North Texas Family Travels to Washington, D.C., to Protect Health Care for Children

July 23, 2012

Children’s Medical Center (www.childrens.com) patient Carter Townes and his family will take their story of heartache, determination and hope to Washington, D.C., next week to ask Congress to protect health care for children as national health care programs face proposed cuts to funding.

Five-year-old Carter and his family are among those traveling to the nation’s Capitol to stress the importance of adequate funding for pediatric care as part of the Children’s Hospital Association’s Family Advocacy Day, happening Monday through Wednesday.

The Townes family knows the value of having access to quality pediatric care. On November 1, 2010, Carter was diagnosed with a rare case of Precursor B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, meaning he has two types of leukemic chromosomes. This occurs in less than 3 percent of patients with leukemia. Because of this, his treatment will be more aggressive and will span three and a half years.

Carter receives treatment at Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, a program that has the largest diagnosis and management of children with cancer and disorders in North Texas. Carter has received bone marrow biopsies, multiple lumbar punctures (a procedure used to inject medicine directly into his cerebrospinal fluid), blood transfusions and numerous rounds of chemotherapy.  He is in deep remission from cancer, but will have to undergo treatment for two more years in order to stay healthy.

“We feel incredibly blessed for the specialized care and attention our son receives from the physicians and nurses at Children’s Medical Center,” said Timberley Townes, Carter’s mother. “Timely access to pediatricians and specialists for all children is critical. We’re taking our story to Washington to help our leaders recognize the need to protect and preserve quality health care for kids all across the country.”

“We are incredibly proud of Carter, and are privileged and humbled that his parents have entrusted us with his care,” said Christopher J. Durovich, president and chief executive officer of Children’s. “One in 11 U.S. children lives in Texas. These children need a voice, and we are honored that Carter will be speaking for them.”

As policymakers debate the best way to meet the health care needs of all Americans, children’s health hangs in the balance. To best meet the needs of a growing population of children in Texas, advocates urge Congress to support the training of new pediatricians and pediatric specialists by supporting the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education program (CHGME), which is a bipartisan national program that supports the training and development of 5,600 physicians a year.  Advocates also urge Congress to support Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides health coverage to one in three children in the U.S. who might otherwise not have coverage.
 
The Townes family is joining nearly 30 other young patients and their families from 19 states and the District of Columbia to ask Congress to protect children’s health care. The event includes one-on-one congressional visits, a congressional luncheon, a tour of Washington and a celebratory dinner to honor the patients known as Family Advocacy Day “All Stars”.

Carter and his family will be available for interviews from Washington, D.C.  

About Children's Medical Center

Children's Medical Center is a private, not-for-profit system, and is the fifth-largest pediatric healthcare provider in the country with 559 licensed beds, two full-service campuses and 10 outpatient sites. Children’s was the state’s first pediatric hospital to achieve Level 1 Trauma status and is the only pediatric teaching facility in North Texas, affiliated with UT Southwestern Medical Center. For more information about Children’s or how to give, please visit www.childrens.com

About The Children's Hospital Association

The Children’s Hospital Association advances child health through innovation in the quality, cost and delivery of care. Representing more than 220 children’s hospitals, the association is the voice of children’s hospitals nationally. The association advances public policy enabling hospitals to better serve children and is the premier resource for pediatric data and analytics driving improved clinical and operational performance of member hospitals. Formed in 2011, the association brings together the strengths and talents of three organizations: Child Health Corporation of America (CHCA), National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI) and National Association of Children’s Hospitals (N.A.C.H.).

For more information on Family Advocacy Day, visit www.childrenshospitals.net or follow the families on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/childrenshospitals or Twitter, @speaknowforkids, #FAD12.