Children's Health Access Coalition (CHAC)
The Children’s Health Access Coalition (CHAC) is HCFA’s oldest coalition. Founded in 1995, CHAC works to ensure that every child in Massachusetts has access to age-appropriate, comprehensive, and affordable health services.
CHAC is a coalition of providers, advocates, and other stakeholders committed to ensuring that all Massachusetts children have access to and receive comprehensive health services throughout childhood, from prenatal to adolescent and early adult years. We work to preserve, improve and expand key children's health coverage programs, including Medicaid, CHIP, and the Children's Medical Security Plan (CMSP).
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; and
- addresses unmet needs and promotes health equity.
If you would like to know more about CHAC, please contact Suzanne Curry at firstname.lastname@example.org
2017-2018 Priority Legislation
An Act Improving the Children's Medical Security Plan and Simplifying the Administration Process (H. 2216/S. 32)
Lead Sponsors: Representative Malia & Senator DiDomenico
Summary: The Children's Medical Security Program (CMSP) provides basic coverage to children who are otherwise ineligible for other public health insurance programs. With strict limits on covered services and coverage amounts, CMSP coverage may not provide sufficient benefits to keep a young person healthy. An Act Improving the Children's Medical Security Plan and Simplifying the Administration Process gives EOHHS the flexibility to address the health needs of children by eliminating service caps, while staying within the program's annual appropriation.
Find the fact sheet here.
An Act to Ensure Continued Health Insurance Coverage for Children (H. 598/S. 647)
Lead Sponsors: Representative Cronin & Senator L'Italien
Summary: The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides comprehensive, affordable health coverage to uninsured children and pregnant women who have lower incomes, but make too much to qualify for Medicaid. Federal funding for CHIP runs out after September 30, 2017, which would cause about 160,000 children and youth and thousands of pregnant women to lose their health insurance. An Act to Ensure Continued Health Insurance Coverage for Children ensures that CHIP enrollees maintain coverage regardless of federal action on the program.
Find the fact sheet here.
FY2019 Budget Priorities
Children’s Medical Security Plan (4000-0990) / Funding Request: $17,096,978
The Children’s Medical Security Plan (CMSP) is the ultimate safety net for children in Massachusetts. Uninsured children who do not qualify for comprehensive MassHealth coverage can get coverage through CMSP. Approximately 35,000 children are enrolled in CMSP. Unfortunately, CMSP coverage is limited by strict benefit caps that are inadequate to address the health needs of young people. For example, CMSP limits prescription drug coverage to $200 per year. The FY2019 House 2 budget funds CMSP at $12,096,978, a roughly $5 million decrease from FY2017, due to savings from moving administration of the program from an outside vendor (UniCare) to within the MassHealth agency. Given that CMSP is already a very limited coverage program, CHAC requests funding of CMSP at $17,096,978, investing the $5 million in savings to improve benefits for these children.
Early Intervention (4513-1020) / Funding Request: $29,300,167
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. By intervening at the most critical time of a child’s brain development, EI services can help children address their developmental, social and health care challenges and improve their outcomes. The EI program has a remarkable track record of limiting the need for more expensive, less effective services in later years. More than $27 million annually in special education savings is attributed to EI services. Nearly 50,000 children receive one or more services from EI programs each year and of those, over 40,000 children and their families receive ongoing services from the sixty EI programs statewide. CHAC requests funding of Early Intervention at $29,300,167, consistent with the FY2019 House 2 budget recommendation.
Pediatric Palliative Care (4590-1503) / Funding Request: $3,006,334
There are currently eight Pediatric Palliative Care Programs operated by licensed hospice agencies throughout the Commonwealth. These programs provide invaluable services to over 350 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. In addition to these services, Pediatric Palliative Care Programs provide ill children and their families with further assistance and care through the work of dedicated volunteers, who provide thousands of volunteer hours at no cost to the Commonwealth or the families. CHAC requests funding of Pediatric Palliative Care Programs at $3,006,334, to ensure that all children and families who need these services can get them.
Continuous Skilled Nursing (4000-0700/4000-0500) / Funding Request: Additional $16,000,000
Continuous Skilled Nursing (CSN) services provide critical care that is authorized and deemed medically necessary by MassHealth to the Commonwealth’s most medically fragile children and adults at home who would otherwise need to be in a pediatric nursing home or hospital intensive care unit. The highly skilled workforce needed to care for this population has been depleted due to stagnant reimbursement rates over the last decade, resulting in the crisis families are in today. Despite recent rate increases, including the additional $15 million reflected in the FY2019 House 2 budget, the funding is not enough to address this access issue. CSN nurses will still not be at the median income, which will continue to result in extremely high turnover rates and the inability of providers to attract the level of nurses needed to do the job. New families remain on waitlists for these vital services while other families struggle to fill the rest of their authorized hours. CHAC requests that the Continuous Skilled Nursing Program be funded with an additional $16 million investment to give families access to highly skilled nurses to provide the medically necessary care that they are authorized to receive. This will also help prevent and cut down on costly intensive care unit hospitalizations and hospital readmissions, and quicken discharge with continuity of care from hospital to home.
The Children's Health Initiative is focused on elevating children's health coverage, access and quality issues through strengthening state level coalition work.
This Children's Budget shows how our state budget affects the lives of children.
The Center for Children & Families (CCF) of the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute is an independent, nonpartisan policy & research center dedicated to expanding & improving.