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Movement to improve quality of children's healthcare

The Children’s Healthcare Quality Act (S.1226), a bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate this week, is a first step in eliminating the disparity between adults and children when it comes to measuring and reporting on health care quality. The bill would provide federal authority and $100 million over five years to invest in the development and testing of quality measures for children’s health care. In addition to providing support for private sector’s development of pediatric quality measure development, the bill would make it possible for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to fund demonstrations of evidence-based approaches to improve hospital care for children.

Pediatric measures are especially lacking when it comes to inpatient care, according to a nationwide survey by the National Association of Children’s Hospitals. Last year, N.A.C.H. commissioned a 50-state survey by Health Management Associates. It found that while states use quality measures for children’s health services, they are almost always measures of primary and preventive care for children enrolled in managed care plans, not inpatient hospital care for children. Only two states indicated use of any pediatric inpatient measures. Because of limited resources, states are looking to the federal government for leadership and measures.

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