Category Archives: Policy & Advocacy

Stay abreast of the most up to date policies and advocacy topics in Pediatric Emergency Medicine.

Opioid Policies and Pediatrics: When the Pendulum Swings Children Will Get Hurt

Even if you have turned off all news sources over the past two years, it would be hard to escape the urgent alarms regarding opioid misuse in the US.  The statistics are remarkable.

  • Since 1999, overdose deaths involving opioids quadrupled.1
  • 2000-2015: greater than half a million people died from drug overdoses.
  • 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.
  • 1999 to 2010: number of prescription opioids sold to pharmacies, hospitals, and doctors’ offices nearly quadrupled. 2,3

This is compelling evidence that we have a problem—perhaps some more than others.  Opioid addiction is a frequent challenge for those caring for adults in the Emergency Department with some centers (e.g., rural) seeing more of this than others. Those who care for injured and ill children are left with two important questions:  (1) What is the evidence regarding opioid addiction in children? (2) To what extent is the management of acute pain in the Emergency Department contributing to an increase in opioid related morbidity and mortality? read more

Child Abuse: By the Numbers

Ryan Brown, MD, FAAP

Clinical Associate Professor, University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics

Medical Director, Child Protection Team at The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center

Child maltreatment is a terrible fate that children may face. Unfortunately, no one is immune to the effects of abuse. Child maltreatment has been shown to affect children from all races, genders, ages, and socioeconomic background.Every year there are hundreds of thousands of children that fall victim to this atrocious calamity. During 2015, child protection services received over 4 million referrals for child maltreatment. Those referrals encompassed 7 million children of which about 700,000 were found to be victims of abuse.  Unfortunately, the victimization rate has been increasing over the past 5 years from 8.8 to 9.2/100,000 children.2 read more

Advocacy in Action: Affordable Care Act Op-Ed

Ben Hoffman, MD, is professor of pediatrics at the OHSU School of Medicine and is medical director of the Tom Sargent Safety Center at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

20 million people—more than the populations of Florida or New York. 20 million people who are your neighbors, worship with you, go to school with your children, sit next to you at the cafe. 20 million people in the waiting room of your doctor or your dentist. 20 million people who stand to lose their health care if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed. read more

Summertime, and the Kids are Hungry

Author: Danielle L Cullen MD, MPH – Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellow at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

One in five children in the US do not get the food that they need on a daily basis to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. How is it that in a country of wealth and excess, children’s basic needs for life are not being met?

During the academic year, 21.5 million children receive and rely on free and reduced priced school breakfast and lunch as their primary source of nutrition. While summer should be a carefree time of outdoor play, with the absence of school food programs, it is instead too often a time of hunger. Federal Summer Nutrition Programs through the USDA provide meals to children during the summer months. Unfortunately, due to lack of awareness of these programs, they are severely underutilized. Only one in seven children who receive free or reduced-price school meals also participate in summer meal programs.(1) read more

WEIGHING CHILDREN IN KILOGRAMS FOCUS OF NEW PEDIATRIC READINESS INFOGRAPHIC

Author: Kathleen Brown, MD – Children’s National Health System

The Federal Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) Program recently released an infographic based on data from the National Pediatric Readiness Project assessment. The infographic states the importance of weighing children and recording the weight in kilograms, based on a patient safety recommendation from the “Guidelines for Care of Children in the Emergency Department.1

In its report Emergency Care for Children: Growing Pains, the Institute of Medicine also highlighted the need for physicians and other practitioners to weigh children and to record the weight in kilograms only.2 However, the Pediatric Readiness assessment revealed that half the hospitals in the nation do not weigh and record in kilograms. This simple patient safely initiative has been recognized as one of the most important to prevent drug-dosing errors and is one of the top 15 national hospital-based pediatric emergency care performance measures.3 read more