Rep. Jamie Grant is asking for $1.3 million for Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital to combat opioid addiction and improve education for chronically ill children.
Grant filed a pair of appropriations requests Tuesday that would provide staff and programs to accomplish those goals.
In one, (HB 4861) Grant requests $850,000 for the hospital to pay for a pediatric psychologist and special equipment to be used for biofeedback, a method that teaches patients to control certain body functions, psychotherapy, massage therapy and acupuncture as interventions and alternatives to opioids for pediatric patients age 21 and younger.
Physical therapies like massage and acupuncture can provide an alternative pain relief option for patients undergoing some treatments or recovering from injuries and don’t carry with them the risk of addiction and long-term effects that opioids have been found to cause.
Psychotherapy can help patients who do require opioid treatment to avoid the risk of addiction.
The other bill (HB 4859) asks for $450,000 to provide educational instructional time for children in the hospital or outpatient programs.
The one-time funding appropriation would pay for certified teachers as well as necessary educational resources to pair patients and their siblings who are chronically ill or who suffer life-limiting medical conditions with a certified teacher to provide ongoing education that might otherwise be interrupted.
“The Patient Academic Services department exists to keep patients and siblings engaged academically through the duration of their admission and beyond,” the request reads. “It supports a connection to the schooling program chosen by the family and provides the normalcy of school and learning. Qualified and certified teachers teach students at their academic level and encourage growth.”
The funding would pay for direct educational instruction, after school tutoring, career planning and school reintegration support. Teachers in the program would also coordinate with the student’s home school option to provide a seamless transition.