October 2011

In This Report
Immunization Accomplishments
Mental Health Accomplishments
Legislative Accomplishments
Other Accomplishments
Thank You
Quick Links 
Congratulations AAP Election Winners!
Nat. President Elect
Thomas McInerny (NY)
  
District II Chair
Danielle Laraque
    
    
Dear 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.

 

Thinking 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
 
Immunization Accomplishments
 

District Immunization Coalition

 

From 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.

 

Legislation

 

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.

 

Immunization Registeries 

 

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.

 

Vaccine Summits 

 

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.

 

Immunization Congress 

 

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
  

District 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.

 

Mental 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:

Click Here for the Child Psychiatric Consultation Flyer

 

 
Legislative Accomplishments
 

Advocacy Day 

 

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 children.

 

Legislation 

 

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 sessions.

 

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 nursery school,
  • 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 services, and
  • requiring insurance to provide payment for services related to autism
 
Other Accomplishments
 

Child Health Plus Extension 

 

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 coverage.

 

Pediatric Councils 

 

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.

 

Bright Futures 

 

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."

 

Affordable Care Act

 

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 Bright Futures
  • Children deserve quality care in a medical home with a primary care pediatrician
  • 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" "white paper."

 
Thank You

Much of what we have done is the result of your work, as well as the work of your chapter and District leaders.

 

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 director.

 

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

District II (New York State), American Academy of Pediatrics
408 Kenwood Avenue, 2nd Floor | Delmar, NY 12054
518/439-0892 | Fax:  518/439-0769 | www.aapdistrictii.org