Key Issues

Medicaid (Medical Assistance)

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that provides health coverage to certain categories of low-asset people, including children, pregnant women, parents of eligible children and people with disabilities. The program has a significant impact on Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota because Medicaid is the largest children's health program in the United States. Minnesota’s Medicaid program is called Medical Assistance and covers a broad range of health care services with few costs paid by the family. 

Why is Medicaid such an important issue for Children's?

Medicaid makes up approximately 42% of Children’s revenue. An average adult hospital receives between 5-10% Medicaid. As a result, cuts to Medicaid over the past several years have hit Children’s four to five times harder than most hospitals, disproportionately impacting health care for children. Over the course of the last decade, Children's Medicaid funding has been cut by more than $40 million. We bear the brunt of these cuts especially considering kids generate less than 20% of the healthcare costs of Medicaid, even though they constitues 50% of the program's enrollment.

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Health Care Innovation

At Children’s, we understand that the health care landscape is rapidly changing, and that the way we do business is going to change. Children’s is undertaking a number of initiatives to make our hospital system a model for pediatric care in the country.

Accountable Care Organizations

As an example, Children’s is one of the phase one projects in the Minnesota Department of Human Services' (DHS) Healthcare Delivery System demonstration project. One of these is the Health Care Demonstration.

In 2011, the state of Minnesota undertook a nation-leading effort to streamline care for its 600,000+ Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP) patients. Children’s was one of 9 providers statewide chosen to participate in the new HCDS demonstration project.

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Childhood obesity

The obesity epidemic has reached even our youngest children: In Minnesota, one-in-four children is obese or overweight and one-in-five children is obese before they start school. The problem is even greater among poor children and minority children regardless of family income.

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Medical education

Children’s Hospitals and Clinics stands out becuase of our expertly trained pediatric specialists and pediatricians.

Parents want their child to see a children’s doctor when they are sick or need specialized care. Our physicians are specially trained to meet the unique needs of children who are constantly growing and developing. For example, our neurosurgeons are trained to operate on a newborn brain one-quarter the size of an adult brain. 

Children's is the state’s largest pediatric hospital, and the 7th largest stand-alone pediatric hospital in the country. Last year alone, Children’s trained approximately 400 students, residents and fellows in primary care and a variety of pediatric specialties.

Unfortunately, that specialized training is threatened by medical eduation program cuts at the state and federal level.

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Newborn screening

The newborn screening program at the Minnesota Department of Health(MDH) tests newborns to see if they are at risk for more than 53 hidden, rare disorders. These disorders, if left untreated, can result in illness, physical disabilities, learning and developmental disabilities, hearing loss, or even death. Yet early treatment and diagnosis, medications and/or changes in diet can prevent most of these health problems from occurring.

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