198040 State Children's Health Insurance Plan: Ensuring Access to Vision and Eye Health

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 9:33 AM

Norma K. Bowyer, OD MS MPH FAAO , President, Society of Primary Care Policy Fellows, Morgantown, WV
Alicia Kerry Jones , American Optometric Association, Washington, DC
State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) was established to provide health insurance for vulnerable children who do not qualify for Medicaid. Since SCHIP was signed into law, many more children have access to health care services. However, a number of emerging health needs are not adequately addressed by the present statute design. Vision and eye health is one of these unmet needs. There is an established link between healthy vision in children and classroom learning. It is of particular concern to the health and education communities that 10 million children suffer from vision problems. Vision disorders are among the most common handicapping conditions in childhood. Early detection and treatment is essential.Congressional Research Service reports “When detected early, many childhood vision abnormalities are treatable,but the potential for correction and normal visual development diminishes with age.” The burden of undetected vision problems is shared by the individual,their family,community and society. Adding to the complexity of assuring access to care, SCHIP programs are diverse in structure. Unfortunately, eye and vision care coverage is not a mandated requirement in the majority of states. Therefore, across most of the country, eye and vision care coverage for children could be limited or completely eliminated if a state faces short-term budgetary pressures. This presentation will compare and contrast existing SCHIP programs and examine potential changes to enhance access to needed services for children. Information and resources provided will enable participants to better advocate for children's vision at both their individual state level and at the national level.

Learning Objectives:
-Articulate importance of vision and eye health to children's learning and normal development. -Demonstrate basic knowledge of State Children's Health Insurance Program at state and national level. -Identify commonalities and differences in various state programs.

Keywords: Advocacy, Access and Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As Assistant Direcor of Government Relations, I work frequently with SCHIP and eye care issues.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
American Optometric Association Non-applicable Employment (includes retainer)
Arnold & Porter LLP Represented Luxottica U.S. Holdings, Texas Medical Liability Trust, Medisys, and Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals Employment (includes retainer)

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.