Rep. Couture bill to help Medicaid-eligible kids with chronic conditions access care soars through Senate unanimously

The Washington state Senate has passed a bill from Rep. Travis Couture, R-Allyn, that will improve health care for thousands of Washington’s Medicaid-eligible kids with medically complex conditions.

“All session, I have been laser-focused on protecting and improving the lives of Washington children, and this bill will do that for these kids with chronic health issues,” said Couture.” I am excited to see this bill pass both chambers unanimously to help these families and these children get the care they need.”

In a 2016 report, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) described children with medical complexity as those with “significant chronic health problems that affect multiple organ systems and result in functional limitations, high health care need or utilization, and often the need for or use of medical technology.”

The AAP noted that addressing these children’s needs would require optimizing care within the medical home and neighborhood.

That was the motivation behind the Advancing Care for Exceptional (ACE) Kids Act, which was passed by Congress in 2019. The law creates a new state Medicaid option to provide coordinated care for children with medically complex conditions through health homes that are more responsive to the needs of this population than traditional health homes, where care involves multiple providers and services across various specialties and health care settings.

States must apply to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to offer the ACE option to families.

Couture’s House Bill 1941 directs the state Health Care Authority (HCA) to develop a state plan amendment so that Washington can apply to implement ACE Kids.

The initial benefit of this program is expected to have a ripple effect, sparking collaboration between states, children’s hospitals and community providers to expand access to patient-centered, pediatric-focused health homes while standardizing data collection and implementing quality improvements.

The program’s improved care coordination and implementation are expected to improve care for kids across many providers, help keep them out of hospitals, and provide care closer to home whenever possible.

The result is improved health and happiness of children with complex care needs and their loved ones. It will also drive down Medicaid spending by reducing unnecessary or avoidable care. States implementing ACE Kids are also eligible for an enhanced federal Medicaid match to help support the program. 

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov