Bond will bol­ster care at state’s chil­dren’s hos­pi­tals

The Mercury News Weekend - - OPINION - By Alexan­dria Fel­ton Alexan­dria Fel­ton is the vice pres­i­dent for health pol­icy for the Sil­i­con Val­ley Lead­er­ship Group.

Pro­tect­ing the most vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren in our com­mu­nity be­gins with en­sur­ing that ev­ery child re­ceives the care they need, in­clud­ing those with the most com­plex con­di­tions. To en­sure that hap­pens, we, the vot­ers, must make a stand this Novem­ber by vot­ing “yes” on Propo­si­tion 4, the chil­dren’s hospi­tal bond.

Here in the heart of Sil­i­con Val­ley, we have a na­tion­ally ranked chil­dren’s med­i­cal fa­cil­ity, Lu­cile Packard Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal. The hospi­tal pro­vides more than 150 med­i­cal spe­cial­ties fo­cus­ing on im­prov­ing the health of chil­dren and young adults, in­clud­ing the sick­est and most com­plex, re­gard­less of a fam­ily’s abil­ity to pay.

Through this mea­sure, vi­tal funds will be granted to Lu­cile Packard and 12 other chil­dren’s hos­pi­tals through­out the state to aid in con­struc­tion, ex­pan- sion, ren­o­va­tion and equip­ment pro­jects meant to safe­guard the high qual­ity of care es­sen­tial to the lives of many Cal­i­for­nian chil­dren.

Two mil­lion times each year, young peo­ple turn to Cal­i­for­nia’s chil­dren’s hos­pi­tals for care. The hos­pi­tals per­form 97 per­cent of pe­di­atric or­gan trans­plants and 96 per­cent of all pe­di­atric heart surg­eries in our state, and they con­duct 76 per­cent of all pe­di­atric cancer treat­ments. The ap­proval of these funds will al­low the state’s chil­dren’s hos­pi­tals to con­tinue to al­lo­cate time and re­sources to car­ing for sick chil­dren, no mat­ter the cir­cum­stance.

Chil­dren’s hos­pi­tals rely on spe­cial­ized equip­ment tai­lored to chil­dren, which bol­sters the qual­ity of care, but also in­creases the costs placed on the hos­pi­tals pro­vid­ing such spe­cial­ized care. Prop. 4 will al­low chil­dren’s hos­pi­tals to pur­chase the lat­est, high­est- qual­ity med- ical de­vices, which can mean the dif­fer­ence in sav­ing a child’s life. Specif­i­cally, Packard Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal plans to uti­lize the funds to re­fur­bish and mod­ern­ize its 74-bed neona­tal in­ten­sive care unit.

Chil­dren’s hos­pi­tals in Cal­i­for­nia have a his­tory of spend­ing bond money wisely. Funds from pre­vi­ous bond mea­sures were used to en­sure seis­mic safety up­grades, add in­pa­tient beds and ac­quire new tech­nolo­gies. In the decade since the last mea­sure was passed, pe­di­atric care has be­come much more re- gion­al­ized, which means there is a grow­ing de­mand for care in Cal­i­for­nia chil­dren’s hos­pi­tals. Prop. 4 fund­ing will en­sure that Cal­i­for­nia’s chil­dren’s hos­pi­tals have the re­sources needed to con­tinue pro­vid­ing high- qual­ity care for our state’s sick­est kids.

The elite care these hos­pi­tals pro­vide to chil­dren and their fam­i­lies pro­vides a sense of hope. In ad­di­tion to the in­no­va­tive re­search that comes out of Cal­i­for­nia’s chil­dren’s hos­pi­tals, their in­cred­i­ble doc­tors and nurses con­tinue to im­ple­ment new dis­cov­er­ies in pedi- atric medicine, mak­ing Cal­i­for­nia’s chil­dren’s hos­pi­tals among the best in the na­tion in mul­ti­ple pe­di­atric spe­cial­ties, ac­cord­ing to U.S. News & World Re­port. In­vest­ments in pe­di­atric med­i­cal re­search and tech­nol­ogy reg­u­larly pro­duce im­por­tant re­sults — for ex­am­ple, 85 per­cent of chil­dren di­ag­nosed with leukemia to­day are cured.

The care chil­dren’s hos­pi­tals pro­vide chil­dren in our state is es­sen­tial; we should do our part to make sure that ev­ery child has ac­cess to pre­mi­um­care. We can­not af­ford to deny younger gen­er­a­tions the ex­cep­tional med­i­cal treat­ment that will al­low them to thrive.

To en­sure our state con­tin­ues to of­fer our youngest res­i­dents world- class care, I ask you to join me in vot­ing “yes” on Propo­si­tion 4 this Novem­ber.

LU­CILE PACKARD CHIL­DREN’S HOSPI­TAL

Propo­si­tion 4 would al­low Lu­cile Packard Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal to re­fur­bish its 74-bed neona­tal in­ten­sive care unit.

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