Advocacy Alerts

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.

Sincerely,

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 @aap.net.

DO IT FOR THE KIDS!
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 Without your voice, we cannot make change.

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