District II Member,
As my term of office is coming
to an end, I want to take thank you all for giving me the chance to
serve as District Chair for the last 6 years.
I have had a
wonderful association with the American Academy of Pediatrics, starting
with my membership in the Brooklyn Pediatric Society many years ago, and
including my time as an officer of chapter 2, as member and then chair
of the national Committee on Hospital Care, as District representative
to the Chapter Forum Committee, as District Vice-Chair, and now as
District Chair. I trust that my work with the Academy will not end here,
but that I will be able to continue in some capacity - in the chapter,
the District and in national.
back over my 6 years as District Chair, I realize that a lot has been
accomplished - and a lot remains to be done. Space permits me only to
highlight a few of these activities. Please read on for details.
Henry Schaeffer, MD, FAAP
Chair, AAP District II, New York State
the first we created the District Immunization Coalition, partnering
with representatives of the state and city Departments of Health, the
Medical Society of the State of New York, the New York State Nurses'
Association, the NYS Child Care Coordinating Council, the NYS School
Boards Association, the NYS United Teachers/National Education
Association, the NYS Parent-Teacher organization, the Health Plan
Association of NYS, and the NYS Association of County Health
Commissioners. This group first met in early 2006 to discuss issues
related to immunizations, in particular, related to vaccine refusers. In
an effort to educate the public about the importance of vaccines, the
group produced the "Immunization Bookmark" and distributed
over 75,000 of them.
Each year, in the state
legislature, we were instrumental in the defeat of various bills that
were introduced which would have made it easy for parents to exempt
their children from being immunized.
We worked with the state
Department of Health in their institution of NYSIIS, the statewide
immunization registry, and now are working with them and the CIR (City
Immunization Registry) in an effort to allow pediatricians to have
access to information on both registries.
We were able to get
funding from the state to develop our program of Vaccine Summits, now
held twice a year (once upstate at the Otesaga in Cooperstown and once
downstate at the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz) to educate our
members about the most recent developments in immunization and to do
this in a pleasant environment.
We received funding to
hold an Immunization Congress in New York City in September 2010, out of
which we formed two committees to assist in policy development in the
"nuts and bolts" of immunization administration and in
"messaging" the importance of vaccines to the public.
Mental Health Accomplishments
Committee on Children's Mental Health
As pediatricians we
knew about the prevalence of children's mental health issues and the
fact that there were not enough mental health professionals to take
care of these. Thus, by default, these issues needed to be cared for
by us pediatricians - but we did not have the training we felt we
needed to provide these services. We formed a District Committee on
Children's Mental Health and after several years of discussion, the
NYS Department of Mental Health met with us around the development
of an RFP regarding training pediatricians and family practitioners
in pediatric mental health services. The RFP required that any
proposal submitted in response must include representation from the
District in the development of the response.
Health Training for Pediatricians
A proposal from the
Department of Psychiatry at the University of Buffalo was awarded
the grant to provide this training which was done across the state
by faculty at Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Columbia and
Long Island Jewish-North Shore. To date approximately 200
pediatricians have received this training after which they have
weekly telephone case review and access to consultation with child
psychiatrists from the participating institutions.
This program has now
expanded so that access to child psychiatric consultations is
available, free of charge, to all of our members, even to
those who did not participate in the initial training:
Here for the Child Psychiatric Consultation Flyer
In 2007 we started our
annual Lobby/Legislative Advocacy Day in Albany. This has grown from
approximately 50 attendees to well over 125 and now includes attendance
by pediatric residents from training program in the state. We have
speakers from the state legislature, from the department of health and
the department of insurance and then meet with legislators - on an
individual basis - to "lobby" for bills important to us and to
Each year we are asked
to comment on a number of bills related to children's health and provide
Memoranda in Support and in Opposition. We are not always successful in
achieving our goals, but we persist and have found that what we may not
be able to achieve the first time may be achieved in subsequent
In these past 6 years,
we have helped to get legislation passed addressing the following issues:
- requiring pneumococcal vaccine for children entering day care or
- requiring a Tdap booster for children entering the 6th grade,
- allowing for expedited partner therapy for STIs,
- allowing staff in neonatal intensive care units to offer flu
vaccine to parents,
- providing for the "Breastfeeding Bill of Rights,"
- requiring insurance to provide parity in payment for mental health
- requiring insurance to provide payment for services related to
We supported the
extension of Child Health Plus to families whose income level went up to
400% of the Federal Poverty Level and we fought to maintain that
We created Pediatric
Councils in each chapter - and recently have created a District-wide
Pediatric Council - to meet with representatives of health insurance
companies to discuss issues of importance to pediatricians.
We have continued to
advocate for the importance of the medical home as the focus for care
and for "Bright Futures" as the standard of care, starting
from our early statement titled "Building Blocks for a Medical Home
for Every Child."
At the national level,
we work to keep children's services in the forefront of legislative
thinking and, during the debate on the Affordable Care Act, maintained
the following precepts:
- All children are entitled to health insurance coverage regardless
of family income
- There should be comprehensive, age-appropriate benefits based on
- Children deserve quality care in a medical home with a primary
- Children must have access to pediatric medical subspecialists,
pediatric surgical specialist, pediatric mental and dental
professionals and hospitals with appropriate pediatric expertise
- There must be appropriate payment for necessary services
These, in many ways, are
the precepts we first listed in our "Building Blocks"
Much of what we have
done is the result of your work, as well as the work of your chapter and
Special thanks must be
given to the few people who directly work for us: to George Dunkel, our
District Executive Director; Elie Ward, the District Director of Policy
and, now, the chapter 2 and 3 executive director; Nancy Adams, the
chapter 1 executive director and currently the chair of the national AAP
chapter executive directors' steering committee; and, far from least, to
Jessica Geslani, who continues to serves us all as District
Administrative Coordinator and chapter 2 and 3 assistant executive
Because of our work, we
are recognized in the state and have representation on the current
Medicaid Redesign Teams which will make recommendations on the future of
Medicaid in NYS.
Although there is much
which we have accomplished, there is much will still needs to be done,
and we must remain vigilant that none of our achievements are overturned
in the future.
Always remember that it
is your national dues which, in large part, support the work of
national, and it is your chapter dues which support the work of
your chapter and of the chapters working together as a District to
achieve progress in Albany for children and for pediatricians.
I hope to be able to
continue to work with all of you in these efforts and, once again, thank
you for the privilege you have granted to me to serve as District Chair.
If I and the District look good, it is only because of all that all of
you have done.
Henry Schaeffer, MD, FAAP
Chair, AAP District II, New York State