Children’s Law Center Executive Director Judith Sandalow testified before the DC Council’s Committee on Health at a budget and oversight hearing for the Department of Health Care Finance. The department runs the Medicaid program in the District, which covers more than 91,000 children and youth under age 21; virtually all of CLC’s clients are Medicaid recipients. Read her full testimony (PDF) as submitted to the Council or a summary below.
“A properly functioning Medicaid system is not only vital for ensuring the health of DC’s children, but it is also the backbone of our early intervention, mental health and child welfare systems – providing the services that ensure children reach developmental milestones, aid their academic achievement, and reduce their stay in foster care,” Sandalow explained in her testimony. There are encouraging small increases in areas of DHCF’s budget for children. And over the past year, DHCF has made progress in making more services billable to Medicaid.
Sandalow noted that there is still much work to be done, and described two high priorities for children in Medicaid improvements: fixing the fragmented mental health system that makes it difficult for providers to offer quality services in the District, and providing better oversight of the managed care organizations that operate in DC.