The Department of Health today proposed regulations for implementation of a new option for treatment of children with intensive special health care needs - Pediatric Day Health Care Facilities. Pediatric Day Health Care Facilities provide parents and caregivers with children under the age of 21 an option for intensive medical services and supervision while parents work. Besides nursing services, these facilities will also offer physical, speech and occupational therapies. They also offer education and training to their clients, while also giving the medically fragile child or teenager the opportunity to interact with other children during these very important developmental years.

In addition, these facilities offer respite for parents, and have been proven to actually save state Medicaid program dollars since parents would not only have to rely exclusively on home health services, but rather the services can be provided in a single setting.

Pediatric Day Health Facilities will be required to be part of any community Emergency Response Plan as well, and will be required to provide emergency power for children on ventilators. This requirement will help improve regional emergency options for parents when a hurricane or other event occurs.

LDH Secretary Alan Levine said this approach provides an opportunity for parents to give their children an integrated setting for therapeutic services while also allowing the child to develop and interact with other children.

"Pediatric Day Health Care Facilities serve a population that would normally be hospitalized or getting intensive home care. By giving them a safe destination outside the home or hospital that offers quality care, we can enrich the lives of these kids and young adults." Levine said. "Parents need options, and wherever the state can help create that pathway, we want to."

LDH is inviting stakeholders from around the state to the Department of Health on Friday, Nov. 7 at 1:30 p.m. to review the draft rules and provide input on a variety of issues, including the types of care required, protocols of care, staffing requirements and licensure requirements. The authority to create the Pediatric Day Health Facilities was provided by the Louisiana Legislature in the 2004 legislative session.