Covenant Children's Hospital
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Advocacy

Covenant Children's Hospital has provided health and well being to children and families' of our West Texas community for more than 20 years. We are Lubbock's only licensed children's hospital and one of eight in the state of Texas, having a unique commitment to ensure the health of the youngest and most vulnerable members of our community, whether they reside in nearby neighborhoods or our most rural regions. Children's hospitals are the pediatric safety net for all Texas children and have unique services and expertise. In fact, almost 25 percent 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, cancer and other serious illnesses.

Our mission is to provide quality care to all our patients, regardless of ability to pay. We believe that no one should delay seeking needed medical care because they lack health insurance. That is why Covenant Health has a Patient Financial Assistance Program that provides free or discounted services to eligible patients. In addition we provide health outreach services for those in need through our Community Health Outreach Department. We conduct a community needs and assets assessment every three years to determine the health needs of the most vulnerable within our communities. The information is used to set community health outreach priorities for Covenant Health. Our priority outreach programs include dental care, mental health services, childhood obesity (administered by TTU), and diabetes education. Through our programs we touch thousands of people each year who are either un-insured or low income and would otherwise not receive these services.

In March 2010, Congress passed and President Obama signed, the Affordable Care Act (or ACA), a major reform of the American health care system. Although the ACA generated enormous political and social controversy, whatever one's view about the Law, it is important to understand how it affects the health care of children. Below is a brief summary of ACA provisions that impact child health care in West Texas and Eastern New Mexico.

1. As of September 2010, health insurance companies cannot deny coverage for children with "pre-existing conditions." Nor can these companies impose lifetime limits on coverage. Therefore, parents of very sick children will be able to obtain affordable insurance coverage for their sick child, and this insurance will not run out during the course of treatment, a major financial relief for patents and an assurance of continuing care for children.

2. The Medicaid program will be expanded and new state insurance "exchanges" established, allowing low income working adults to obtain coverage more easily. When the entire family has health insurance coverage, it becomes easier for children to obtain needed medical care.

3. There is some uncertainty about whether states such as Texas and New Mexico will continue the state "Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)" after 2015. The ACA allows states to continue this program or to transfer enrollees to private insurance or to Medicaid. Until 2015, however, the CHIP program will continue in its present form.

4. Finally, the ACA raises payments to pediatricians treating Medicaid patients. This provision is designed to encourage more physicians to specialize in pediatrics and to make their care available to more children.

How to Help

Resources

Children's Hospital Association of Texas

CHA

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