This revolutionary piece of legislation allows all children diagnosed with a life threatening illness to receive hospice and palliative care, regardless of what other kinds of treatment they may be receiving. The new law replaces older regulations that only provided hospice and palliative care to children with a life expectancy of six months or less whose families had given up all chance of their recovery. An estimated 10,000 to 14,000 California children and their families will benefit each year from this new law.
The legislation requires the California Department of Health Services to develop, implement and evaluate a pilot project to provide pediatric palliative care which would include those services that are available through the Medi-Cal hospice benefit. This bill will help kids live longer and have a better quality of life during treatment by receiving hospice services to aleviate symptoms while also receiving curative treatments.
Highlights of the Law
The services covered under the pediatric palliative care benefit would be designed to meet the unique needs of children. They would include the same types of services that are available through the Medi-Cal (Medicaid) hospice benefit. The benefit will also include the following services:
- Hospice services that are provided at the same time that curative treatment is available, as long as the services are not duplicated.
- Hospice services provided to children whose conditions may eventually result in death, regardless of the child's life expectancy.
- Any other services that the department determines to be appropriate.
This law is currently a pilot program, a sort of trial program, to determine if these services will benefit children enough to incorporate this law into the Medi-cal (California’s Medicaid) program. It will be available only if there is adequate federal funding.