13th Annual "Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day" held in D.C.
For immediate release: July 17, 2017
BALTIMORE (July 17) – Three-year-old Will Farrow and his mother Lynne and grandfather Joseph King were part of a broad national push last week to address key health care needs for children through the Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day, July 12-13, sponsored by the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA). Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital (MWPH) and the Farrow family visited Capitol Hill to urge Congress to protect, not cut, children’s Medicaid funding as proposed in recently introduced federal bills, the American Health Care Act of 2017 and the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.
At 21 weeks pregnant, Lynne was in for her routine ultrasound when experts noticed her son’s pinky was small. After having a follow-up test, it was determined that her baby Will, would be born with a form of Down syndrome referred to as Trisomy 21.
“The first 24 hours were rough,” said Lynne. Afterwards, while speaking to a genetic counselor, she decided to “get it together” and began educating herself. “He’s a typical toddler,” she said when asked what it is like being a parent of a child with Down syndrome. “He’s running around everywhere, getting into everything that toddlers get into.”
During last week’s advocacy efforts, Will’s family definitely ran around everywhere and got into everything with the Congressional offices of Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, and Representatives Dutch Ruppersberger, Elijah Cummings, Andy Harris and Jamie Raskin. The family was joined by MWPH president and CEO Sheldon Stein, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Katz and VP of Development and External Affairs Jill Feinberg.
“Our nation has finally reached a record high level of health care coverage for children – 95 percent,” noted Dr. Katz. “If the Senate agrees to turn Medicaid into a capped program, cutting children’s Medicaid funding by billions of dollars, then we will jeopardize children’s health care, their health outcomes and ultimately their futures.”
Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital’s “Team Will” enjoyed positive and constructive meetings with the representatives, including face time with Senator Van Hollen and Representative Ruppersberger, the latter of whom sits on the Congressional Task Force on Down syndrome.
“It was incredibly important for our family to be part of the Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day,” said Lynne. “Will has truly benefited from the care provided at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital, and we believe that all children should have such access to affordable health care. Through this lobbying effort with Mt. Washington and the Children’s Hospital Association, we were able to share Will’s story and urge our representatives to take a stand for children’s health.”
She added, “These children need a voice and I’m proud to stand united with other families to advocate for health care. I am involved with an organization called Chloe’s Cause, which provides information and support to families like ours. I believe that Speak Now for Kids was a great way to bring more attention to our struggles.”
More than 40 percent of children rely on Medicaid, and so do the roughly 200 children's hospitals, like Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital, that deliver highly specialized pediatric care 24/7. “Dramatic cuts to Medicaid as proposed in the House and Senate bills endanger the continued viability of our nation's children's hospitals,” said CHA president and CEO Mark Wietecha. “As a matter of public policy, we should not be attempting to fix our national budget problems by cutting children's health care.”
“Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day” was held in Washington, D.C. July 12-13, 2017.
About Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital: Where Children go to Heal and Grow
Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital provides family-centered, integrated care to children with serious, chronic or complex medical needs. Since 1922, the hospital has helped children heal from illness and injury, and now treats more than 8,500 patients each year. With locations in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County and in the community the 102-bed post-acute hospital is a jointly owned affiliate of the University of Maryland Medical System and Johns Hopkins Medicine. For more information, please visit mwph.org.
About the Children’s Hospital Association
The Children’s Hospital Association is the national voice of more than 200 children’s hospitals, advancing child health through innovation in the quality, cost and delivery of care.
For more information on Family Advocacy Day, visit www.childrenshospitals.org or follow the families on Facebook, www.facebook.com/speaknowforkids, and Twitter, @speaknowforkids.