By Karen VanLandeghem, MPH
Senior Advisor, National Center for Health Reform Implementation, AMCHP
Passage of the Affordable Care Act marked a critical point for our nation’s women, children, including children with special health care needs, and their families in terms of the law’s coverage expansions, preventive service requirements, insurance reforms, prevention investments, and focus on quality improvement. Closely following passage of the law, AMCHP created the National Center for Health Reform Implementation to provide resources on the ACA and health systems reform, generally, to AMCHP members and partners. The center also plays a critical role in helping to ensure that the unique needs of maternal and child health populations are considered as ACA provisions are implemented.
Generally, the work of the center has been focused in four key areas: 1) coverage expansions including preventive services, 2) health insurance and system reforms (e.g., health home), 3) prevention investments (e.g., Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program), and 4) quality improvement. In just a little over two years, AMCHP has accomplished much, including:
- Producing several fact sheets on a range of ACA topics including MCH-related provisions in the ACA, medical home, and Health Insurance Exchanges
- Tracking and providing formal comment to federal rules and draft guidance, such as the Essential Health Benefits Package
- Administering technical assistance to states and other groups on opportunities within the ACA to strengthen state efforts in areas such as the medical home (listen to the national webinar, Children and the Medicaid Health Home State Plan Option (Section 2703) of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) here)
- Developing resources on the need for integrating public and private systems for MCH populations through a national webinar and a newly released issue brief, New Opportunities for Integrating and Improving Health Care for Women, Children and Their Families
- Providing technical assistance to selected states on the opportunities presented by the ACA and health systems reform generally to strengthen preconception health activities and improve birth outcomes, through a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Implementation of the ACA at the federal and state level has taken many turns since its passage in 2010 (see related article, View from Washington). AMCHP will continue to provide leadership on the ACA issues pertinent for MCH populations and AMCHP members through the center and across the organization. New funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is enabling AMCHP to enhance its work on promoting healthy births particularly in the area of reducing the rate of preterm inductions and unnecessary C-sections. Projects are in the pipeline for additional resources on medical home and preconception health, and potentially new activities in the area of standards for systems of care for children and youth with special health care needs. For more information about the work of the center, please contact Carolyn McCoy, Senior Policy Manager.