Stevens Point family travels to Washington, D.C., to advocate for children’s health care

June 19, 2014
What: The Baral family of Stevens Point, Wis., will join 30 other patients and families from children’s hospitals across the country to speak with members of Congress during the Children’s Hospital Association’s Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day. Noah Baral, 4, and his parents, Lori and Dave, will be among those talking about the lifesaving specialty medical care they have needed and how the budget needs to protect these services and access to care.

When: June 24-25, 2014.

Why: Millions of children in the U.S. require special care at children’s hospitals to address their health challenges. The current budget climate is challenging and requires serious action, but changes must be made in a way that does not threaten the state of children’s health care by decreasing access to care and pediatric specialists.

• Half of all hospitalized children in Wisconsin are dependent on Medicaid, which covers 1 in 3 children
in the U.S.

• Sixty percent of the pediatric residents from Children's Hospital of Wisconsin’s training program stay in Wisconsin and join the medical community that takes care of Wisconsin’s kids. Many go into primary care and join pediatric practices around the state. Several stay on to train in specialty care while others train to provide emergency services to children. Reduction in the ability of Children’s to train residents will directly reduce the number of pediatricians in our state.

• Children already face waits of up to three months to see the physician they need; undermining Medicaid and Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education may reduce access further.

Who: The Baral family knows firsthand the value of quality pediatric care. Dave recalls how when Noah was born he looked blue and immediately was taken to his hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. Noah’s organs were shutting down because of heart failure. The family was referred to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, where pediatric specialists were much better equipped to help.

The doctors at Children’s determined that Noah had Shone’s Complex — a congenital heart defect that included severe mitral value regurgitation, pulmonary hypertension and aortic stenosis. Noah was in heart failure when he arrived at Children’s and in critical condition. Despite surgery to replace Noah’s mitral valve with a mechanical one, he was listed for a heart transplant when he was only 2 months old.

After waiting 80 days, Noah received a new heart. Just 12 days later, he went home. Since then, Noah has not looked back and is growing by leaps and bounds! Thanks to an extremely generous donor family, and the staff at Children’s, Noah gets to experience life. The Baral family now works with the Wisconsin Donor Network to raise awareness of pediatric organ donation.

Where: Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.

About Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is the region’s only independent health care system dedicated solely to the health and well-being of children. The hospital, with locations in Milwaukee and Neenah, Wis., is recognized as one of the leading pediatric health care centers in the United States. It is ranked No. 4 in the nation by Parents magazine and ranked in all 10 specialty areas in U.S. News & World Report’s 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospitals report. Children’s provides primary care, specialty care, urgent care, emergency care, community health services, foster and adoption services, child and family counseling, child advocacy services and family resource centers. In 2012, Children’s invested more than $117 million in the community to improve the health status of children through medical care, advocacy, education and pediatric medical research. Children’s achieves its mission in part through donations from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is proud to be a member of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. For more information, visit the website at  

About the Children’s Hospital Association
The Children's Hospital Association Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day program provides children's hospitals, patients and families the opportunity to come to Washington to advocate on behalf of current child health legislation. The event features a fun-filled and family-friendly program tailored to accommodate the unique needs of children's hospitals, patients and families.