Children's Health Access Coalition (CHAC)

Since 1995, the Children’s Health Access Coalition (CHAC) has championed the cause of access to health care for all Massachusetts children.
 
MISSION
CHAC is a coalition of providers, community organizations, child advocates, and other stakeholders committed to ensuring that all children in Massachusetts have access to and receive age-appropriate, comprehensive and affordable health care services throughout childhood, from prenatal to adolescent and early adult years. We educate, organize and advocate in our communities, at the State House and beyond.
 
VISION
CHAC envisions a health care system that:
provides affordable, comprehensive, readily accessible, high quality, coordinated, continuous care for all children;
effectively serves children with special health needs;
delivers linguistically and culturally appropriate services;
addresses unmet needs ; and
promotes health equity.
 
ACCOMPLISHMENTS
CHAC’s advocacy to protect, improve and expand children’s health insurance coverage programs has helped Massachusetts achieve a 98% coverage rate for our children. 
 
Medicaid: CHAC knows that a strong Medicaid program keeps our children, families and communities healthy. We advocate for improvements to Medicaid – and against harmful cuts at both the state and federal level. With more than 40% of all children covered by MassHealth – the Commonwealth’s combined Medicaid/CHIP program, CHAC believes keeping this program robust is key to a healthy future. 
Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): When Congress delayed renewal of funding for CHIP, CHAC took action. We educated policy makers at the state and federal level and elevated the stories of the children and families in the Commonwealth and across the nation who depend on this program. We didn’t stop until Congress passed long-term funding for CHIP.
Children’s Medical Security Plan (CMSP): CHAC worked hard to expand access to CMSP in 1996. CHAC continues to advocate to fund and improve CMSP, a key program that provides coverage for primary and preventative medical and dental services to certain uninsured children.
 
2019-2020 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES
 

An Act to Ensure Equitable Health Coverage for Children (H. 162/S. 677, Rep. D. Rogers & Sen. DiDomenico)

Although 98% of the Commonwealth’s children have some form of health insurance, thousands of low-income children can access only minimal coverage with strict limits on covered benefits, leaving them without all the care they need. This legislation will expand comprehensive MassHealth coverage to children who would meet all eligibility criteria for MassHealth except for their immigration status. Several other states have enacted this policy, including California, New York, Illinois, Washington, Oregon and Washington D.C.

An Act Ensuring Continuous Healthcare Coverage for Youth Who Have Aged-Out of the Department of Children and Families (H. 124/S. 35, Rep. Gregoire & Sen. DiDomenico)

Due to the transient nature of former foster youth and associated administrative barriers, a number of former foster youth lose MassHealth coverage, although still eligible. This bill will codify the provision in the Affordable Care Act that allows youth who have aged out of foster care through the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to receive MassHealth benefits until they turn 26, comparable to allowing children to remain enrolled in their parent’s health plan until age 26. In addition, this legislation requires MassHealth to automatically re-enroll former foster youth annually until they are no longer eligible.

An Act Relative to Children with Medical Complexity (H. 1141/S. 680, Rep. Cronin & Sen. DiDomenico)

Children with medical complexity (CMC) are one of the smallest, yet fastest growing populations of children. Innovations in health care and technology ensure that the population of CMC in the Commonwealth will continue to increase, as children are now surviving previously fatal conditions. This bill would require the Health Policy Commission to conduct a comprehensive statewide study of children with medical complexity and provide valuable data on this special population, which can help inform future policy decisions.

An Act Regarding the Pediatric Palliative Care Program (H. 1982/S. 1238, Rep. O’Day & Sen. DiDomenico)

Pediatric Palliative Care Programs currently provide vital services to 445 ill children and their families, including consultation for pain and symptom management, nursing care, case management, social services, counseling, volunteer support, respite, complimentary therapies and bereavement services for families. However, lack of adequate and consistent levels of funding often leave children and families without the services they need. New referrals outpace providers’ ability to take on new cases; as of February 2019, the wait list is 118 children. This legislation would ensure that all eligible children and their families can access palliative care services.

FY2020 BUDGET PRIORITIES

Children’s Medical Security Plan (4000-0990): The Commonwealth has made noteworthy efforts to ensure that all children have access to affordable health coverage. CHAC requests funding of $14,700,000 for CMSP, which is responsive to expected enrollment.

Early Intervention (4513-1020): Early Intervention (EI) is the Commonwealth’s most cost-effective program dedicated to serving children from birth to three years who have, or are at risk of, developmental delays and disabilities. CHAC requests funding of $30,825,436 for Early Intervention services.

Pediatric Palliative Care (4590-1503): Pediatric Palliative Care Programs currently provide invaluable services to 445 ill children and their families. CHAC requests funding of $4.8 million for Pediatric Palliative Care Programs in the FY2020 budget.

 
JOIN US
There is still much work to do. Are you and your organization passionate about breaking down the barriers to coverage and care for all children in Massachusetts? To learn more about CHAC and to get involved, please contact Suzanne Curry scurry@hcfama.org or (617) 275-2977. We look forward to working with you!

Related Resources

Community Catalyst Children's Health Initiative

The Children's Health Initiative is focused on elevating children's health coverage, access and quality issues through strengthening state level coalition work.

Mass Budget’s Children’s Budget

This Children's Budget shows how our state budget affects the lives of children.

Georgetown Center for Children and Families

The Center for Children & Families (CCF) of the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute is an independent, nonpartisan policy & research center dedicated to expanding & improving.

COALITION MEMBERS

Action for Boston Community Development, Inc.

Alliance for Inclusion and Prevention

American Academy of Pediatrics MA Chapter

Association for Behavioral Healthcare

Boston Children's Hospital

Boston Medical Center

Boston Public Health Commission

Cambridge Health Alliance

Children's Law Center of Mass

Children's League of Massachusetts

Children's Vision Massachusetts

Coalition for Social Justice

Codman Square Health Center

Community Catalyst

Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath)

East Boston Ecumenical Community Council (EBECC)

Federation for Children with Special Needs

Franciscan Children's

Health Care For All

The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts

Health Law Advocates

Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts

The Home for Little Wanderers

Joint Committee for Children's Health Care in Everett

Massachusetts Advocates for Children

Massachusetts Coalition of School-Based Health Centers

Massachusetts Early Intervention Consortium

Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association

Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition

Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers

Massachusetts Medical Society

Massachusetts Pediatric Home Nursing Care Campaign

Massachusetts School Nurse Organization, Inc. 

Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

Medical-Legal Partnership Boston

Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee

National Association of Social Workers, MA Chapter

New England Alliance for Children's Health

Parent/Professional Advocacy League

Partners HealthCare

United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley