Archives     Advertise     Editorial Calendar     Subscribe     Contact Us    



TJC Sharpens Focus on Healthcare Access for Children


 
Kinika Young

While America's federally funded and supported health programs continue to face an uncertain future, the Tennessee Justice Center is taking steps to ensure nearly a million kids in the state have the healthiest futures possible.


Protecting Tennessee's Kids

In April, the TJC announced the addition of attorney Kinika Young as director of Children's Health. The newly created position was made possible after the organization was awarded a grant from the prestigious David & Lucile Packard Foundation for its "Insuring America's Children - Reaching the Finish Line Project."

Previously a partner with Nashville-based law firm Bass, Berry & Sims, PLC, Young has been tapped to lead TJC's efforts to protect and improve public health insurance programs that serve 980,000 Tennessee children. She has also been charged with working to ensure all Tennessee children have access to the resources they need to grow up healthy.

"I had been doing pro bono work for the Justice Center and was looking for an opportunity to help people more directly," said Young, a former Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee mentor. "Given the current political climate, I saw the need to get more involved with fighting for social justice issues for children since they're our future."


Changing Policies & Lives

TJC Executive Director Michele Johnson said Young's commitment would better help the TJC navigate the increasingly controversial healthcare landscape. "Children's health is something we've always done, and this position gives us the ability to really bring the best in health policy that's sound and will have positive benefits for decades," said Johnson, who co-founded the organization more than 20 years ago.

"Kids who have a healthy start will earn more as adults, and they'll be less likely to have trouble with school and drugs and alcohol," she said. "Giving kids a healthy start means they'll have more full and successful lives as adults, which will benefit us for generations. We want to provide every amount of resources we can invest in making sure they have healthy starts."

Proposed budget cuts could equal a $500 million loss annually to existing state health programs. "We'd be faced with either rolling back eligibility or cutting services like therapy to many children," Young said.

Provider reimbursement also could take a hit, meaning fewer doctors might accept Medicaid/TennCare patients, wait times could be extended, and medical services could be limited. "We've made some good progress in recent years making sure Tennessee kids are insured," said Young. "Currently only 4 to 5 percent of the state's children are still uninsured, which is the lowest number in recent history. We don't want to go backward."

Many of the state's more than 60,000 uninsured children lack coverage due to complicated rules and parents who don't understand the process. Too often, middle class families face a lifetime of medical bills simply because they're unaware of eligibility options, the TJC has found. In other cases, children who are natural born citizens remain uninsured because of the parents' legal status and fear of deportation. Regardless of the reason, Young said uninsured children account for much of the uncompensated care absorbed by Tennessee hospitals and providers, which consequently impacts every family and community in Tennessee.

"Our long-term goal is to improve on the health safety net system for children and to get the uninsured rate down further," said Young.


A Partner to Families, Providers

In addition to partnering with families, Young also works with providers to clarify common misconceptions about government-funded programs. "Many doctors still haven't heard of us and don't realize how we can actually benefit them as an ally in their practice," she said.

The TJC helps providers navigate the system and advocates for patients who might be denied coverage by HMOs. Young also educates providers who don't accept TennCare about the program and discusses the full impact of the state's Medicaid system with those who do.

Children comprise more than half of Tennessee's state-funded healthcare program participants. Recent statistics show that of Tennessee's 1.5 million children, nearly 57 percent are covered by TennCare (the state's Medicaid program) or CoverKids (the state's Children's Health Insurance Program). Employer-sponsored or other health plans cover another 37 percent of the state's children, 1 percent are enrolled in plans through the Affordable Care Act's HealthCare Marketplace, and a little more than 4 percent have no coverage.

"We want to make sure every child who's eligible gets health coverage," Johnson said. "It's a huge goal, but by partnering with providers, community and church groups, we can accomplish that if we try. Healthcare has become very polarized, but we can't lose it to politics. It's too important to Tennessee's children."

WEB:
TJC

 
Share:

Related Articles:


Recent Articles

Alexander Leads Bipartisan Support for Accelerated FDA Reviews

By a vote of 94-1, the U.S. Senate has sent President Trump a bill addressing FDA user fee agreements meant to speed up the Food & Drug Administration's review of new drugs and devices.

Read More

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Partners with TN HIMSS and Belmont University to bring HIT Workforce Education to Chattanooga Region

The Tennessee HIMSS Chapter and the Center for Executive Education at Belmont University will partner with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee to bring a 14-week certification program to healthcare information technology (HIT) professionals in the Chattanooga region.

Read More

Alzheimer's Foundation Of America Seeking Nominations For Dementia Care Professional Of The Year

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) is now accepting nominations for its 2017 "Dementia Care Professional of the Year."

Read More

Addressing Adolescent Angst in a Digital World

Growing up can be difficult in a digital age. Dr. Jess Shatkin shares insights on how primary care providers can support parents in an age of increasing adolescent anxiety and depression.

Read More

Leading the Way

Child neurologist Jeffrey Neul, MD, has been appointed director of the Kennedy Center at VUMC.

Read More

TJC Sharpens Focus on Healthcare Access for Children

Always a champion for children's health, the Tennessee Justice Center is taking more steps to ensure coverage for nearly a million Tennessee kids.

Read More

You Be the 1

You Be the 1 campaign, started by local couple John & May Bumpus, hopes to reach struggling teens through kindness and empathy and connect them to area resources.

Read More

Pediatric Rounds

The Children's Hospital at TriStar Centennial officially celebrated the opening of its new pediatric emergency room last month.

Read More

NMGMA: Ten Minute Takeaway

Phishing, Vishing, SMiShing ... there are an array of sophisticated methods that cyberthieves can use to access PHI.

Read More

Cash in Hand

With increased patient responsibility, collecting for healthcare services can be difficult ... but there are some best practices providers can put in play to maximize timely payments.

Read More

Email Print
 
 

 

 


Tags:
Children's Health Insurance Program, CHIP, CoverKids, Healthcare Access, Kinika Young, Medicaid, Michele Johnson, TennCare, Tennessee Justice Center, TJC
Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: