Children's hospital reaches out to parents

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is implementing new strategies to reach out to adults and stress the importance of their own healthcare and insurance coverage, USA Today reports.

Although the Keystone State enacted its Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) more than two decades ago, providers are now making an effort to use similar initiatives to "establish the same kind of model for adults that's worked with the kids," Karen Hudson, program director of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Homeless Health Initiative, told USA Today.

For example, doctors at the hospital encourage parents who bring in their children to sign up for Medicaid or health insurance. CHOP also expanded this parental outreach effort to homeless shelters, where many of its clinicians volunteer to treat and teach, according to the article.

Encouraging parents to sign up will have positive effects on general population health, according to Tricia Brooks, a fellow at Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. "The research shows kids are not as likely to be up-to-date on their health care if their parents aren't insured," said Brooks. "Someone out there has to be triaging it. Parents need to be well themselves to be good parents."

Pennsylvania has yet to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (although Republican Gov. Tom Corbett has floated a proposal to widen the program). As a result, the article states, a parent with an annual income of between $7,421 and $19,530 will not qualify for Medicaid or an insurance exchange subsidy. More than 130,000 parents in Pennsylvania are uninsured and have an income low enough that they qualify for exchange subsidies, and a quarter of those parents have a child who is eligible for, but not enrolled in, Medicaid or CHIP.

An August editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association advocated a similar approach, saying adult hospitals could improve patient outcomes and satisfaction if they implemented the same model as children's hospitals, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the USA Today article