State Health Commissioner Highlights New York's Success in Improving Children's Health
Washington, DC, September 18, 1998 – New York has taken a national leadership role in providing health care access to children of low–income families, and has enjoyed a dramatic expansion of its Child Health Plus program under the leadership of Governor George E. Pataki, State Health Commissioner Barbara A. DeBuono, M.D. today told the House Subcommittee on Health and Environment in testimony prepared to give House members a progress report on state children's health insurance programs.
"Ensuring that New York's children grow up healthy with access to regular medical check–ups, immunizations, and early diagnosis and treatment of illness and developmental disabilities, is one of the highest priorities of Governor George E. Pataki and the New York State Department of Health," Dr. DeBuono said. "In just three years, New York has jump–started Child Health Plus, tripling the amount of state funds committed to the program and more than doubling enrollment from 90,000 children in 1995 to more than 230,000 children today. With new federal funding we are expanding the program even further."
New York has begun receiving a total of $256 million in annual federal funding, effective April 15, 1998, under the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. The federal funding serves to augment state support for the Child Health Plus program that has risen from $82 million in 1996 to $207 million in 1999 under Governor Pataki's leadership.
Recent legislation initiated by Governor Pataki will use the combination of state and federal funds to expand Child Health Plus to an unprecedented level. The Governor's legislation will add dental, vision, speech and hearing services to the program's comprehensive benefit package, raise income eligibility limits, and make the program even more affordable for families.
The Child Health Plus program serves families with children under the age of 19 who are not eligible for Medicaid. Services covered include well–child care, physicals, immunizations, treatment of illness and injury, X–rays and lab tests, outpatient surgery, emergency care, prescription drugs, inpatient hospital care, short–term therapeutic outpatient services, and outpatient treatment for alcoholism, substance abuse and mental health.
New York's expanded Child Health Plus program uses a managed care product to deliver cost–effective health care with an emphasis on prevention. The State currently contracts with 27 insurers to provide health insurance coverage for the Child Health Plus children.
In her testimony, the State Health Commissioner said, "Through the integration of Child Health Plus, and New York's new mandatory Medicaid managed care program, we are creating a seamless system of health care –– providing every eligible child with a 'medical home' and a primary care provider to coordinate their health care services and giving our state an unprecedented opportunity to achieve real improvement in the health status of New York's children. Children get to know their primary care provider who is familiar with their health history and can effectively meet their health care needs."