; Isabel Pino, MD, Medical Director, West Virginia Children's Health Project; Stephen Kopp, President, Marshall University; Joseph W. Werthammer, MD, Chairman, Department of Pediatrics and Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine; Pamela Bailey, Principal, Spring Hill Elementary School; and Delaney Gracy, MD, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, CHF.

New Blue Doctor’s Office on Wheels Goes Green

Today, we are thrilled to unveil the newest mobile medical clinic in the Children’s Health Fund (CHF) fleet at a launch event in Huntington, West Virginia.  The brand new mobile medical clinic will enable the West Virginia Children’s Health Project — a program of CHF and Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine — to address the needs of medically underserved children in West Virginia.

Families in West Virginia face some of the most serious health problems in the country, including high rates of obesity, diabetes and dental disease, and the rural geography often makes accessing services difficult. This new mobile medical clinic will provide primary care services as well as nutrition education and mental health services to children at 10 schools in the Lincoln, Cabell and Wayne counties of West Virginia.

And, for a vehicle that travels miles to bring critically needed care to children, we’re excited that this new mobile clinic is an environmentally-friendly “Eco-Smart Mobile Medical Vehicle” (built by Universal Specialty Vehicles, Inc) and meets energy efficiency requirements.  Some of the many “green” features include:

  • A tight envelope (body or shell) that conserves heat and A/C, in turn working together with the indoor air quality to provide fresh air and ventilation;
  • Touchless faucets for water conservation by using foot operated water controls; and
  • Use of recycled materials and materials that at the end of their useful life cycle can be recycled.

Many thanks to the Walmart Foundation and American Idol’s Idol Gives Back for providing the funds to bring this mobile medical clinic to the children of West Virginia.

Helping to Combat Asthma in Rural West Tennessee

By Regina Perry MSN, FNP-BC, Nurse Practitioner, Community Health Dept, Memphis Regional Children’s Health Project

Last month, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) released its “2011 Asthma Capitals” in the United States. The city of Memphis was listed in third place and as a resident of the Memphis area and a health care provider at CHF’s Memphis Regional Children’s Health Project, this news is quite worrisome.  Many children living in this city and surrounding areas, particularly those who are poor and living in rural communities, are likely suffering from asthma and don’t have the necessary health care and medications needed to manage their condition.

We’ve known for a while that asthma rates in Memphis were high.  So, in 2009, our team embarked on a mission to bring CHF’s Childhood Asthma Initiative to our program in order to help our kids get properly diagnosed with asthma and learn how to treat this condition. Through the Childhood Asthma Initiative, children with asthma have access to the highest quality care. Clinical visits and medication, asthma severity assessment and allergy skin testing are supplemented by in-depth health education, including access to Children’s Health Fund’s Family Asthma Guide. All of these efforts help children and their families actively manage asthma symptoms. In addition, we provide support for asthma patients and their families, who often experience the anxiety and depression that accompanies chronic illness.

Our progress with this initiative has been fantastic. Many children are learning how to recognize triggers and control their symptoms. Our case manager has assisted numerous families with getting the medications they need to control asthma, regardless of whether or not the family has insurance (as many of you know, asthma control medicines are quite expensive). Through this initiative, we have also helped bridge the gap between primary care providers and patients. Because of transportation barriers, many of our patients can not regularly get to their primary care physician, but because we are available to these patients at their schools, they are able to visit us regularly during the school day. There, we can monitor and manage their symptoms. We also provide ongoing education and medications as needed.

Nurse Practitioner, Regina Perry, with one of the many little patients she sees on mobile medical unit.

It’s wonderful to know that my job helps families combat asthma.  We may be a long way from solving the problem, but every little bit helps children in the Memphis area live a healthier life.

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