WAMU 88.5 : News

Children's National Affected By Government Shutdown

Doctors at Children's National Medical Center in northwest D.C. are warning that the government shutdown will impact several District primary care providers that depend on Medicaid funds to care for children.

Dr. David Wessel, chief medical officer at Children's National Medical Center, says Medicaid covers about 90 percent of all children in the District for primary care. Children's National alone, gets more than $12 million from Medicaid each month so there is what he calls a "real and tangible" effect of the government shutdown.

Wessel says more than half the patients at Children's are covered by Medicaid; other hospitals such as United Medical Center and nonprofit clinics are even more dependent on Medicaid dollars.

He says other programs such as WIC, which helps provide healthy food for low-income mothers and babies, vaccination programs and the Ryan White program that covers HIV positive children and teens will be affected.

Wessel says because of D.C.'s unique status, Medicaid funds are reimbursed as they are incurred, so with funds frozen, the impact is immediate.

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