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May 11, 2014 Published in From Congress, Health & Fitness

Moran-Ellmers Introduce Bill To Improve Medicaid Care For Seriously Ill Children

Congressman Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat, with Congresswoman Renee Ellmers Thursday, May 8, re-introduced legislation, H.R. 4605 (also referred to as the “Mattie and Melinda Bill,” in honor of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and Melinda Lawrence), to improve health care for seriously ill children, by allowing states to bypass the years-long waiver process of including the Children’s Program of All-inclusive, Coordinated Care (ChiPACC) as a state option under Medicaid.

“There’s nothing partisan about providing comprehensive care for children suffering from life threatening illnesses,” said Rep. Moran. “We know that children are much more likely than adults to go in and out of terminal phases of their illness multiple times and require highly specialized care.  Parents shouldn’t be forced to choose between hospice and curative care for their child.”

“States need the flexibility to make easier and quicker decisions on providing Medicaid benefits to these sick kids,” Moran concluded.

Based on the highly effective, collaborative model of care developed by Children’s Hospice International, ChiPACC provides each enrolled child an individualized treatment plan that includes and manages services from providers across the health care spectrum. ChiPACC creates a comprehensive care plan, combining hospice services, counseling and respite with presently-available Medicaid curative care and supportive services.

"There is nothing more heartbreaking than watching your child suffer through a devastating disease. Our families are the most precious gifts we have, yet the process of navigating through countless medical bureaucracies can be daunting, inefficient and costly. That's why today I've joined Congressman Jim Moran to continue the mission he started by providing a legislative remedy to this problem," said Rep. Ellmers.  "This morning I introduced the ChiPACC Act, which allows states to bypass the cumbersome application process that parents must navigate in order to receive Medicaid benefits. This bill will save costs while providing greater efficiency and better options for states - so that they can provide the right aid at the right time. I'm proud to be a part of this effort and encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join in this important cause."

There are currently only five states providing ChiPACC services as part of state Medicaid programs. The treatment to Medicaid-eligible children suffering from serious illnesses in the remaining 45 states results in an inconsistent and emergency system. Shifting to ChiPACC services and therefore eliminating the Emergency Room as the primary care facility for this population will reduce the cost of Medicaid services.

The five states currently offering ChiPACC services are Florida, Colorado, California, New York, and North Dakota.  Other states are in various stages of seeking waivers, but are waiting on federal legislation allowing them to elect the state plan option.

Children’s Hospice International weighed in in support of the legislation, saying, “Children’s Hospice International thanks Congresswoman Renee Ellmers and Congressman Jim Moran for working together to reintroduce the Children’s Program of All-Inclusive, Coodinated Care (ChiPACC) bill, which allows states the option to implement a children’s program of all-inclusive coordinated care (ChiPACC) under Medicaid. The program offers a vital pathway for the delivery of critical services to Medicaid-eligible children with life-threatening conditions and their families who are currently restricted to “hospice” services under the traditional Medicaid model. This legislation will improve the quality and cost efficiency of care provided to very sick children and their families and Reps. Ellmers and Moran are to be commended for their leadership on this important legislation.”

“Children’s Hospice International appreciates Congressman Jim Moran’s continued dedication to providing greater access for pediatric palliative care services. For over a decade Congressman Moran has worked tirelessly to champion this legislation and advance the ChiPACC model of care on behalf of children across the country who suffer from potentially terminal illness or conditions and their families.”

Rep. Moran originally introduced the ChiPACC Act in 2012.

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