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HCCY Washington State Priorities

Our broad-based coalition of child health and wellness stakeholders proposes state policy enhancements and investments to help launch children into a brighter, healthier, and more productive future which includes the human, environmental and systemic supports they need.

Tier 1 Priorities

  • Mental Health/Partial Hospitalization
  • Access to Apple Health for Kids
  • School Nurses, Counseling and Family Support

Tier 2 Priorities

  • Help Me Grow
  • Public Health Funding
  • Sexual Health Education
  • Dental Therapy
  • Doula Services

Text about the legislative session timeframe, what went on and how focus on Tier 1 priorities in 2019 and how it worked out here’s more detail about each one etc. etc.

2019 Tier 1 Priorities

Nationally, behavioral health disorders affect up to one in five children, yet 80% of these kids do not receive care. In 2016, just 8% of children covered by Apple Health for Kids received a mental health service of any kind. This includes kids who received just one mental health service in a given year and kids who received a mental health service from their primary care provider alone.

Nearly half of the children on Apple Health are kids of color. According to the Institute of Medicine, racial and ethnic minority children and adolescents are less likely to receive mental health care than non-Latino white children.

Families struggle to find outpatient mental health services for kids on Apple Health managed care plans, since many providers are not currently accepting Apple Health or have long waits for care.  Washington ranks 35th in the nation in terms of youth prevalence of mental illness and youth access to care.  We support improvements to timely access to mental and behavioral health care for kids and adolescents including the recommendations of the Children’s Mental Health Legislative Workgroup in the following broad areas:

  • Improve outpatient access to mental health
  • Increase School-Based services
  • Improve the Workforce

 

Improve Access to Care for Kids Insured by Apple Health

Medicaid payment for pediatric care in Washington State decreased more than 35% in 2015, when a two-year federal provision to maintain Medicaid-Medicare equity ended.

In Washington one in every two children relies on Apple Health for health coverage, but payment doesn’t cover the cost of care. As a result, multiple rural and suburban clinics have closed or no longer accept children on Apple Health. Our current Medicaid payment rate creates a tiered system of care in this state, where children with private insurance have timely access to cost-effective medical care and children enrolled in Medicaid do not. Bringing pediatric Medicaid payment to parity with Medicare rates would yield significant health benefits and cost savings for our Medicaid program:

  • Access to a medical home as a usual source of care for children costs less in the near-term.
  • Timely care for kids on Apple Health is a sound preventive investment against adult chronic disease.
  • Lack of timely preventive care leads parents to rely on expensive, episodic care in urgent care and emergency rooms, or choose to not have their children treated at all.

 

Improve Child and Adolescent Access to Quality Mental and Behavioral Health

Nationally, behavioral health disorders affect up to one in five children, yet 80% of these kids do not receive care. In 2016, just 8% of children covered by Apple Health for Kids received a mental health service of any kind. This includes kids who received just one mental health service in a given year and kids who received a mental health service from their primary care provider alone.

Nearly half of the children on Apple Health are kids of color. According to the Institute of Medicine, racial and ethnic minority children and adolescents are less likely to receive mental health care than non-Latino white children.

Families struggle to find outpatient mental health services for kids on Apple Health managed care plans, since many providers are not currently accepting Apple Health or have long waits for care.  Washington ranks 35th in the nation in terms of youth prevalence of mental illness and youth access to care.  We support improvements to timely access to mental and behavioral health care for kids and adolescents including the recommendations of the Children’s Mental Health Legislative Workgroup in the following broad areas:

  • Improve outpatient access to mental health
  • Increase School-Based services
  • Improve the Workforce

Medicaid payment for pediatric care in Washington State decreased more than 35% in 2015, when a two-year federal provision to maintain Medicaid-Medicare equity ended.

In Washington one in every two children relies on Apple Health for health coverage, but payment doesn’t cover the cost of care. As a result, multiple rural and suburban clinics have closed or no longer accept children on Apple Health. Our current Medicaid payment rate creates a tiered system of care in this state, where children with private insurance have timely access to cost-effective medical care and children enrolled in Medicaid do not. Bringing pediatric Medicaid payment to parity with Medicare rates would yield significant health benefits and cost savings for our Medicaid program:

  • Access to a medical home as a usual source of care for children costs less in the near-term.
  • Timely care for kids on Apple Health is a sound preventive investment against adult chronic disease.
  • Lack of timely preventive care leads parents to rely on expensive, episodic care in urgent care and emergency rooms, or choose to not have their children treated at all.

Children in Washington state currently have inequitable access to health and mental health professionals – and that extends to school nurse and counseling services in K-12 public schools. Yet, we know that sick kids can’t learn. That’s why OSPI’s proposal to increase investments in school nurses, middle school counselors, and school family support workers is a critical step to keeping kids healthy and safe at school and to advancing academic achievement for all kids (an important social determinant of health since educational attainment is a direct predictor of future health). These professionals will work collaboratively to triage student health and mental health needs, and to connect families to community resources.

Interested in connecting with us? We’d love to hear from you.

Interested in connecting with us? We’d love to hear from you.