Health Care - July 13, 2012

New PA health care measures aim to help children

With the end of the spring session came a number of new laws.  Two of them aim to help children.  One by raising awareness for sudden cardiac arrest in student athletes and the other by requiring insurance coverage for anesthesia for young children and those with developmental disabilities at the dentist.

HB 532, the Children and Developmentally Disabled Patient Access to Quality Dental Care Act, was passed at the end of session and signed by the Governor in early July.  The act is vital to getting young children and the developmentally disabled access to dental care.  The bill requires insurance companies to cover the cost of general anesthesia for these patients.  Often a visit to the dentist for a young child or a developmentally disabled patient can be an incredibly stressful event.  General anesthesia is sometimes necessary for these patients to receive the oral care they need.  If insurance company didn’t cover the cost of anesthesia, a parent or guardian who could not afford the out of pocket cost may have been forced to neglect care until they could afford it or forgo care altogether.  Neglecting dental care can lead to much more serious health issues and can be dangerous for the patient.  With required coverage of anesthesia, these patients can expect to be able to receive treatment and have better overall personal wellness.

HB 1610 was signed by Gov. Tom Corbett at the end of May and is titled the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act.  The new law is intended to raise awareness about sudden cardiac arrest.  The law requires student athletes and their parents to sign a form indicating that they have received and reviewed an informational sheet on the signs and symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest.  All coaches will be required to take a training course offered by an approved provider.  Any student removed from play that exhibits signs of sudden cardiac arrest will not be permitted to return to play until cleared by a licensed physician, certified registered nurse practitioner or cardiologist.  The hope is that by raising awareness and providing the knowledge to everyone involved may save a life; especially since athletics can be a trigger for a child with an undetected heart condition.

The Winter Group was pleased to play a role in the passage of these bills.