Partners for Children pilot project proves to be successful in improving quality of care and cost effective to State
San Diego Hospice’s Partners for Children Team, along with seven year-old patient Anna Zeldin and her mom Debra, joined forces with the Children’s Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition (CHPCC) for Legislative Advocacy Day on April 17 in Sacramento. The day was organized CHPCC to celebrate with legislators and policy makers the progress made to date, as well as to inform about the life-affirming importance of pediatric palliative care.
California’s Medi-Cal Pediatric Palliative Care Benefit (Partners for Children) helps California families to address the challenges that accompany life-threatening childhood illness, without asking them to sacrifice hope for their child’s survival. San Diego Hospice is California’s first and largest Partners for Children provider in the State. CHPCC is a statewide nonprofit committed to pursuing and implementing cost-effective strategies that offer children living with life-threatening conditions access to comprehensive, community-based care. CHPCC initiated and led the effort to establish the Partners for Children pilot program and continues to spearhead the implementation process.
Preliminary cost analysis indicates a significant savings to the State; a policy brief analyzing the first 18-20 months of data is being prepared by UCLA Public Health Policy Department and expected to be released in June 2012. Anecdotally, families on the program are reporting less stress, greater emotional and physical health, a reduction in unnecessary emergency room visits, and fewer and shorter hospitalizations.
La Mesa residents Anna and Debra Zeldin shared why Partners for Children makes a difference in their lives and had the opportunity to meet with the offices of Assembly Member Marty Block, Assembly Member Toni Atkins, Agnes Lee with the Office of the Speaker, Assembly Member Brian Jones, Michelle Baass of the Senate Budget Committee, Senator Christine Kehoe, and Senator Joel Anderson.
“This program is important to me because I get treatments at home so I don’t have to live in pain,” said Anna Zeldin, a seven-year-old Partner for Children’s patient living with congenital anomalies. “And if I get a treatment at night, that means I don’t have to sleep in pain.”
“What Partners for Children has meant for me and my family is that we don’t have to go into the ER constantly or call 911 when Anna has a medical issue,” said Debra Zeldin, mother of Anna and two other children. “As a single mom, it has brought a sense of normalcy to my family and there is a huge relief in knowing that Anna is receiving the care she needs, in the comfort of her home, so that she doesn’t have to live in pain.”
"The Partners for Children program has made a positive impact overall, especially regarding the fiscal challenges of caring for chronically ill children" said Jan Wyss, Program Manager for San Diego Hospice’s Partners for Children Program. The program allows high-quality, cost-effective care to be delivered to chronically ill children in the comfort of their home"
“CHPCC has been a leading advocate and change agent in the pediatric palliative care movement for more than ten years,” said Devon Dabbs, Co-founder and Executive Director of CHPCC. “We partner with families and healthcare organizations like San Diego Hospice to build programs and initiate policies which improve care for children with life-threatening conditions.”
“I’m not a public speaker, but if meeting with legislators and allowing them to learn first-hand how Partners for Children has been a lifesaver for my daughter and family, then I will do whatever it takes to ensure that this program continues – for Anna’s sake and any family who lives with a seriously chronically ill child,” said Zeldin.
California families interested in Partners for Children must contact their County’s CCS (California Children’s Services) office. Statewide information is available online at http://www.californiapartnersforchildren.org. In San Diego County, contact the CCS office directly at (619) 528-4000, ext. 6543, as all Partners for Children referrals will need to go through the CCS office.
About San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine
San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine is one of the largest community-owned, not-for-profit hospices in the country, bringing compassionate, expert medical care to more than 1,000 seriously ill adults and children each day throughout San Diego County. For more information, visit www.sdhospice.org or call toll-free 866-688-1600. Join our online communities on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and The Caregiver’s Corner blog.