New report exhibits how Medicaid can assist kids’s restoration from pandemic | Division of Well being
With millions of Americans receiving COVID-19 vaccines, data is pouring in on the impact of the pandemic, painting a challenging picture of the conditions our children have suffered in the past year and the emerging needs they will have as the country changes recovered.
A new report, Medicaid Forward: Children’s Health, from the National Association of Medicaid Directors takes a close look at the realities the country is facing to aid its children’s recovery, as well as the innovations that Medicaid programs bring across Made land and continue to do so to help millions of these children. Currently, about two in five American children rely on Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for the medical care they need. That number is even higher in Louisiana, where over half of all children and about 60% of children under the age of 5 depend on Medicaid or CHIP. In addition, Medicaid pays for nearly half of all Louisiana births each year.
“The pandemic has posed incredible challenges to children and teenagers in Louisiana and across the country, but children are resilient and strong. With the help of caring adults and innovative systems, we can help provide them with a healthy, bright future, ”said Dr. Courtney N. Phillips, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health.
Since the early days of the pandemic, Medicaid programs have stepped in to support healthcare providers and patients. Through partnerships with the federal government, they streamlined membership processes, removed barriers to access to mental and physical care and developed innovative solutions to improve the efficiency and quality of care.
“Meeting today’s needs of children and adolescents will pay off socially and economically in the long run,” said Dr. Amanda Dumas, Louisiana Medicaid Associate Medical Director and practicing pediatrician. “As we emerge from the pandemic and focus our attention and resources on recovery, we have the opportunity to maintain and adapt successful strategies and lessons we learned during the pandemic.
Mental and physical needs
With 77 million American high school students partially or completely closed due to the pandemic – and over 40% of children still not experiencing face-to-face learning as of April – the academic losses and multidimensional effects of social isolation are inevitable. However, the effects extend to other aspects of a child’s life and well-being. The percentage of US households with children who are starving – meaning they do not have reliable access to food – has doubled from 14% to 28% since last fall. Depression and anxiety increase. In June 2020, 14% of parents said their children’s behavioral health had deteriorated compared to March 2019. A recent report estimates that around 40,000 children lost a parent to COVID-19.
The picture for colored children is even more difficult. More than one in four black or Latin American children suffered from a lack of food in March 2021. And while black children make up only 14% of all children in the United States, they represent 20% of children who have lost a parent to COVID-19.
“The realities our children face are stark. And they are not overcome quickly. But we have effective programs like Medicaid and CHIP that helped through the worst of the pandemic and are a vital part of the recovery for millions of American children, ”said Matt Salo, the association’s executive director.
The data also tell us that this growing need for mental and physical health care is unlikely to be met. Children received 44% fewer child screening examinations from March to May 2020 compared to that period in 2019.
“We know we still have a long way to go before we recover as a nation,” said Salo. “But surely our first and best efforts to make this recovery must begin with our children.”
Medicaid Forward: Children’s Health, the second in a three-part series, identifies opportunities for action to address immediate and long-term children’s health challenges arising from the COVID crisis in all communities. The series focuses on children, older adults and people with psychological and addiction diagnostics. The first in the series focused on mental health and addiction in all of the populations served by Medicaid.