Category Archives: Child & Youth Health

School nurses’ role expands with access to students’ online health records


Although the school nurse is a familiar figure, school-based health care is unfamiliar territory to many medical professionals, operating in a largely separate health care universe from other community-based medical services.

Now, as both schools and health care systems seek to ensure that children coping with chronic conditions such as diabetes and asthma get the comprehensive, coordinated care the students need, the schools and health systems are forming partnerships to better integrate their services. Continue reading


Should mental illness mean you lose your kid?


Mindi has never harmed her daughter and is capably raising a son, but authorities took her daughter under a concept sometimes called “predictive neglect.”

Mindi’s daughter was taken by authorities after Mindi had a mental health crisis. Mindi has never been able to get her daughter back, even though she’s now capably raising a son. (Steve Herbert for ProPublica)

This story was co-published with The Daily Beast.

In August 2009, Mindi, a 25-year-old struggling new parent, experienced what doctors later concluded was a psychotic episode. She had been staying in a cousin’s spare basement room in De Soto, Kansas, while trying get on her feet after an unexpected pregnancy and an abusive relationship. She’d been depressed since her daughter was born and was becoming increasingly distrustful of her relatives.

Isolated, broke and scared, one Saturday morning, she cracked. She woke to change her 5-month-old daughter’s diaper. When Mindi looked down, she believed the baby’s genitals had been torn.

Mindi’s mind raced for an explanation. The one she came to? That her baby had been raped the night before; that someone—she did not know who—had put sedatives in the air vents.

Mindi called her pediatrician’s office. A receptionist told her to take her daughter to a children’s hospital in nearby in Kansas City, Missouri. Doctors there found no evidence that the girl had been harmed or that any of what Mindi claimed had actually happened.

After Mindi started arguing, medical staff sent her for a psychological evaluation and notified local child welfare authorities, according to court records.

Continue reading


Heads Up — Free concussion app from the CDC


Heads up appThe US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a free app to help you learn how to spot and what to do if you think your child or teen has a concussion or other serious brain injury.

The “Heads Up” APP will also teach you about helmet safety and features information on selecting the right helmet for your child’s or teen’s activity, including information on what to look for and what to avoid.

To learn more go here.


Measles cases reach 20-year high, most come from travel: CDC

Measles Rash - Photo: CDC

Measles Rash – Photo: CDC

By Steven Ross Johnson

Cases of measles in the U.S. reached a 20-year high during the first five months of this year. The majority of cases, health officials say, have been associated with unvaccinated Americans who contracted the virus while traveling to other countries.

A total of 288 measles cases were reported across 18 states between Jan. 1 and May 23, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the largest number for the first five months of any year since 1994 and the most seen compared with year-end totals since 1996. Continue reading


Families with preschoolers buying fewer high-calorie foods


FoodBy Stephanie Stephens
Health Behavior News Service
May 27, 2014

Families with young children are purchasing fewer high calorie drinks and processed foods, which may be a factor in declining rates of childhood obesity, finds a new report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Continue reading


When adults set an example, teens more likely to wear life jackets, UW study suggests


life-jacket-float Children and teens are more likely to wear life jackets when out on the water when adults onboard are wearing them as well —  yet relatively few adult boaters in Washington state wear life jackets while boating, according to recently published studies by UW Medicine researchers at Seattle Children’s Hospital and Harborview’s Injury Prevention & Research Center.

The findings, the researchers write, underscore the important role adults can have in encouraging the young to wear life jackets when out on the water.

Wearing a life jacket has been shown to reduce a boaters risk of drowning by half. Nevertheless, nationwide only about 15% of boaters wear a life jacket or personal floatation device (PDF), and, as the new studies show, Washington state boaters do little better.  Continue reading


How will health reform affect the Children’s Health Insurance Program? – A Primer


05_21_top_story_FACTBy Christine Vestal
Stateline Staff Writer

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was enacted in 1997 to extend health coverage to children in poor families with modest incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid.

The Affordable Care Act now offers many of those same families federal subsidies through the health insurance exchanges, calling into question whether the program should be continued over the long term.

CHIP helped lower the uninsured rate among low-income American children from 25 percent in 1997 to 13 percent in 2012, and the program has strong bipartisan support at the state and federal level.

Still, some states – particularly those that have opted to expand Medicaid to more low-income adults – may decide that families would be better served by enrolling everyone in the same insurance plan.

Following is a primer on CHIP and its evolving role under the ACA. Continue reading


Uptake of dental coverage for kids less than hoped


Child having teeth examined at dentistsBy Marissa Evans
KHN Staff Writer
MAY 19, 2014

No one wants to go to the dentist, but kids need to. A small cavity left to fester can grow into a big health problem. That’s why the government made pediatric dental care one of the health law’s “essential benefits.”

But new data suggest the law is failing to fully deliver on its promise: A lot of parents didn’t buy dental coverage during the recent online enrollment period.  That spells trouble, according to health experts.

Only three states – Kentucky, Nevada and Washington – require parents to buy a children’s dental plan.

Continue reading


Covering foster care alumni


Former foster youths regardless of income became eligible for Medicaid coverage Jan. 1. What are states doing to enroll them?


By Christine Vestal
Stateline Staff Writer
April 30, 2014

Although many former foster youths have incomes that qualify for expanded Medicaid coverage, the ACA requires states to enroll them in traditional Medicaid programs, which have broader benefits.

One of the Affordable Care Act’s successes is a provision that allows young people up to 26 years old to remain on their parents’ health insurance.

Under a similar, but less-known provision, young adults who have been recently released from foster care can also get Medicaid coverage, regardless of their incomes.

An estimated 180,000 foster care alumni became eligible on Jan. 1. Continue reading


New study again finds higher rate of rare neurological birth defects in central Washington


Washington MapA new study has again found a higher rate of a rare neurological birth defect, anencephaly, in Yakima, Benton and Franklin counties, Washington state health officials said Tuesday.

The study identified seven cases of the birth defect in these three counties in 2013, which translates into a rate of 8.7 per 10,000 births. That rate is similar to the rate seen in 2010-2012 and remains well above the national rate of 2.1 per 10,000 births, health officials said. Continue reading


States target asthma care as number of patients grow


Washington is one of the few states that has made the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America honor roll of states that have adopted comprehensive public policies supporting people with asthma, food allergies, anaphylaxis risk and related allergic diseases in schools.

Illustration of the lungs in blueBy Michael Ollove
Stateline Staff Writer

April 16, 2014 

In a valley wedged between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, St. Louis often finds itself beset by a stationary air mass that only a severe storm of some kind can dislodge.

St. Louis is also an industrial city with high humidity, so it’s no wonder it usually makes the list of worst places for asthmatics to live.

But the state has also pioneered advances in addressing asthma treatment and costs. Two years ago, the Missouri legislature became the first to allow schools to stock quick-relief asthma medications for emergencies.  Continue reading


Q: Do I face a penalty if my kids’ CHIP coverage starts in April?


Cute Baby Boy Isolated on WhiteBy Michelle Andrews

Q. I understand that I won’t have to pay a penalty for not having insurance because I signed up for coverage before the end of open enrollment.

But what about my kids? Their CHIP coverage didn’t start until April.  Continue reading


Teledentistry: When connecting with a dentist doesn’t mean an office visit


By Daniela Hernandez
KHN Staff Writer

APR 07, 2014

This KHN story was produced in collaboration with the 

Inside a South Los Angeles classroom filled with plastic dinosaurs, building blocks, stuffed animals and Dr. Seuss books, Mireya Rodriguez counts Hendryk Vaquero’s teeth and looks for cavities.

teledentistry 4 300

Hendryk Rodriguez already has nine stainless steel crowns, multiple fillings and signs of infection. This is the second time the four-year-old has been examined by a dental hygienist (Photo by Heidi de Marco/KHN).

At just 4 years old, he already has nine stainless steel crowns and multiple fillings, and his gums show signs of inflammation and infection.

Since a check-up more than three months ago, he’s lost a couple of teeth, including a capped tooth his mom pulled out after it started bleeding.

“Pero no llore,” said the boy, assuring Rodriguez in Spanish he didn’t cry.  Continue reading


How to keep kids safe with the legalization of marijuana


Cannabis_leaf_marijuana_potFrom Seattle Children’s On the Pulse blog
Feb 24, 2014

The legalization of marijuana in the state of Washington, along with the impending legalization of marijuana sales this spring, has sparked concern among many parents who have questions on what this means for their children.

Leslie Walker, MD, division chief of Adolescent Medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital, recently co-authored a guide for parents about preventing underage marijuana use. Walker says that it’s important for parents to know the facts, learn how to talk about marijuana and be aware of the messages that their children may see.  Continue reading


Youth obesity rate drops in King County school districts participating in local public health initiative


Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 11.23.21February 20, 2014

New findings published today by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that youth obesity dropped significantly in low-income school districts that were part of a King County-focused obesity prevention initiative.

The CDC report shows a 17 percent decline in youth obesity in King County (from 9.5 percent to 7.9 percent) after Public Health – Seattle & King County partnered with schools and community organizations to implement a two-year Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) obesity prevention initiative ending in 2012.  Continue reading