Pediatricians learn new screening techniques for developmentally challenged children

From day one parents hope and pray for healthy children. To make that happen early intervention sometimes is necessary. That's one reason why some Alabama pediatricians are participating in a new program called Help Me Grow.

Help Me Grow is program aimed at identifying developmental problems among children and connecting them with resources. On Friday pediatricians gathered for training on how to use the program's screening system.

But there was sort of an elephant in the room. The September 18th vote on the constitutional referendum. Voters will decide wether to allow $437 million to be transferred from the Alabama trust fund to the general fund, which is a source of money for medicaid, among other things.

A spokesperson from the American Academy of Pediatrics says some 40 percent of children in Alabama use medicaid. And some 50 percent of child births in the state are funded by medicaid.

Pediatricians in attendance today say they are worried about what will happen to them and their patients if it does not pass.

"It could involve medicaid completely going away. And as pediatricians, a high percentage of kids in the state get their care though medicaid and if this vote doesn't pass practices will close down, these kids will have not place to go and I can't imagine what will happen," said doctor Peily Soong.

Soong says about 20 percent of the children he sees are helped through medicaid.

He says not only would children be impacted. But people in the health care profession would be out of jobs.