The Collaborative for Children's Health Policy

 
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The Collaborative for Children's Health Policy was officially launched today! The Collaborative was formed by child advocacy groups across Illinois including Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, EverThriveIllinois, Ounce of Prevention Fund, Voices for Illinois Children, and Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation to address issues of equity and access in children's healthcare. I had the privilege of representing Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital's Family Advisory Board as a panelist at today's kick-off event. I greatly appreciated the opportunity to share my experiences as a parent and advocate and to participate in an essential dialogue around the most significant concerns for children's health in Illinois. 

The Collaborative will develop a policy agenda to address health insurance coverage, infant mortality, violent injury and death, social-emotional health, and other issues impacting children's health. Jill Fraggos, Executive Director for the Collaborative, has explicitly encouraged all stakeholders including parents, grandparents, advocates, service providers, and members of the business, health, behavioral health and educations sectors to get involved. 

As a school psychologist, I've long been concerned about equity and access to high quality health care. Educators, families, therapists, and medical professionals are painfully aware of the disparities that exist. Too often children who need  the most support receive fragmented care at best. Families need care coordination services and access to high quality care within their own communities. Some families are fortunate enough to receive primary care through pediatric practices designated as Medical Homes. These practices work to meet the needs of all children and are particularly well equipped to support children with complex medical needs. Medical homes focus on developing enduring relationships with children and families and supporting communication among multiple specialists. Families of school aged children also need greater care coordination. Children with special health care needs often qualify for special education and related services, but the disconnect between educators and medical professionals can be significant. Often times families are charged with the overwhelming task of not only caring for their child in the home environment, but also educating IEP teams and school staff regarding their child's medical needs.

I was thrilled to see that the Collaborative for Children's Health Policy is focused on these issues. Their commitment to interdisciplinary coordination and advocacy was both inspiring and energizing. I look forward to engaging with this group.

For more information please email Jill Fraggos, Executive Director, Collaborative for Children's Health Policy at jfraggos@luriechildrens.org. 

Please also consider reviewing the policy brief prepared for the Children's Health Caucus titled, Access to Specialty Services for Children on Medicaid. You can access the PDF by clicking here.

Together we can improve health care outcomes for children and families across Illinois! 

-Dr. Kimberly Melton Lechner 

 

Kimberly Lechner