PCCY tackles a variety of health policy issues and engages in a host of related advocacy efforts to make good on our commitment to address the needs of every child. Writing about children’s needs to raise public awareness is one powerful strategy to create change. Below are recent insurance-related PCCY policy papers.
PCCY’s Bottom Line Report found that more than 20,000 suburban children have no health insurance, yet the majority of them qualify for public health insurance. Approximately 1 in 3 children in every county is obese or overweight, and the rate rose in three out of four counties.
Click here for a summary of the Bottom Line Health Reports – Learn more about the state of children’s health across Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties.
Click on the links below for the full reports in all four counties.
PCCY advocates for good public policy to enable children to access the behavioral health care services they need to feel better and do better at home and at school. Of late, PCCY has pushed to get children in quicker to start therapy thus reducing wait times for services, to improve school-based services in Philadelphia and increase pediatrician’s involvement in identifying and referring children to services. Read about these efforts in the reports listed below.
- Philadelphia children wait too long to start the behavioral health treatment that they need. This policy brief contains the results of PCCY’s quarterly survey of wait times at children’s behavioral health agencies. We also describe the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health’s initiatives to address this problem and PCCY’s recommendations for further improvement.
- For the first time, PCCY makes public information about how many children are receiving services (about 5,000), that most are in 3rd and 4th grade, are African American boys and that the most prevalent diagnosis is ADHD. PCCY recommendations to improve school-based services include: tracking student outcomes, better communication and strengthened collaboration among stakeholders and increasing parents’ awareness of and engagement in these services.
- PCCY reports on how long it takes children in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties to begin their behavioral health treatment.
- More children are turning to their pediatrician for behavioral health needs, yet pediatricians report they do not have adequate time to address these concerns or adequate training to respond and difficulty knowing where to refer children for appropriate care. PCCY surveyed 101 Philadelphia pediatricians exploring their concerns about the growing number of children with behavioral health needs and pediatrician’s actual and perceived barriers in assisting them.
Children’s health status and their family’s financial status can suffer when they lose their insurance coverage for a period of time before they re-enroll. Children who “churn” on and off of coverage are less likely to receive check-ups and immunizations, and their parents may incur high medical bills when they are uninsured. To better understand how to keep children seamlessly enrolled, PCCY conducted phone interviews with 51 parents we initially helped apply for Medical Assistance for their children. Overall, we found that many parents did not understand the renewal process and, therefore, experienced some difficulty keeping their children continuously enrolled.
Read our recommendations to prevent churning in our 2011 paper: Reducing Children’s MA Churning: Policy Recommendations from the Parent’s Eye View.
It is encouraging to note that some of the strategies we suggested have since been adopted. The Pennsylvania office that operates Medicaid, for example, is working more closely with its contracted health plans to prevent lapses in coverage. Further, the Affordable Care Act now calls for renewing coverage once a year when Pennsylvania state government had previously required recipients to renew twice a year.
Colleen McCauley, PCCY’s Health Policy Director and Dr. Judith Silver, Vice President, PCCY Board of Directors testified at a public hearing on Governor Corbett’s proposal to expand Medicaid coverage, called “Healthy PA,” in January, 2014. They implored the state to make children who are undocumented eligible for public health insurance and to transition more children into Medicaid as the Affordable Care Act required.