Pediatricians ‘Sounding The Alarm’ After Children’s Health Care Takes Dive

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that vaccinations, screening for childhood diseases, visits to the dentist and mental health care dropped from March through May, when many doctors’ offices were closed. Still, CMS administrator Seema Verma said the absence of health care services “may have lifelong consequences for these vulnerable children.”

Virus Shutdown Took A Toll On Routine Health Care For Kids

A sharp decline in routine medical care for low-income children during the coronavirus shutdown could cause long-term harm if not reversed, federal officials warned Wednesday. A data snapshot from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, found that vaccinations, screening for childhood diseases, visits to the dentist and even mental health care dropped precipitously from March through May of this year, when doctors’ offices and hospitals put elective services on hold to confront the coronavirus. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 9/23)

Boston Globe:
Sharp Decline In Child Health Care Amid Coronavirus Prompts Call To Action By Medicaid Chief 

“A lot of pediatricians are sounding the alarm,” Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said in an interview with the Globe. “We’re trying to sound that alarm at the federal level to get a better focus on this issue.” New CMS data show millions of children, many living in poverty, missed vaccinations and other care in the depths of the coronavirus pandemic from March through May, as parents feared going out or bringing their children to doctors’ offices. (Lazar, 9/23)

Modern Healthcare:
CMS Chief Verma Calls For Action Over Declines In Child Health Services During Pandemic

Newly released CMS data points to a troubling trend of stark declines in vaccinations and service use rates for primary and preventive care since the start of the pandemic among young Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries, officials for the agency say. A preliminary data “snapshot” released by CMS on Wednesday shows a 22% drop in vaccinations received by children age 2 and younger covered by Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program between March and May this year compared to the same period in 2019. That totals to about 1.7 million fewer vaccinations. (Johnson, 9/23)

In related news on children’s health —

Modern Healthcare:
HHS Awards $360 Million To Boost Maternal And Child Health

HHS awarded almost $360 million to programs supporting maternal and child health, the agency said Tuesday. The funding includes more than $340 million to deliver voluntary, evidence-based home visiting services to pregnant women and parents with young children through the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program, according to HHS. Another $16 million will go towards improving maternal health outcomes through the State Maternal Health Innovation program. (Brady, 9/22)

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