Dr. Arnold goes to D.C., speaking up for medically complex children on Medicaid

June 24, 2014


Representatives from Texas Children’s Hospital are joining children’s hospitals from across the nation in Washington, D.C.this week for the annual Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) Family Advocacy Day. CHA recently launched Speak Now for Kids, a grassroots initiative to advocate for medically complex children.

Dr. Jennifer Arnold, neonatologist and medical director of Texas Children’s Simulation Center, along with her husband, Bill Klein, and their two children, Will and Zoey, is representing Texas Children’s Hospital at the event. Arnold provides the insightful perspective of a physician, former patient and a mother of two children with medical complexities.

“Everyone, including our policymakers, needs to know the best place for children with complex medical conditions is a children’s hospital, where experienced specialty care is available for their needs,” Arnold said. “It ultimately gives children the best chance at a healthy and happy life.”

Family Advocacy Day convenes hospital representatives and their patient families to speak to their members of Congress about supporting legislation to create pediatric centers of excellence at children’s hospitals to care for the most vulnerable patients: medically complex children on Medicaid. The legislation – titled “Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act” (or ACE Kids Act) –  will ensure that children are able to receive the care they need from a center equipped to provide comprehensive care, even if the hospital is in another state.

Arnold, her family and families from other children’s hospitals are meeting with members of Congress to advocate for Medicaid reform for children with medical complexities, the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and funding to train pediatric residents.

“It is my love as a parent, my duty as a physician and my experience as a patient which compels me to raise awareness for this important issue,” Arnold said.

The families speaking in Washington, D.C., this week represent the voices of the thousands of children being treated at centers of excellence like Texas Children’s Hospital every day. As a Texas Children’s employee, you can help spread the message about why children’s hospitals are the best place for kids with complex medical.

5 ways you can Speak Now for Kids:

  1. #Speaknowforkids. Use this hashtag and saturate social media with your stories about why children’s hospitals matter.
  2. Get social with your policymakers. Find the social media pages for your representatives and senators and post to their pages about why you want them to speak now for kids.
  3. Call, write, and reach out. Lawmakers are elected by you to stand up for you. Make your voice heard. Contact their offices and let them know why you care about Medicaid reform for medically complex children. Click here to find out who represents you.
  4. Share a story. Encourage patient families to share their stories here.
  5. Educate. Talk to your network of friends and family about how programs like Medicaid matter to all children and encourage them to get involved.