Remind Your Member of Congress to Address the Needs of Vulnerable Children and Youth as Part of Health ReformCongress is on recess and back in their states and districts for the July 4th holiday. This is a critical time for you to reach out to your Members of Congress and urge them to pass comprehensive health reform legislation this year! Specifically, remind your Senators and Representative to address the needs of vulnerable children, youth, and families as part of health reform! Otherwise, millions of children will remain uninsured and at risk. Being considered in the current health reform discussions are funding for home visitation programs and support for therapeutic foster care programs.
Senators and Representatives reconvene in Washington on Tuesday, July 7, 2009, for a short session before adjourning for August recess. President Obama has indicated that he would like a health reform bill on his desk for signature by mid-October, so there is just a short window of time to get the legislation through both chambers of Congress. While they are home, let your Members of Congress know where you stand on health reform and what can be done for vulnerable children and youth!
ACTION REQUIREDCall the Capitol Switchboard to be connected with your Senator's office, and then ask for their in-district office number.
U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121.
MESSAGETell your Senators and Representative to pass comprehensive health reform this year! As part of health reform, tell your Members of Congress to:
- Support mandatory funding for home visitation programs, as currently in the House leadership health reform bill
- Create a Medicaid service category for therapeutic foster care programs
- Ensure quality care and appropriate benefits for all children, including adequate preventive care, mental health services, and dental services
- Make coverage affordable all Americans, particularly low- and moderate-income families
- Improve the workforce by increasing payments to qualified providers accepting Medicaid beneficiaries
- Reduce or eliminate health disparities
BACKGROUNDNearly 46 million Americans do not have health insurance and many more are underinsured and do not have meaningful access to needed physical and mental health care. The House and Senate are working diligently to pass comprehensive health reform legislation that would provide coverage to most, if not all, Americans. This is a critical opportunity to ensure that the physical and mental health needs of vulnerable children, youth, and families are better addressed.
Health reform should contain funding for home visitation programs. The home visiting language that has been proposed would provide mandatory funding to states to create and expand early childhood home visitation programs, and would fulfill one of President Obama's first initiatives in the area of zero to five early childhood policy. This initiative builds off of previous bipartisan legislation that had been introduced in both the House and Senate that would support rigorously evaluated programs that utilize nurses, social workers, and other professionals and paraprofessionals to visit families, especially lower-income families, on a voluntary basis
Health reform should also include a transparent funding stream for the evidence- informed and highly effective placement for children and youth with serious medical, psychological, emotional and social needs known as therapeutic foster care (TFC). TFC provides services in a community-based environment for children with severe mental and behavioral health needs. While states often rely currently on a patchwork of funding for TFC, creation of a medical assistance category within Medicaid for TFC would improve the quality of care for these children and youth by offering a streamlined, transparent system of reimbursement.
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