Brown, Portman Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Increase Health Care Access for Children


WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 11, 2021 – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH), along with Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Michael Bennet (D-CO), today introduced the bipartisan Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act to help families access life-saving care for children with complex medical conditions. The legislation aims to facilitate access to care while retaining program safeguards and reducing regulatory burdens on providers. Companion legislation was also introduced in the House of Representatives by Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA).

“This bill puts the patient first. By getting rid of existing red tape that makes it harder for doctors and other providers to treat children who rely on the Medicaid program in another state, we can help to both streamline care for patients and mitigate administrative backlogs at hospitals,” said Brown. “I’m proud to co-sponsor this commonsense legislation to optimize care and ensure Ohio’s children’s hospitals have the tools they need to best serve their patients.”

“The last thing that families should have to worry about when seeking care for their kids is whether red tape will prohibit or deter an out-of-state provider from taking their Medicaid coverage, just because they’ve chosen to seek the best possible care regardless of location. In Ohio, we’re blessed to have world-class children’s hospitals that care for kids from across the country, but are oftentimes slowed down by these regulatory hurdles. We must do more to support families and kids, and I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to help streamline these processes and correct these mistakes,” said Portman.

“Cincinnati children’s thanks Senators Portman and Brown for being original co-sponsors of the Accelerating Kids Access to Care Act, which is an important piece of legislation allowing children to get the best care regardless of state borders. Thank you to the senators for recognizing that there should be no barriers to children accessing quality pediatric healthcare,” said Tina Cheng, Chair Pediatrics Cincinnati Children’s.

Children with complex medical needs cannot always receive the highly specialized care they need within their home state. When that happens, parents must work with health care providers and state Medicaid officials to find out-of-state providers able to provide necessary medical care. The process is difficult and full of red tape, delaying children and their families from receiving the care they desperately need, and in some cases not receiving access to care at all.

The Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act would provide states with the ability to use a streamlined screening and enrollment process for out-of-state pediatric care providers that need to enroll in another state’s Medicaid program, at the same time safeguarding important program integrity processes. This would help reduce the red tape and regulatory burdens that slow down or, in certain cases, prohibit children from receiving the care they need. This legislation builds on Brown’s bipartisan Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act that was signed into law in 2019.

Full list of organizations supporting the Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act can be found HERE.

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