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  Formerly Conjoined Twins Meet With Their Congressman On Hill
June 19, 2008

For Immediate Release: June 19, 2008

Families Converge on Capitol Hill to Demonstrate Support for Children’s Hospitals

Washington, DC—Formerly conjoined twins Erin and Jade Buckles and their family will travel to Capitol Hill to speak with federal lawmakers about an issue of vital importance to them – the fate of children’s health care and the essential role that children’s hospitals play in the community. The meeting is part of national Family Advocacy Day, coordinated by the National Association of Children’s Hospitals.

The Buckles family, from Stafford, Va., will meet with Rep. Rob Wittman and Rep. Jim Moran to discuss the essential role that children’s hospitals play in the community. The Buckles experience with Children’s National Medical Center began more than four years ago, when Erin and Jade were born conjoined at the abdomen and chest. Exactly four years ago today, in a 6-hour surgery, the girls were successfully separated by a large team of pediatric specialists at Children’s National Medical Center.

“Children’s National plays a crucial role in our community, providing innovative medical services and medical training tailored specifically to the needs of our children,” said mom Melissa Buckles. “We are headed to Capitol Hill to show lawmakers our serious concern about changes to Medicaid, to tell our story and champion the children's hospital that saved our children’s lives.”

The Buckles family is concerned about health care coverage, costs and continued access to the specialized and high quality of care provided by children’s hospitals. Currently pending in Congress is a bill that would stop implementation of rule changes to Medicaid totaling $12-15 billion in cuts. These proposed changes would drastically reduce important healthcare programs such as pediatric rehabilitation services and transportation of disabled children to and from schools. Furthermore, these cuts could negatively impact the care that children’s hospitals can provide and could curtail the delivery of health care services needed by children with some of the most serious health care needs.

June 18 and 19 marks the fourth annual N.A.C.H. Family Advocacy Day. The children participating range in age from 1 to 19 years of age and are current or former patients of children’s hospitals. With diagnoses ranging from leukemia to cerebral palsy, the children and their parents hope to raise awareness for the important specialized care that children’s hospitals provide, and to stress the significant role that SCHIP and Medicaid play in helping ensure that these valuable services are available to all children who need them.

Nationwide, children’s hospitals account for less than five percent of all hospitals but they provide nearly 40 percent of all hospital care for children and the majority of care for children with serious medical conditions. Children’s hospitals are responsible for providing training for a third of pediatricians and virtually all pediatric subspecialists.

For more information or to speak with the family, contact Emily Dammeyer or Janiene Torch at 202-476-4500.

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Children's National Medical Center, located in Washington, DC, is a leader in the development of innovative new treatments for childhood illness and injury. Among the top pediatric hospitals in America, as ranked by both U.S. News & World Report and the prestigious Leapfrog Group, Children’s has served the nation's children for more than 135 years. Visit our web site at www.childrensnational.org.