Child Health Advocacy Areas of Interest
Health Care Access & Social Determinants of Health
Preserving Coverage & Access for Kids
In Massachusetts, 99% of all children currently have access to health insurance. Proposed federal health care reform, may have significant impact on the local gains made in children’s health and well being. We will advocate to ensure that all children in the Commonwealth covered by Medicaid also known as MassHealth the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Children’s Medical Security Plan (CMSP) maintain their coverage, full access to all benefits and do not face increases in the cost of care.
Transportation to Appointments
One of the greatest barriers to accessing health care as identified by our patients, their families and our providers is access to transportation. This can result in delays in accessing care and inappropriate use of ambulances, resulting in unnecessary costs for consumers and the health care system. We work on innovative technologies like telemedicine and regulations to improve access to non-emergency medical transportation services (NEMT) for pediatric patients and families.
Homelessness and unstable housing is a significant social determinant of health for kids and families. Homeless children are predisposed to worse health outcomes due to poor living conditions and food insecurity. Boston Children’s Hospital will pursue opportunities to ensure that homeless families are not sleeping in places unfit for human habitation such as emergency rooms. We also work to develop screenings to prevent families from falling into homelessness via our Health Starts at Home Initiative.
For more information about health care access and social determinants of health advocacy, please contact the Director of State Government Relations Kate Audette: Kathryn.Audette@childrens.harvard.edu
Psychiatric Emergency Department Boarding
When patients present to the Emergency Department (ED) in need of acute, psychiatric care, they often experience longstays “boarding” in inappropriate settings before accessing appropriate care. Boston Children’s Hospital is working with other leadership of the Children’s Mental Health Campaign and state policymakers in the legislature and administration to create solutions that will improve quality and access.
Access to Behavioral Health Care
Families of youth with behavioral health concerns often have trouble finding the right providers when and where they need them. Boston Children’s Hospital is working with other leadership of the Children’s Mental Health Campaign and state policymakers in the legislature and administration on issues of workforce development, behavioral health integration into primary care, and early identification and treatment.
For more information about behavioral health advocacy, please contact Director of Behavioral Health Advocacy & Policy Kate Ginnis: Kate.Ginnis@childrens.harvard.edu
Public Health & Prevention
The recent passing of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts raises several concerns for the safety and well-being of children and adolescents. The Office of Government Relations works with community stakeholders across Massachusetts to assure that insure legislation and regulation protect the safety of young children and adolescents. Through the legislative session, top areas of concern will include: funding for the MA Poison Control Center, adolescent substance abuse prevention and education, and child proof packaging and marketing of edibles.
Sugar Sweetened Beverages
We support the multiple efforts underway this session that aim to reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBls) by by kids and adolescents. Research shows that SSB consumption by children has been linked to risks for obesity, diabetes, and other adverse health impacts. Boston ChildrenIs Hospital will be working in collaboration with legislators and advocates to innovative ways to reduce pediatric consumption and improve health outcomes.
For more information about public health and prevention advocacy, please contact Government Relations Specialist, Jamie Gaynes: