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The Children’s Hospital Association of Texas (CHAT) Urges You to Become a CHATvocate!

This is the first edition of the Children’s Hospital Association of Texas (CHAT) e-newsletter. You have received this newsletter because you are an employee or are otherwise affiliated with one of CHAT’S member hospitals or you have indicated that you would like to receive information about children’s healthcare in Texas.

The mission of the Children’s Hospital Association of Texas (CHAT) 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 of Dallas, 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) and Texas Children’s Hospital (Houston).

The purpose of our newsletter is to keep Texans informed about children’s healthcare issues in the state, particularly related to proposed legislation and funding. Along with our member hospitals, we will be working with state legislators to preserve funding for children’s healthcare and will support legislation that improves the quality of healthcare for Texas children.

Click on the links below to read this issue's articles of interest:

2011 Legislative Session Expected to Be Challenging for Healthcare Funding

Texas is facing a significant budget deficit and the upcoming state legislative session is expected to be quite challenging. Proposed budget cuts may have a significant impact on our ability to provide critical healthcare services for children all across Texas.

An area of particular concern is Medicaid funding for Texas children. Statewide, over half of the children admitted to children’s hospitals are on Medicaid. If cuts are made to Medicaid funding in Texas, many children will not have access to the care that they so desperately need.

Did you know?
  • Current funding for children’s healthcare in Texas does not cover the actual cost of care; many hospitals must absorb the cost for poor children who are not insured or are underinsured.
  • Even at current funding levels, Texas ranks low nationally on many key indicators of children’s health.
We will be focusing on the following areas during the session:

Keep Kids Healthy
  • Investments in sound public health policies are the first line of defense against preventable injury, disease and disability and the resulting medical care costs.
Cover Kids
  • There are more than 1.3 million uninsured children in Texas. Uninsured kids are less likely to receive the care they need and are more likely to use the emergency room for routine care.
  • Texas can cut the number of uninsured significantly by enrolling children in Medicaid and CHIP who are eligible but not enrolled, by funding outreach and eligibility system improvements.
Build a High-Quality Pediatric Healthcare System
  • Texas has one of the fastest-growing child populations in the country. To meet the needs of this growing population, it is critical to have a sufficient number of healthcare providers that are trained and experienced in healthcare needs of children.

Children’s hospitals around Texas provide specialized pediatric services that children cannot receive elsewhere.

You Can Help—Become a CHATvocate!

There is strength in numbers! Please click on the link below and become involved. We will keep you informed about these important issues before and during the legislative session. You may be asked to contact your legislators before key votes. You can also help spread the word about the coalition among your co-workers, colleagues, and other business and personal contacts. Educate them about children’s healthcare issues and encourage them to get involved. You CAN make a difference!

Click here to become an advocate for Texas children’s hospitals.

CHAT Recognizes Three with “Golden Bootie Award”

The Children’s Hospital Association of Texas honored Texas Representatives Allen Vaught and John Zerwas and Executive Commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Tom Suehs with the “Golden Bootie Award” during the annual CHAT Trustees Forum in Austin on Wed., Sept. 8. The awards were presented for their outstanding contributions and support of children’s healthcare initiatives.

In 2009, Rep. Vaught, vice chairman of the House Committee on Defense and Veterans’ Affairs and member of the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence, sponsored legislation that updated Texas laws regarding booster seats to align with recommendations from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 2 to 14 and the leading cause of injury-related death for children under age 2. Studies show that in car crashes, younger children secured by adult seat belts are likely to suffer serious head, spinal cord and internal organ injuries. Booster seats reduce the risk of these injuries significantly.

Vaught represents District 107, which covers the area in east Dallas surrounding White Rock Lake including Lakewood and parts of Lake Highlands, Garland and Mesquite.

As one of only two doctors in the Texas House of Representatives, Rep. Zerwas serves on the Public Health Committee and the House Appropriations Committee where he chairs the subcommittee on health and human services.

In state fiscal year 2009 in Texas, there were 280 child deaths due to abuse or neglect. Almost 40 percent of the deaths were children under age 1, and another forty percent were children between ages 1 and 3.

In 2009, Rep. Zerwas led the effort to enact and fund the Medical Child Abuse Resources and Education System (MEDCARES), a new program which works to improve the capacity of the healthcare system to address child maltreatment by supporting regional centers of excellence for the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of child abuse and neglect.

Rep. Zerwas represents House District 28 which includes west Fort Bend County, Waller County and Wharton County.

The children’s Medicaid program provides health insurance coverage to about 2.3 million children in Texas, including children in low-income families, children with disabilities who are uninsurable through private insurance, and children who have been abused or neglected and are in foster care.

CHAT awarded Commissioner Suehs a Golden Bootie Award for his leadership in the transformation of the Medicaid eligibility system and for ensuring that children have the health insurance coverage they need and deserve.

The Children’s Hospital Association of Texas began giving the Golden Bootie Award in 1996 to recognize Texas leaders who, through their efforts, have worked to develop an effective, high-quality and appropriately funded children’s healthcare system in Texas. We congratulate these very deserving honorees and thank them sincerely for their dedication to children’s healthcare.

Children’s Healthcare Issues in the News

Click on the following links to learn more about some of the issues impacting children’s healthcare in Texas.
“More Texans living in poverty, census figures show,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, September 17, 2010

“Lawmakers unite to get children insured,” Houston Chronicle, September 17, 2010

“Budget deficit makes for tough decisions,” San Antonio Express-News, September 9, 2010

“Proposed budget cuts tough on Texas' destitute, mentally ill,” Dallas Morning News, August 25, 2010
The Children's Hospital Association of Texas (CHAT) is a non-profit association whose mission is to ensure that Texas children have access to effective, high-quality, comprehensive and appropriately funded healthcare. If you do not wish to receive any further e-mails from us, please click the "unsubscribe" link below.

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