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Children's Hospital CEO Speaks Up on Behalf of Washington's Children

October 01, 2002

Seattle, Wash. – Treuman Katz, President and CEO of Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, called upon Washington state’s lawmakers to protect our state’s 150,000 children on Medicaid at the opening session of the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI) annual meeting Sept. 30 – Oct. 2.

Seattle, Wash. – Treuman Katz, President and CEO of Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, called upon Washington state’s lawmakers to protect our state’s 150,000 children on Medicaid at the opening session of the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI) annual meeting Sept. 30 through Oct. 2.

“This is the most severe proposed state budget reduction that I have seen in my 24 years at Children’s,” said Katz, who was addressing some 500 children’s hospital leaders and national medical experts attending the meeting.

Washington state has led the nation in providing health care for children by electing to pay for various Medicaid options that expanded coverage. This resulted in increased access and improved health outcomes at the lowest of costs. According to Washington data, emergency room visits and hospitalization rates have decreased over the past decade due to good preventive care.

However, as the state government works to address its budget shortfalls, it is proposing to cut Medicaid coverage for low-income children. “Children are not driving health care costs,” said Katz. “Less than 25 percent of the Medicaid budget is spent on children, yet children comprise over 60 percent of Medicaid enrollees. The state’s proposal is short sighted because by cutting coverage we will be faced with greater costs and, more importantly, worsening health care for our children.”

The State is attempting to access unspent federal State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) funds to cover adults on the Basic Health Plan, at the same time they propose cutting children from coverage. “This makes no sense. Forty percent of the children served at Children’s rely on health coverage through Medicaid and SCHIP and each day we see more and more families out of work and without health insurance for their children,” said Katz. “In this economic downturn, it is more important now
than ever that Washington obtain the necessary federal authority to use SCHIP funds as they were intended: to meet the needs of our children.”

Members of Washington state’s congressional delegation are working to obtain SCHIP funds to protect children on Medicaid.

Discussions are currently taking place in the U.S. Senate regarding SCHIP funding. “We encourage all citizens to write their U.S. Senators and urge them to address the SCHIP issue for children this year,” said Katz.

About Seattle Children's Hospital

Consistently ranked as one of the best children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Children’s serves as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical referral center for the largest landmass of any children’s hospital in the country (Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho). For more than 100 years, Children’s has been delivering superior patient care and advancing new treatments through pediatric research. Children’s serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The hospital works in partnership with Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation. For more information, visit http://www.seattlechildrens.org.

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