UPH Government & External Affairs

Iowa Pediatric Healthcare Collaborative Participates in National Family Advocacy Week

by | Aug 19, 2020

Photo (left to right): Jennifer, Nathaniel, Brian, Ben and Annabelle Schwartz. Submitted Photo.

Last week, two Central Iowa seven-year-olds and their families joined other pediatric patients from across the country to meet with members of Congress as part of the Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Week. These two courageous children, Ben Schwartz and Paige Stuntz, both receive care from Iowa’s four major pediatric health care providers that comprise the Iowa Pediatric Healthcare Collaborative, including UnityPoint Health – Blank Children’s Hospital, ChildServe, MercyOne Children’s Hospital and the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital

This annual national Family Advocacy Week is designed to help raise awareness of the unique challenges children with complex medical conditions and their and families face. Ben, diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Paige, diagnosed with Kabuki Syndrome, and their families met with members of Congress to share their stories and advocate for the health of all children.

“Like many things in our world right now, advocacy for children’s health looks a little different during the pandemic,” said Chaney Yeast, director of government relations & family services for Blank Children’s Hospital. “I’m proud of how Iowa’s pediatric health care providers have continued to come together with our patients and their families to advocate for public policies that will make a lasting impact on generations to come.”

The Advocacy Week meetings focused on public policy issues of impact to children with medical complexity, including the importance of Medicaid in accessing critical care and services. For many patients, including Ben and Paige, their families have employer-based private insurance as their primary coverage, but in order to meet all of their special needs they also rely on Medicaid as secondary coverage. In Iowa, two out of every five children rely on Medicaid or Hawki, making it an essential safety net for children’s health.

A very special thank you to the Schwartz and Stuntz families for their courage to share their stories in order to advocate for the health of all children with members of Congress.

To learn more about opportunities to advocate on behalf of UnityPoint Health for children’s health issues, please contact Chaney Yeast.