Columbus Children’s Hospital has endorsed a bill to provide federal authority and $100 million over five years to invest in the development and testing of quality measures for children’s health care. Senators Evan Bayh (D-IN), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), along with Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Ken Salazar (D-CO) introduced the Children’s Health Care Quality Act (S.1226) before the Senate yesterday. The bill is supported by the National Association of Children’s Hospitals (N.A.C.H.).
In addition to providing support for private sector’s development of pediatric quality measure development, the bill would make it possible for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to fund demonstrations of evidence-based approaches to improve hospital care for children. The bill also would fund demonstrations of model programs in pediatric health information technology and disease management.
“The federal government is the single largest payer of children’s health care in the country. While the federal government has worked closely with the private sector to develop and implement appropriate quality measures for adult health care, there have been little federal resources or leadership committed to the study and development of such measures in pediatric care, particularly for inpatient care,” said Terry Davis, MD, Columbus Children’s Hospital Interim Medical Director.
“The Children’s Health Care Quality Act is a first step in eliminating the disparity between adults and children when it comes to measuring and reporting on health care quality,” added Davis. “If CMS had the resources to promote the development of pediatric quality measures, consumers, payers and the pediatric community would have a body of nationally consistent, evidence-based measures for hospital care for children.”
The quality of adult health care has benefited from federal leadership and investment in the development and use of measures for adult health care, particularly through Medicare. However, CMS lacks the explicit authority and resources to provide the level of support required for the development of pediatric measures for children in both Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Individual state Medicaid and SCHIP programs also lack the resources and population sufficient to develop their own measures.
Last year, N.A.C.H. commissioned a 50-state survey by Health Management Associates. It found that while states use quality measures for children’s health services, they are almost always measures of primary and preventive care for children enrolled in managed care plans, not inpatient hospital care for children. Only two states indicated use of any pediatric inpatient measures. Because of limited resources, states are looking to the federal government for leadership and measures.
“In the national movement to develop quality measures for health care, we cannot afford to leave children behind,” emphasized Davis.
Together, Medicaid and SCHIP pay for the health care of more than a quarter of all children. The market share of these programs uniquely positions them to provide significant leadership to advance quality measurement for pediatric care — if CMS has the resources and funding to do so. The Children’s Health Care Quality Act would give CMS the ability to foster collaboration among its officials, providers, consumers and leading quality organizations to improve the level of service provided to children throughout the U.S.
In addition to N.A.C.H., the Children’s Health Care Quality Act also has the endorsements of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the March of Dimes, the American Hospital Association and others.
Columbus Children’s Hospital is a healthcare network that provides wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children, adolescents and selected adult patients. A medical staff of more than 900 and a hospital staff of 5000 provide state-of-the-art pediatric care for more than 700,000 patient visits annually. Children’s houses the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Ohio’s first Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center. Columbus Children's Research Institute is one of the top ten National Institutes of Health-funded free-standing pediatric research facilities. More than 75,000 consumers receive health and wellness education each year and affiliation agreements with nearly 100 institutions allow more than 1,700 students and 500 residents to receive training at Children’s. The preferred pediatric provider in Central Ohio since 1892, Columbus Children's Hospital is dedicated exclusively to full-service health care for children - serving every child for every reason. More information is available by calling (614) 722-KIDS (5437).