Advocacy Alerts

April 2020
     As we struggle with the multiple challenges of COVID-19, let’s take a moment to celebrate and appreciate what we were able to accomplish, even in this most difficult time here in New York.
     As the Governor and the Legislature were faced with the fear and unknowns of COVID-19 in late March and early April, they went forward with negotiations on the state budget and key legislative issues.  Throughout this period we worked hard with our partners to keep our priority issues central in the abbreviated and non-public discussions. We were also fully engaged by electronic and phone contacts to make sure our legislative and budget concerns were not discarded in this most challenging period.
     We weighed in on Banning Vaping, Paid Sick Leave, Children’s Environmental Issues, enhanced Gun Safety, and proposed cuts to Medicaid and to various programs that could negatively impact some of our most vulnerable children.
Here’s what our efforts won for the children and families of New York:
  • Ban on all flavored e-cigarettes and other vaping instruments
  • Paid Sick Leave for Almost All Workers
  • Delay in proposed MRT cuts to Medicaid which will allow NYS to access $6 billion in federal Medicaid funds
  • No direct cuts to Medicaid now.  The 1% cut imposed prior to the budget stays in place. But the additional 1.2% proposed is delayed.
  • No cuts to NY PCMH program incentive payments
  • Insulin Payment Cap at $100/month
  • Permanent Legal Ban on Fracking in New York State
  • Ban on Styrofoam packaging
  • Children’s Environmental Health Centers Fully Funded
  • Child Safe Products Act Amendments Passed
  • Increased Child Tax Credit
     We can and should feel good about what we were able to accomplish for the children and families of New York.  But, we will have to remain vigilant as the state moves forward in this most difficult time.
     With COVID-19 decimating the state and the state budget, and with the new authority the Executive has to unilaterally cut the budget at each quarterly review, our efforts must focus on preserving resources already allocated to programs vital to children’s health and well-being.  We must also keep our focus on how much aid New York gets from the federal government over the next several months and how that money is used to support important children and family programs.
     But today we can all take a moment and feel good about what were able to accomplish for the children and families of New York.
     One note:  Please keep immunizing babies and toddlers.  More information and tips on how to be a community pediatrician in the time of COVID-19 are being prepared for next week. Stay tuned.
Elie Ward, MSW
Director of Policy & Advocacy
NYS American Academy of Pediatrics, Chapters 1, 2 & 3

July 2019
As you may have read or heard, this year’s legislative session has been extremely productive. I am very pleased to report that it has also been very productive and positive for the children of New York. Many of our key legislative priorities, like the repeal of Religious Exemption to Immunization, Lowering Blood Action Level from 10 mg/dl to 5 mg/dl, and passage of a Gun Safe Storage Act, were achieved. In addition, we had several significant legislative successes in the areas of child safety, the environment, and further curbs of tobacco access for young people.
The following is a summary of our victories in the legislative arena. Many of our bills which passed both houses still need to be signed by the Governor. Most have been agreed to and the Executive has indicated that they will be signed. If we encounter resistance or an assault by opponents, such as the chemical industry fighting the Child Safe Products Act, I will let you know, and we will activate our Advocacy Action Alert system.
But for now, enjoy the fruits of your labor. We couldn’t have done this without the active participation of you, our members, as well as the close support and coordination from our partners in medicine, public health, early childhood development, child safety, child well-being, and environmental health. Our friends and supporters in the legislature and in the Executive were also helpful.
Together we raised a strong and multi-focused voice for the children of New York. Here is what we accomplished:
  • A.2371a/S.2994a: Medical Exemption Only for Immunization – Passed both Houses and signed by Governor all in one day!
  • A.2686/S.2450: Gun Safe Storage – Passed both Houses
  • A.0558/S.02833: Tobacco 21 (No one under 21 can purchase tobacco products) – Passed both Houses
  • A.00217a/S.3788a: Crib Bumpers (Crib bumpers cannot be sold in NYS) – Passed both Houses
  • A.7371/S.5341: Kids Safe Products (Banning & disclosure of dangerous chemicals in children’s products) – Passed both Houses
  • A.576/S.1046: Conversion Therapy (No longer legal in NYS) – Passed both Houses and signed by Governor
  • A.2477/S.5343: Chlorpyrifos Ban – Passed both Houses
  • A.164/S.2387: Period Products Disclosure – Passed both Houses
  • A.6295/S.4389: 1,4 Dioxane Ban – Passed both Houses
I will keep you informed as these bills move forward. In addition, there are several other bills directly related to children’s health and well-being that we will be watching that may move toward the Governor’s Office.
Now it’s time to refocus our work for next session and onto some of the serious child and family immigration issues that are currently impacting the health and well-being of thousands of children in our country and our state.
Elie Ward, MSW | Dir. of Policy, Advocacy & External Relations |

April 2018

 New York State Budget Update

Your calls and meetings made a difference for the children and families of New York!
Here’s a quick rundown on what we, the NYS AAP, with the help of our partners in advocacy for children, were able accomplish in the recently passed State Budget.  Check this list against our Budget Priorities.  We hit a home run this year, despite the challenge of a $4 billion state budget deficit and multiple threats from the federal government.
The final Budget for 2018-19 Included:
  • Patient Centered Medical Home Incentive Payment: Full restoration of $10 million state share draws $10 million federal share for the full $20 million restoration
  • Children’s Mental Health Investment: Full restoration of $15 million in new and vital services
  • First 1,000 Days: Full funding of $1.45 million for year one
  • Child Care Subsidies: Fully filled Gap for $7 million
  • Preventive Services in Foster Care: Maintained Open Ended Funding
  • Pre-K: Maintained $15 million dollar increased investment in the face of Senate rejection
  • Early Intervention Program: Rejection of burdensome/ineffective changes
  • After School Programs: $2.5 million added over level funding from last year
Unfortunately we were not able to maintain state support for NYC’s Close to Home Program, nor get additional resources for implementation for Raise the Age.  But all in all, it was a very successful effort to build investments in vital children’s program in a very difficult budget year.
Congratulations to all who raised their voices for the children and families of New York!

March 2018

Gun Safety for New York’s Children and Families
Where We Stand

Contact your Assembly Member and your Senator now!
Call, e-mail or visit his/her home district office.
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January, 2018

As we start the new legislative and budget session here in New York, we thought it important to update our members about priority issues for focused advocacy during the next six months.  This update is the result of the ongoing deliberations of the New York State American Academy of Pediatrics’ (NYS AAP) Public Policy & Advocacy Committee.

Federal Issues Impacting State Children’s Health Program Support

At this time, with the federal renewal of CHIP funds, we no longer have to worry about our NYS CHIP program impacting budgeting in children’s health. The program will move forward with full funding, and may even see an expanded benefit package based on the Bright Futures, 4th Edition.

Unfortunately, several other federal budget and health policy related issues that can and do impact the health and well-being of New York’s children have not been resolved, including funding for Community Health Centers, Maternal and Child Home Visiting programs, and the WIC/SNAP nutrition programs.

In addition, we have a firm commitment to protections for undocumented children and families including, but not limited to, family reunifications, stopping unwarranted parental deportations, and a long term solution for the DACA kids. And we have deep concerns about changes and new dangers exposed with proposed elimination and weakening of existing environmental protections. We encourage you to talk with your Congressional representatives and our Senators about these critical federal issues.

State Budget and Policy Priorities

At the state level the news is generally good. New York has taken a firm and positive stand in support of children’s health and well-being, environmental protections, nutritional programs, children’s primary care and mental health, and protections and support for immigrant children and families. Despite a potential $4.4 billion state budget deficit, there are no severe cuts proposed for children’s programs in the Governor’s Proposed Budget. Many of the reductions in specific programs are items that have in the past have been restored by the legislature in the budget negotiation process.

First 1,000 Days

This year, the Governor is proposing and supporting 10 specific recommendations for programs focusing on the first 1,000 days of a child’s life. The First 1,000 Days recommendations are the result of a focused process by multiple stakeholders to propose new targeted initiatives to support the healthy social, intellectual, physical and emotional development of infants and toddlers during their first 1,000 days. Many pediatricians were involved in the development and prioritizing of the recommendations.

The New York State AAP has adopted the First 1,000 Days Top Ten Recommendations as the core of our advocacy efforts this year. The First 1,000 Days Top Ten Recommendations include:

  • Braided Funding for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultations
  • Statewide Home Visiting
  • Creation of a Preventive Pediatric Clinical Advisory Group
  • Expand CenteringPregnancy
  • Promote Early Literacy through Local Strategies
  • Require Managed Care Plans to have a Kids Quality Agenda
  • Develop & Implement a New York State Developmental Inventory Upon Kindergarten Entry
  • Pilot and Evaluate Peer Family Navigators in Multiple Settings
  • Support Parent/Caregiver Diagnosis as Eligibility Criteria for Dyadic Therapy
  • Develop a Data System Development for Cross-Sector Referrals

In addition our policy, legislative and Budget agenda also supports:

  • State Support for NYS undocumented children and families and for DACA kids
  • Funding to Address Food Security across New York
  • State solutions to Environmental Issues, including addressing toxic chemicals in children’s products, raising tobacco purchase age to 21, further limiting access to cigarettes, assuring water purity, and removing lead from children’s environments at home, in school, child care and in the community
  • Strengthening Children’s Mental Health services in Primary Care
  • Assuring adequate Mental Health Services for Children with Significant Mental Health Challenges
  • Advocating for more State Support to Address Increasing Child Poverty. In NYS our youngest children are the very poorest New Yorkers. And as we know, poverty is directly related to Toxic Stress.
  • New Initiatives in Telehealth for underserved areas or areas with little access to pediatric specialists
  • New State Initiatives to address old and burdensome regulations, such as an opportunity to address Standing Orders for Healthy Newborns
  • Advanced Primary Care in Pediatrics/Value Based Payment Systems Implementation in Commercial Insurance and in Medicaid
  • Practice Transformation at all levels

In some cases our solutions are budgetary – finding the resources to directly address and ameliorate the problem. In other instances the solution is legislative or regulatory. And in others it a required policy shift by state and local governments or agencies.

But in all instances our goal is to improve the health and well-being of all children in New York State and to strengthen pediatrics.

As we get closer to our Annual Advocacy Day on March 6th, we will be offering you more details on our positions, and specifics on the legislation, budget and policy initiatives that we prioritize.

But we thought it important to let you know about the many issues and the general state level of work that we are doing on your behalf and with your active participation.


Benard Dreyer, MD, FAAP
Michael Terranova, MD, FAAP
Co-Chairs, NYS AAP Public Policy & Advocacy Committee

For more information, please contact Elie Ward at eward

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