Florida to Opt in to Law that will Improve Care for Medically Fragile Kids
An idea that took root in St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital will soon benefit children with chronic or complex medical conditions across Florida.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 2500 into law on June 15, 2023, taking the first step for Florida to opt in to the Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act (ACE Kids) Act.
After years of advocacy and deliberation, ACE Kids was signed into federal law on April 18, 2019. The bipartisan legislation improves how care is delivered to America’s medically fragile children and was inspired by the Daniel J. Plasencia, MD Children’s Chronic Complex Clinic at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, which leads the nation in coordinating care for medically complex children.
When implemented by states opting in to the program, ACE Kids will enable better care coordination across multiple providers, ease access to necessary care across state lines, decrease Medicaid spending, and reduce the need for children with chronic or complex conditions to be hospitalized.
U.S. Representatives Gus Bilirakis and Kathy Castor championed the bill and leaders from BayCare and St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital have spent more than a decade advocating for the passing of this important legislation. Patients and families from St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital’s Chronic Complex Clinic joined them in their efforts, sharing their health care stories during meetings with members of Congress.
Patients like Luke, who was born with a blood vessel abnormality inside his brain and has undergone five surgeries to correct blood flow through the malformation; Lakota, who was born with an extremely rare condition that causes his breathing to stop every time he falls asleep; and Lucy, who receives nourishment through a feeding tube, breaths through a ventilator and requires nursing care 24 hours a day.
St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital’s Chronic Complex Clinic has been recognized nationally for its innovative work with medically complex children. Serving as a medical home, the specialized clinic provides consistent, accessible and coordinated primary care, resulting in healthier, happier and higher qualities of life for its patients.