November 2009  

In This Report
National Health Care Reform
NYS Deficit Reduction Plan
Annual Legislative Day
Mental Health Services
Quick Links 
Save the Date! 
February 23, 2010
 
AAP District II's
Annual Legislative Day 
 
 * Hear presentations from legislative & government leaders
 
* Be a voice & advocate for NYS's children & pediatricians
 
* Meet with your Assembly member & Senator
 
Come and Make a Difference!
 
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Dear Chapter Member,

These are challenging and exciting times in health care and in pediatrics.  Please read on for details.
 
Henry Schaeffer, MD, FAAP
Chair, AAP District II, New York State
 
National Health Care Reform:
Contact Your Legislators! 
 
On the national level, Congress is moving forward in its work to deliver health care reform legislation for the President's signature by the New Year. As the deliberations continue, it is imperative that your federal representatives hear from you about the importance of making sure that any health care reform legislation meets the specific health care needs of children.

We urge you to contact your
federal representatives at their
District office or their Washington office!
 
You can e-mail, call, or visit...or all three.  The AAP has articulated five points that any health care reform package must have to meet the needs of children and pediatricians. Please use these bullets in any communication you have with your legislators' offices. They are the backbone of insuring that children's health care needs will be met in any health care reform legislation that eventually makes it to the President's desk for signature.
  1. Every child must have quality health insurance.
  2. Quality health insurance should be a right, regardless of income, for every child, pregnant women, their families, and ultimately all individuals.
  3. All health insurance plans should have a comprehensive age appropriate benefits package directed to the special needs of the pediatric population as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  4. Every child should receive care in a medical home with a primary care pediatrician, and have access to pediatric medical subspecialists, pediatric surgical specialists, pediatric mental and dental professionals, and hospitals with appropriate pediatric expertise.
  5. All health plans should have payment rates that assure that children receive all recommended and needed services.
Further, we must be sure that nothing in any Federal legislation decreases benefits that children in New York State already have.
 
NYS Deficit Reduction Plan:
Cuts to Children's Services 
 
On the state level, the environment is daunting. 
 
The Governor released his Deficit Reduction Plan which proposes to cut $3 billion from the existing year's budget. There is no argument that New York has big budget problems, but the proposed cuts will significantly and negatively impact the lives of children across the state.  And, as always, they will have the most negative impacts on our most vulnerable children and families; those who most often need the kinds of supports that public programs offer.
 
Although there are no proposed cuts to Children's Medicaid or the Child Health program which would impact eligibility, benefits or enrollment, there are cuts in both systems which could have as yet unknown impacts.
 
To help you understand the kinds of cuts that are being considered:
  • mid-year school aid cuts
  • significant cuts to hospitals, clinics, & school based health care
  • large cuts to Medicaid
  • large cuts to every public health initiative from childhood lead poisoning prevention and treatment, to obesity reduction, to tobacco cessation
In addition there are cuts proposed for:
  • reproductive health care
  • WIC
  • child care
  • child welfare
  • foster care
  • preventive services
  • juvenile justice
  • children's mental health and disability services
The District will be developing a position on the cuts to children's services.  We hope that when the time comes, you will join us in advocating for necessary state savings that cause the least damage to the most vulnerable children and families in our state.
 
SAVE THE DATE!
AAP District II's Annual Legislative Day:  2/23/10 
 
AAP District II's Annual Legislative Day is February 23rd in Albany. This year's event will be in partnership with Reach Out and Read (ROR) Programs across the state.  Many of you have ROR programs in your offices and clinics.  It would be helpful if you could reach out to the programs in your facilities and encourage them to join us in Albany in February.  Together we can have an even stronger and louder voice for children's health and wellbeing.
 
Children's Mental Health Services in Primary Care
 
On a more positive note, despite the financial difficulties facing the state, the Office of Mental Health and the District continue to move forward to develop a Children's Mental Health Primary Care Pilot.
 
This pilot will be designed to provide training and support in children's mental health diagnosis, treatment and medication management to pediatricians. The program goal is to enable pediatricians to provide services to children with mental health issues in the primary care setting.  The bidders conference took place in mid-October.  More than ten entities attended. Bidders responses are due November 24th.  OMH hopes to make their final decision in late December. The OMH has required that whomever they choose as a finalist must work with the District to help design and implement the pilot.  We will be letting you know when a decision is made.
 
To support our work on Children's Mental Health, the District has created an internal Steering Committee and District-wide Work Group, and an external Children's Mental Health Partnership.  These groups are organized to help us move this important part of our Agenda forward.

District II (New York State), American Academy of Pediatrics
1325 Franklin Avenue, Suite 255 | Garden City, NY 11530
516/326-0310 | 516/326-0316 fax |
www.aapdistrictii.org