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Eliza Butler with her family at gillette

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A History of Advocacy

Gillette Children’s was founded because of the advocacy of Dr. Arthur Gillette and Jessie Haskins. And 125 years later, we continue to build on this legacy, as we know that decisions made by policymakers can have a real-life impact on our patients and their families. That is why our team works every day to make a meaningful difference in the lives of our patients. We do this through advocacy to influence public policy and through active community engagement. We work closely with organizations and policymakers on the local, state, national, and international level to advocate for patients with brain, bone, and movement disorders.

  • Medicaid
    • Medicaid, known as Medical Assistance in Minnesota, is a government-sponsored health insurance program that provides care to low-income adults and children, pregnant women, and people with disabilities. The program is supported by both the state and federal government and covers a broad range of health care services. Because of the population we serve, many of our patients are either eligible for or covered by Medicaid. In 2021, about 74 percent of Gillette’s inpatient stays were either eligible for or covered by Medicaid. Because of this, we work to assure that Medicaid is accessible, and covers services our patients need.
  • Rare Disease
    • According to the National Institutes of Health, about 1 in 10 Americans are affected by a rare disease. In 2021, Gillette treated over 10,000 patients living with a rare disease. Gillette is known worldwide for its expertise in caring for children diagnosed with rare diseases such as Rett syndrome, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), Legg-Calve Perthes disease, Prader-Willi syndrome and other conditions. It is important that policies are reflective of the needs of people living with rare diseases and their families.
  • Health Equity
    • Gillette Children’s is invested in improving health equity, not just among our patient population, but across Minnesota and beyond. Our equity work is embedded in every department in our organization, but within the advocacy department, we push for policy solutions that address the social determinants of health and improve health equity. We are engaged with several organizations that work on these issues.
  • Patient and Provider Choice
    • We believe that medically complex conditions are best served when patient and provider choice are preserved. This assures the proper care takes place. Our providers are experts in complex, rare, and traumatic conditions and we believe their expertise and recommendations should not be limited when providing care for our patients. Parents are also experts in their child’s care, and typically know the specialists and subspecialists across the country who are best able to serve their child’s needs. We believe that patient choice also should be protected.