Connecticut Children’s 2023 Public Policy Priorities Connecticut Children’s advocacy efforts are aimed at ensuring that kids and families remain at the center of the public policymaking process. Our advocacy work connects Connecticut Children’s pediatric experts with elected officials and agency leaders working in Washington, D.C., and Hartford, Connecticut, and with local officials all across the region. The promotion of children’s optimal healthy development requires our constant focus, collaboration with key partners, and innovative solutions. Our advocacy agenda is designed to proactively pursue legislative and regulatory changes that will protect and enhance the physical and emotional well-being of all children regardless of their race, gender, where they live, how much their caregivers earn, or the source of their health insurance coverage. Access to Adequate and Affordable Care Strengthen Connecticut’s Medicaid program by increasing access for children, parents, and pregnant women and ensuring that all eligible children have equitable access to the right care, at the right time, in the right setting. Pursue the implementation of reimbursement mechanisms that incentivize keeping children healthy by encouraging innovative payment models in Medicaid and private insurance. Strengthen targeted supports for babies and their families to address the health and socio-economic risk factors that can impact their short-and-long-term health and wellbeing outcomes. Support families’ access to telehealth services across all payers and ensure adequate reimbursement to help increase healthcare access for all children. Support the needs of children with complex medical conditions, through the provision of more integrated and coordinated care, such as the ACE Kids model, and access to comprehensive pediatric home care. Improve access to critical prescription drugs and treatments by defending programs like the 340B drug pricing program and by addressing the high-cost of some prescriptions drugs, which pose challenges to patients and overall healthcare spending. Strengthen the pediatric workforce pipeline to ensure that all kids have access to pediatric experts by incentivizing people to pursue careers in healthcare and promoting greater diversity in the healthcare workforce. Support the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program by pursuing parity with Medicare GME payments. Improving the Behavioral Health of Children and their Families Advance innovative policies and practices that support a comprehensive and integrative behavioral health system. This includes empowering primary care pediatricians to better treat mental health conditions and increasing access to children’s behavioral health services at all levels of the system, so that kids and families can access services where and when they need them. Build and maintain a strong pediatric behavioral health workforce pipeline to address the current workforce shortage. Promote and enforce payment parity for behavioral health services which will help encourage more clinicians to enter into the field, provide supports for primary care practices to hire and effectively utilize embedded behavioral health professionals, and ensure adequate access to services across the acuity spectrum. Work to ensure that families’ health insurance plans have sufficient coverage of behavioral health services to prevent families from incurring high out-of-pocket costs for care. Strengthen programs that support the connection between children and their key adult influencers like parents, teachers, day care providers and coaches by providing education about children’s emotional health needs and how best to help. Ensure that recent state efforts to support children’s behavioral health are making an impact by measuring and reporting outcomes data. Strengthening Initiatives Which Support Whole-Child Wellness Promote education, research, and public policies that reduce unintentional injury and violence among children and families. This includes: gun violence and firearm safety, suicide prevention, family violence prevention, hospital-based violence intervention as well as rules and regulations that support motor vehicle and pedestrian safety. Remove barriers which limit the impact of initiatives and programs that support healthy homes and clean and safe streets knowing the great effect that these community outcomes have on the health and well-being of children and families. Support collaboration and coordination between primary care providers, hospital systems, and all levels of the care continuum that allow Connecticut Children’s Care Network and other clinically integrated networks to provide more efficient, cost-effective, and high-quality care. Support and reimburse for care coordination services, which help families navigate the pediatric health care ‘ecosystem,’ increases pediatric providers’ capacity to connect their patient families to resources that address the many social factors that impact a child’s health and development (often refered to as the social influencers of health). Creating a more comprehensive, integrated healthcare delivery approach allows for early detection, referral, and linkage to any appropriate programs and services a family might need. Strengthen families’ resilience through affordable and accessible child care options, making permanent the federal child tax credit and state child tax rebate, and through community investment. Promoting Innovative Strategies to Advance Pediatric Health Outcomes Establish a Pediatric Innovation Fund to drive improvements in care delivery, impact measurement and patient/family/community outcomes. Pursue funding for pediatric research that supports the advancement of cures and treatments to childhood diseases and conditions as well as research into the most efficacious ways of delivering care to kids and families. Develop an ecosystem which supports pediatric rare disease research, clinical trials, and partnerships between industry, academia, and patients. Develop a State leadership structure to guide and coordinate the broad range of influencers that impact children’s health, wellness and future success.