ADDRESSING THE ISSUES OF TODAY, FOR TOMORROW.

In support of our mission to improve the health, safety, and well-being of children, the South Carolina Children’s Hospital Collaborative has established the following priorities for 2020:

Priority:  Invest in the state’s children’s hospitals to ensure that South Carolina’s most precious resource, our children, can continue to receive state-of-the-art health care in our state.   Obtain state funding for FY 2020-2021 to address children’s hospital technology and infrastructure needs.

Background: Over 60% of the children cared for by SC’s children’s hospitals are funded through Medicaid, a health insurance program funded with state and federal funds.  Medicaid reimbursement does not cover the cost of care – let alone the costs incurred to maintain infrastructure and technology. Funding received from other sources, i.e. commercial insurers and philanthropy does not cover the gap, leaving the children’s hospitals without adequate funding to maintain infrastructure and technology.   Without this investment, South Carolina’s children’s hospitals will be unable to keep pace with the facility and technology requirements needed to provide state-of-the-art care for children.

Priority: Pass legislation allowing emergency medical services technicians to honor pediatric do-not-resuscitate orders for children with a terminal illness.

Background: Children with terminal illness routinely have do-not-resuscitate orders, commonly referred to as “DNR” orders.  These orders are written at the request of the child’s parents or legal guardians after extensive consultation with the child’s physician.    DNR orders allow for comfort care, i.e. pain control and breathing support, but do not allow for painful and medically futile resuscitative efforts such as electric shocks to the heart or intubation. DNR orders for children are honored in a healthcare setting such as a hospital, but South Carolina law currently prohibits emergency medical services (EMS) from honoring DNR orders for children. 

Priority: Pass legislation to define child torture as a form of child abuse, distinguishing it from other forms of child abuse.

Background: Child torture is the most severe form of child abuse.  The majority of children who are tortured end up dying. Research has shown that individuals who torture children have very poor rehabilitation prospects and a high rate of recidivism. Research has also shown that the torturer moves onto the next child after the child being tortured dies. As such, the siblings of a tortured child are at great risk – a risk that is substantially higher than other forms of abuse.

Legislation is needed to define child torture and distinguish it from other forms of abuse.  Accurately defining what type of abuse is being perpetuated is essential for both social services and for the courts.  Failure to accurately identify the type of abuse being perpetrated could result in a safety plan or a plan to reunify the family – a scenario that could be deadly if the parent or legal guardian is subjecting a child to torture