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BearNet News - Fall 2008

President Signs Conquer Childhood Cancer Act

On July 29, 2008, President Bush signed into law the Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act of 2008. The bill authorizes Congress to allocate $30 million per year for five years to fund collaborative pediatric cancer clinical trials research and improve public awareness of available pediatric cancer treatments. The law is named after Representative Deborah Pryce's (R-OH) nine year old daughter who passed away in 1999 due to neuroblastoma. This expansion of federal investment into pediatric cancer research and education is intended to make a difference in the lives of the approximately 12,000 children that are diagnosed with pediatric cancer each year.

Children's National Medical Center advocated in support of the bill through its participation in LIVESTRONG Day last year. Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), an original sponsor of the legislation, said of the bill upon House passage, "This bill will enhance and expand pediatric cancer research activities at the National Institutes of Health, establish a pediatric cancer registry, and increase informational and educational outreach efforts to patients and families affected by pediatric cancer. No child should have to experience and suffer the effects of cancer, and no parent should have to see their child suffer."

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Election 2008: Get Registered and Get Informed!

Get Registered!
Election Day is November 4, 2008, and voter registration deadlines in the region are quickly approaching.

In Virginia, the deadline for registration is 29 days before the election, making this year's deadline October 6, 2008.

In the District of Columbia, the deadline for registration is 30 days prior to the election, October 6, 2008.

In Maryland, the deadline for voter registration is October 14, 2008.

For more information about registering to vote in DC, Maryland and Virginia, visit the Children’s National Election Headquarters.

Get Informed!

Children’s National is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, tax-exempt hospital. Internal Revenue Service codes prohibit 501(c)(3) charitable hospitals from participating in "any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office." As such, Children’s National is non-partisan and does not endorse or oppose any candidate for political office. The hospital is allowed to provide non-partisan voter education information and sponsor non-partisan voter education events. To learn more about the candidates for office in your area and the presidential candidates, visit the Children’s National Election Headquarters.

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Medicaid Regulations Suspended

On June 30, 2008, President Bush signed the supplemental war funding bill that included a suspension of six Medicaid regulations until April 1, 2009. These regulations were intended to be cost-saving and sought to reduce federal Medicaid spending by $13 billion over five years. Children's National supported suspending the six regulations as well as that of an additional regulation that was not included in the bill.

Because nearly 50 percent of children treated on an inpatient basis at Children's National rely on Medicaid for their health care coverage, a financially strong and comprehensive Medicaid program is critical to our hospital and the children and families we serve. This past spring, Children's National participated in a grassroots campaign supporting suspension of the Medicaid regulations and generated more than 300 e-mails to members of Congress.

The six regulations suspended by the bill would have:
  • limited state Medicaid financing mechanisms, including intergovernmental transfers;
  • ended federal Medicaid reimbursement for graduate medical education;
  • narrowed the range of rehabilitative services reimbursed by Medicaid;
  • prohibited federal Medicaid reimbursement for school-based transportation and administrative services;
  • narrowed the range of case management services reimbursed by Medicaid, and
  • limited the use of provider taxes to finance state Medicaid programs.
The seventh administrative rule that the bill did not address would narrow the range of outpatient hospital services reimbursed by Medicaid.

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National Association of Children's Hospitals Prepares for Health Reform Debate

The National Association of Children's Hospitals recently adopted a set of principles for children's health coverage based on discussions with the leadership of children's hospitals as well as a number of health policy experts and advocates. The nine principles articulate the elements necessary to make health care reform work for children. Facts, stories and expert opinions substantiate these principles and demonstrate the need for reform of the current state of children's health coverage. The principles will help guide the Association’s work in 2009 when Congress is expected to address health reform.

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House, Senate Subcommittees Approve $310 Million for CHGME

The House and Senate Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) Subcommittees included $310 million for the Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program in their FY 2009 appropriations bills. This amount represents an $8 million increase over the FY 2008 funding level of $301.7 million. On Saturday, Sept. 27, the Congress passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government until March 6, 2009. The CR retains FY 2008 funding levels for nearly all federal discretionary health programs, including Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME), which will continue to be funded at $301.7 million annually, until Congress settles the FY2009 funding.

CHGME is extremely important because without it, children's hospitals – including Children’s National Medical Center - would receive almost no federal Graduate Medical Education (GME) funding. CHGME has always enjoyed very strong bipartisan support in Congress, and this year is no exception. More than 140 Representatives, as well as 51 Senators, signed letters to their respective appropriations committees requesting full funding for CHGME in FY 2009.

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