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HHS Interim Rule on Preventative Services: "Bright Futures" for All Children

7/15/2010 by Judith S. Palfrey, MD, FAAP, president, American Academy of Pediatrics

"The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) applauds the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the newly released preventive services interim final rule. The regulation mandates coverage of clinically appropriate health services for children and promises to be a major improvement in promoting the health and well-being of America’s children.

“Prevention is the heart of pediatric medicine. The mission of pediatric care is to promote and monitor the physical, mental and behavioral health of children at every stage of development. Recognizing that children are not just little adults, the rule mandates that all health plans cover all Bright Futures services. Supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration, Bright Futures is the definitive standard of pediatric well-child and preventive care developed by an evidence-informed, active collaboration led by the AAP.

“This rule is a major victory for children and their families. The interim rule states clearly that all components of pediatric well-child visits – including physical exams, immunizations, hearing and vision screening, developmental and behavioral screening, and anticipatory guidance—in accordance with the Bright Futures schedule must be free of financial barriers, including copayments and deductibles.

“The importance of these services for children and young adults cannot be overstated. This interim rule is a significant investment in the health and future of all our children. The Academy looks forward to working with HHS to ensure that the rule is implemented appropriately so that all children receive these much-needed services.”

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.