The North Carolina Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, North Carolina Pediatric Society (NCPS), was recently honored by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for its efforts to improve the health and well-being of children in North Carolina. The chapter received the AAP''s Outstanding Large Chapter award.
Topping the list is the organization''s successful lobbying efforts before the N.C. General Assembly to create N.C. Health Choice for Children, a plan that provides free or low-cost health insurance for children in uninsured working-class families.
"These families were not covered by their employers and could not afford to pay for health insurance premiums out-of-pocket," said Jane M. Foy, M.D., FAAP, president of the NCPS and associate professor of pediatrics at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. "Under N.C. Health Choice, children of the working poor receive the same medical coverage provided for the children of state employees, plus vision, hearing and dental benefits."
Many families who qualify receive the coverage free of charge. However, those at higher income levels pay an annual fee of $50 for one child and $100 for two or more children. A $5 co-payment fee is levied per visit as well as a $6 fee per prescription for drugs and a $20 non-emergency visit to the emergency department. No co-payment fees apply to regular check-ups.
More than 55,000 previously uninsured children signed up with N.C. Health Choice in its first six months. Unlike Medicaid, the program is limited by the amount of funds available and is open only to children on a first come, first served basis. Once the program is full, families can be placed on a waiting list. The state estimates that there are 71,000 children in North Carolina who qualify for the program.
The NCPS has more than 1,600 members including pediatricians, physician assistants, pediatric surgeons, medical students, residents and pediatric practice managers.
Parents can obtain applications for N.C. Health Choice at county social services departments, county health departments or by visiting the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Web site, http://www.dhhs.state.nc.us/dma/cpcont.htm.
Contact: Jim Steele, Rae Beasley or Mark Wright (336) 716-4587.