CEO Report – Healthy Children for a Healthy Future
Posted on August 01, 2019
“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” - Nelson Mandela
This month families across Michigan are finishing vacations and completing back-to-school shopping in preparation for their children’s return to school. As a parent, there is nothing I take more seriously than the health and well-being of my children. Thus, I’m happy to share the new and energetic ways the MHA is focusing on children’s health to protect our youth and, thereby, safeguard Michigan’s future.
For the first time in our history, we created the MHA Council on Children’s Health to bring together representatives and leaders from major children’s hospitals and pediatrics programs across the state to focus on issues unique to the advancement of children's health in Michigan. Having the structure, process and dedicated staffing associated with a formal association council will ensure that these important issues remain front and center for us.
Integrated in our advocacy strategy every year is ensuring that programs such as Medicaid, MIChild and the Children’s Health Insurance Program are adequately funded to make sure children have access to preventive care and access to all the services they might need in the community. Two out of every five children in Michigan are covered by the Medicaid program, showing just how far-reaching and important these programs are to the children of our state.
In recent years, the MHA has also increased our focus on safety and quality improvement. By working with our member organizations, the MHA Keystone Center has been able to lead efforts that have resulted in a 68 percent reduction in unnecessary early elective deliveries since 2010. Reducing complications that often occur with an inappropriate early elective delivery is crucial for the development of newborns and infants.
Our work in addressing social determinants of health is also making an impact on the health and wellness of children. It is one thing to provide outstanding quality care in a healthcare setting, but the more impactful element is the home environment that a child is going back to after an appointment. Our member hospitals understand better than ever issues such as food insecurity, lack of readily available transportation and other socioeconomic challenges. By being actively involved in our communities, hospitals and health systems are taking preventive measures to improve the health of our local areas.
I’d also like to remind you that August is National Immunization Awareness Month. The MHA’s continued support of the statewide I Vaccinate campaign is protecting Michigan children, families and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases. It is our job to communicate that vaccinating our children is one of the safest and most effective things we can do to protect ourselves, our children and our loved ones.
One of the most heartbreaking scenes in healthcare, and one that we see with increasing frequency, is a child with serious behavioral health issues who is unable to receive the treatment that he or she desperately needs due to a shortage of available qualified caregivers and/or infrastructure. The MHA is committed to being a part of the solution to this problem, and we have established a robust Council on Behavioral Health Integration to do so.
Lastly, as we grapple with these serious challenges, we are thrilled to have partnerships with organizations such as the Children’s Hospital Association and the Children’s Foundation because our goals are certainly aligned to advance the health of individuals and communities and, particularly, children. I’m sure you will agree that this is an incredibly important segment of our Michigan population around which to focus our work.
As always, I welcome your thoughts.
Posted in: MHA Rounds