ensure that states are reaching enrollment goals, obtain more value for managed care dollars, and avoid administrative costs that are associated with families enrolling and disenrolling repeatedly.

States need comparability of data, and systems are needed to support that data. Common definitions are imperative to quality research. The states would welcome some program standardization, but the federal government wants to be sure that the states maintain a certain amount of flexibility in their programs. Both the states and the federal government need technical expertise and funding for adequate data systems to analyze SCHIP data.

Quality of and access to care are two areas of SCHIP that need to be studied. Now that the program is well established, this is even more important.

The federal government’s focus has been primarily on enrollment data. It has developed the Statistical Enrollment and Data System (SEDS) specifically for SCHIP. The system provides data on the number of ever-enrolled children on a quarterly and yearly basis. Recently, it has been used to obtain point-in-time data.

SCHIP is currently at a critical point. The economic situation at both the state and federal level is not as good as it was a few years ago. It is more important than ever to show that this program is a good one and helps many people so that progress can continue.

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