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New Law Modeled After Tampa's St. Joseph's Children's Hospital Clinic

U.S. Representative Kathy Castor (D-Tampa) poses with some of the children who helped champion the ACE Kids Act.
Photo Courtesy Amy Gall/St. Joseph's Hospitals
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

President Donald Trump signed into law a bill that will encourage states to better coordinate health care for children with complex medical conditions.

The ACE Kids Act is modeled after the St. Joseph’s Children’s Chronic-Complex Clinic in Tampa. It will work within a state's existing Medicaid structure.

Most children with complex medical conditions receive care from multiple specialists at different clinics and hospitals, and often pay a lot of money out of pocket to see doctors in different states.

“It (the ACE Kids Act) will incentivize creation of medical homes across the country primarily at children’s hospitals where you have the resources and the top quality medical staff available to do that,” said U.S. Representative Kathy Castor (D-Tampa), who has been championing various iterations of the bill for the past six years.

The law creates specialty centers where patients with diverse needs can get all of their care in one place.

It also aims to improve data collection, and will allow Medicaid to cover children when they travel out of state for care.

"So many people across the country realized that children with complex medical needs need a little extra attention and their families need a little extra support,” Castor said.

Participating states will get additional federal funding.

The Children's Hospital Association says this will reduce Medicaid costs overall:

This concept works. Results have been demonstrated through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). The ACE Kids method reduced costs and improved quality based on the documented care of thousands of children. CMMI's Coordinating All Resources Effectively (CARE) award — involving 10 children's hospitals with eight different state Medicaid programs, including D.C. — reduced emergency department visits by 26 percent and reduced inpatient days by 32 percent. In the first full year of operations coordinating care for 8,000 children, CARE ultimately reduced overall costs by 2.6 percent while improving patient experience. The ACE Kids Act would enable these innovations to spread nationally.

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Daylina Miller is a multimedia reporter for WUSF and Health News Florida, covering health in the Tampa Bay area and across the state.
Daylina Miller
Daylina Miller, multimedia reporter for Health News Florida, was hired to help further expand health coverage statewide.