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Medical News and Perspectives
December 20, 2006

New Policy Puts Some Newborns at Risk

JAMA. 2006;296(23):2788-2790. doi:10.1001/jama.296.23.2788

Infants born in the United States to immigrant parents may find necessary medical care delayed or withheld because of changes to Medicaid that toughen documentation requirements and do away with grace periods for these infants, say several health care organizations that are fighting the changes.

The tough new documentation requirements, which appeared July 12 in the Federal Register (http://www.cms.hhs.gov/MedicaidEligibility/downloads/MedicaidCitizenshipFinalRule.pdf), are part of a broader effort by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to require all new and renewing Medicaid beneficiaries to produce documentation proving they are US citizens. A coalition of 6 organizations—the American Academy of Family Physicians; the American Academy of Pediatrics; the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses; the March of Dimes; and the National Association of Children's Hospitals—opposes the changes targeting newborns, saying they create unnecessary barriers to medical care for some of the most vulnerable US citizens, place added burdens on states and clinicians, and will cost taxpayers more in the long run.

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