Stories about: Policy & Payment

Why breastfeeding matters for mothers and children (and families) everywhere

Baby touching mother's face while breastfeeding

The recent attempt by U.S. representatives to the World Health Assembly to reduce support for global infant nutrition guidelines represents a new low in promoting global public health. World Breastfeeding Week gives us reason to review hard facts and real news about how and why to support nursing mothers and their infants. …Read More

Family Advocacy Day: Connecting patients, parents and policymakers

2016 Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day, June 22, 2016
2016 Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day, June 22, 2016

Each summer, the Office of Government Relations travels with patient families to Washington, DC to participate in the Children’s Hospital Association’s Family Advocacy Day. This event is a “big lift” in terms of the work involved in identifying families, arranging travel and meetings and managing a crowd of people, many with special needs, in a city that is 500 miles from home – and usually really hot and muggy in June!

The event offers an important opportunity for us to bring our patients directly to members of Congress, who are making decisions about how children receive care and the institutions that deliver that care. It’s important that Members of Congress hear about public policy from the people who are impacted.  It’s important that members of Congress hear about public policy from the people who are impacted.While we can travel to DC ourselves as BCH staff and with our senior leadership to make our case for better public policies for kids (and we do!), there is nothing like taking the patients and their families into a congressional office to make that case for us. In particular, we make a point to regularly travel with families from other states in the New England region to help remind elected officials from the other states that our hospital in Boston plays a significant role in the health care of some of the most vulnerable children in their home state. They need to hear this from their own constituents and our patient families have done a tremendous job of illustrating that role over the years.

The value of the event is evident not just in June, but throughout the year. When we go back to these Members and their staff at other times throughout the year, they remember the families who have come with us. Sometimes we see the Family Advocacy trading cards on the desks of members of Congress. Sometimes they ask us for updates on the health of the kids. And we like to believe that always, these kids stay in their hearts and minds when it is time to take an action that impacts children and those who provide them with care. …Read More

When kids live far from health care, telehealth may be a lifeline


Did you know that at least 15 million children in the U.S. live in “Health Professional Shortage Areas” (HPSAs), defined as regions with an average of less than one health professional for every 3,500 people?  Far from hospitals, primary care doctors and specialists, these kids often miss out on getting the care they need. Telehealth can help bridge the gap between health professionals and these communities.

Our sister blog Vector spotlights various initiatives that have creatively used telehealth to care for children in remote areas.  The results are encouraging: timely, cost-effective care — when insurance regulations cooperate.

Read more about telehealth and HPSAs on Vector.

For what we spend, do U.S. children see the doctor or dentist enough?

calendar dentist appointment doctor appointment
(Michail Petrov/Shutterstock)

By now, most Americans know this dark and disturbing truth about our health care system: We spend more than any other industrialized country on health care, yet we have some of the worst health outcomes on a number of measures (including infant mortality, average lifespan, and death from preventable diseases).

Our current system focuses much more on treating illness than preventing it. So how does our usage, or the amount we spend on and utilize health care resources, relate to our outcomes, or how healthy we are overall? Better yet: What can we learn from comparing our country with one that has better health outcomes and a similar insurance system? …Read More