Menendez Meeting Highlights Importance of Increased Funding for Pediatric Healthcare

Menendez Meeting Highlights Importance of Increased Funding for Pediatric Healthcare

New Jersey Families from Toms River, Berkeley Heights Visit Senator’s Office to Tell Healthcare Stories


WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) today met with two New Jersey families to hear their pediatric healthcare stories and stress his support for robust federal funding for children’s healthcare.

“As a father with two healthy adult children, I thank my blessings every day and I always aim to be an advocate for families who encounter medical hardships,” said Sen. Menendez. “Seeing the faces of children and families so dramatically impacted by federal funding decisions is an important reminder that budget votes here in Washington have life-changing effects back at home. Thankfully, the New Jerseyans I met with receive top-notch medical care at Children's Specialized Hospital, but it’s vital we remove sequestration funding levels and robustly fund facilities that help care for young men and women across the country.”

The families visited as part of an advocacy day arranged by Children’s Specialized Hospital, which provides pediatric rehabilitation services and is the largest pediatric rehabilitation health system in the United States, treating around 18,000 patients per year. There are New Jersey sites in Bayonne, Clifton, Fanwood, Hamilton, Mountainside, New Brunswick, Roselle Park and Toms River.

The Salvetti Family of Berkeley Heights

Kara Salvetti, age 15, did not develop her heart and cardiovascular system properly and has been treated at Children's Specialized Hospital since she was two-months old. Although diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy, Kara enjoys every day of her life thanks to the therapies she receives.

“It is wonderful to share our story with Senator Menendez to highlight how much federal assistance matters,” said Linda Waddell-Salvetti, Kara’s mother. “As our story shows, investing in families is one of the most worthwhile government investments. Senator Menendez understands that my family has been made stronger because of the first-rate medical care Kara has received.”                             

The Genovese Family of Toms River

Three children in the Genovese family receive pediatric care from Children’s Specialized Hospital. Nicole and Alyssa Genovese are both 11 years old and have been diagnosed with anxiety and apraxia, respectively. Their brother, Jebrill, is on the autism spectrum. The family knows their success is dependent on the future of our Medicaid system

“Each year we see more and more families with children like the Genoveses who depend on Medicaid to access highly-specialized care,” said Amy B. Mansue, president and CEO of Children’s Specialized Hospital. “We need to adequately support these families so their children get the best care possible.”

Recent Senate Work on Pediatric Healthcare 

Menendez is a leading advocate in the Senate for children with special healthcare needs and their families. He was instrumental in securing a critical funding extension of the Family-to-Family Health Information Center program as part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on April 16, 2015. This program provides grants to family-staffed support organizations that provide vital support and services to children with special needs and their families.

Additionally, Senator Menendez authored the Autism CARES Act of 2014, which provides for the continuation of the government-wide federal efforts into autism research, support, education and therapies. In addition, this law provides for the federal government’s first comprehensive study on the needs of individuals with autism as they become adults and transition out of school-based services and into the community.

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