Legislative Update:
Children’s Hospitals in Texas

The Children’s Hospital Association of Texas (CHAT) is providing the following information to offer some context to decisions the Texas Legislature will be making about children’s healthcare. We welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues with you in person. Our contact information is found at the end of the newsletter.

The mission of the Children’s Hospital Association of Texas is to support the development of an effective, comprehensive, high-quality and appropriately funded children’s healthcare delivery system in Texas. Our member hospitals include: 
  • Children’s Medical Center (Dallas/Plano)
  • Children’s Hospital of San Antonio (formerly CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital - San Antonio)
  • Cook Children’s Health Care System (Fort Worth)
  • Covenant Children’s Hospital (Lubbock)
  • Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas (Austin)
  • Driscoll Children’s Hospital (Corpus Christi)
  • El Paso Children’s Hospital (El Paso)
  • Texas Children’s Hospital (Houston)
Impact of Funding Decisions on Texas Children

Texas is experiencing explosive population growth, and this is especially true for children. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 6.9 million children live in Texas. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of children in the U.S. increased by 1.9 million; over one-half (53%) of this increase was due to the increase in the number of children in Texas.    

The children’s hospitals of Texas—already dealing with the challenges of serving this growing population—will be asking the legislature to improve funding for children’s healthcare in the state.

Our hospitals are the pediatric safety net for all Texas children and have unique expertise in caring for children. In fact, many of the patients in children’s hospitals are transfers from other medical facilities that could not provide the necessary pediatric specialty care.

Children’s hospitals provide care to our state’s most ill children—specialized care that they cannot receive elsewhere for congenital heart conditions, neurosurgery, transplants, cancer, sickle cell and other serious diseases.

For the last ten years, Texas has had the highest rate of uninsured children in the nation. About 16 percent of Texas children are uninsured compared to the national average of 11 percent.  More than three million children in Texas are enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), making these programs indispensable to Texas families.

To the children’s hospitals of Texas, these are not just statistics. These numbers represent Texas’ most vulnerable and needy children that we see in our outpatient clinics, physician offices and hospitals each and every day.

The Importance of Medicaid to Texas Children

Medicaid serves children with disabilities, children in foster care and children in lower income families, who tend to have more health care problems. Children’s hospitals care for the sickest and most medically complex children. As a result, more than half of the children admitted to children’s hospitals are covered by Medicaid.

If Medicaid funding does not keep up with the costs necessary to serve a growing child population, children’s hospitals will face major difficulties in providing the range of comprehensive services that any child in Texas could need someday.

Did You Know?

  • One out of every 11 children in the United States lives in Texas.
  • Most children are healthy; children and neonates account for only 13 percent of all the days spent in Texas hospitals.
  • In 2010, the eight CHAT member hospitals served children from all but 13 of Texas’ 254 counties.
  • There are about 1,200 inpatients in children’s hospitals in Texas every day; about 700 are on Medicaid.
  • Seventy-four percent of the inpatients in children’s hospitals are age 9 or younger.
  • Forty-two percent of Texas children are enrolled in Medicaid.


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