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Sullivan and Carper introduce bipartisan, bicameral bill to implement holistic approach to child health care | US Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska

29.09.22

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, along with Reps. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) and Michael Burgess (R -Texas), presented today the Kickstarting Innovative Demonstrations Support (KIDS) Health Act of 2022 establish a “comprehensive child health care” model for children and youth eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The legislation would authorize federal dollars for state Medicaid programs to improve coordination between mental health and community health providers to better meet the needs of children through a holistic approach.

“We are in the midst of a heartbreaking spike in mental health issues among young people,” said Senator Sullivan. “Worse still, our country’s bureaucratic, siled approach to health care and social services is not serving our children well at a time when they need support the most. Senator Carper and I have crafted legislation that will remove unnecessary barriers and red tape that limit young Americans’ access to mental health treatment. We want to empower communities to innovate, adapt to the unique needs and circumstances of our young people, and create more efficient and effective “whole child” models of care that will hopefully save lives.

“As governor of Delaware, one of my first priorities was to establish the Family Services Cabinet Council to provide better coordination of mental and physical health care for children and families in the first state. that we have made great strides in meeting children where they are, including installing a wellness center in every public secondary school, today barriers such as cost or lack of access still prevent children across the country to receive the health care they need,” said Senator Carper. “I’m proud to build on my work as governor to introduce this bipartisan, bicameral bill that will make it easier for a child on Medicaid to get the care they need, regardless of race, code or socio-economic status. I would like to thank Senator Sullivan and Representatives Blunt Rochester and Burgess for their support in developing this important legislation.

“Ensuring that we have adequate resources and services to care for our young people is one of our most fundamental and important obligations. That’s why I’m so proud to introduce the KIDS Health Act of 2022, today, along with my colleagues, Senators Carper and Sullivan, and Rep. Burgess,” said MP Blunt Rochester. “Our bill will ensure that children enrolled in Medicaid will receive appropriate and holistic care, no matter who they are or where they live. I am especially proud that our effort is bipartisan and bicameral, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to send this crucial health care legislation to President Biden’s office.

“I have practiced as an obstetrician-gynecologist in North Texas for nearly three decades and can attest to the benefits of beginning preventative care early in a child’s life. I am proud to support the KIDS Health Act to provide integrated, preventative and value-based care to children who need it most. If we start a child’s health journey early, they will live longer, better and healthier. It is more important than ever to come together and help children across the country get the care they need,” said Congressman BurgessMD

“Nemours Children’s Health applauds the bipartisan sponsors of this important legislation and their leadership in helping children across the country live healthy and fulfilling lives,”says R. Lawrence Moss, MD, FACS, FAAP, President and CEO, Nemours Children’s Health. “Working with the leaders of our country is essential as Nemours strives to go far beyond medicine, one step closer to realizing our vision, to create the healthiest generations of children.”

The legislation has been endorsed by the Alaska Children’s Trust, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – Alaska Chapter and the Alaska Primary Care Association.

Background

In December 2021, the US Surgeon General released a public health notice calling for a comprehensive and coordinated response to tackle the factors impacting young people’s mental health. In order to achieve a comprehensive response, Congress must empower providers to offer services in unique and innovative ways and break down the silos that make mental health integration and delivery so difficult, such as lack of access or socioeconomic status. For too long, providers have faced arbitrary limits on how and where they can meet the needs of the young people they serve. Additionally, bureaucracy, reporting requirements, and paperwork have made it difficult for providers to meet the new and emerging mental health needs of young people as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this year, the Senate Finance Committee announced focus groups to address gaps in five areas of mental health care: youth, workforce, care integration, mental health parity and telehealth. Senator Carper was named co-chair of the task force to focus on youth mental health, and the task force released draft policy proposals in July. The Child Health Act 2022 builds on policy proposals from the Discussion Project developed by the Youth Mental Health Working Group.

More specifically, the Child Health Act 2022 would have:

  • Authorizing a $125 million demonstration program to help states improve coordination between mental health and community health care providers, which will better meet the needs of children through a holistic approach;
  • Allow states to establish or improve payment models that reward physicians for delivering higher quality care that helps children stay healthy and invest in workforce recruitment and training ‘work ;
  • Enable participating states to design and implement a delivery model in which health care providers partner with community organizations and government agencies to coordinate services across multiple sectors;
  • Require GAO to publish a report assessing the individual, financial, and systemic impacts associated with the comprehensive child health models implemented as part of the demonstration project; and
  • Require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to issue guidance on combining federal and non-federal funds to address the social determinants of health in low-income populations.

Click here to view the full text of the legislation.

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