Breastfeeding-Related Components of the Cures Act
The Senate passed the 21st Century Cures Act on Wednesday and President Obama is expected to sign it quickly (it passed the House last week). It's said to be the biggest healthcare package to pass Congress since the Affordable Care Act, with major changes to speed up drug approvals, initiatives to expand mental health care, and new funding for drug addiction treatment.
The Cures Act is a mixed bag for breastfeeding, with both good and bad news to report. The good news is that the bipartisan Safe Medications for Moms & Babies Act (H.R. 5219) was incorporated into the final Cures package. Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Kathy Castor (D-FL) introduced this bill last spring to address the dangers posed to mothers and infants by the lack of research on medication taken during pregnancy and lactation. The measure will establish a taskforce of federal and medical experts to advance research and information sharing on medication use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
The bad news is that funding for the Cures Act is partially offset by reductions to the Prevention & Public Health Fund—often referred to as the "Prevention Fund" or "PPHF"—beginning in FY2018. Breastfeeding advocates may not be aware that the CDC's funding line for breastfeeding initiatives, established in FY2012, is housed within the Prevention Fund. This is just the beginning, however, of potential risks to the Prevention Fund, as it is expected to be targeted for wholesale elimination in the impending repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
The USBC is preparing a multi-pronged campaign to protect these funds, as well as the other breastfeeding related provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Please watch this space for future news briefs and action alerts detailing how you can support breastfeeding priorities during this transition period.
Media highlights include:
- Vox: "The biggest health reform bill since Obamacare, explained in 600 words"
- McClatchy DC: "This mom in Congress wants to help breast-feeding moms. She'll get a vote Wednesday."
- Trust for America's Health press release: "Deeply Disappointed Congress Utilized the Prevention Fund as a 21st Century Cures Offset"
Community Health Worker Resource Compilation, from CDC
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support has released a new Community Health Worker (CHW) web page bringing together materials pertinent to CHWs. The resources were compiled from across the CDC and are organized by health topic. Each item includes a brief description, type of resource, language, audience type, and a list of related CDC programs.
Appeal of Preliminary Injunction on Overtime Rule, from DOL
The Department of Justice, on behalf of the Department of Labor, has filed a notice to appeal a preliminary injunction granted by a federal judge in Texas which stopped DOL from implementing their final rule updating the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime regulations. The injunction preserves the existing overtime rule until the court has a chance to review the merits of a lawsuit challenging the DOL's authority to raise the salary threshold. The Department has moved to expedite the appeal, which was approved by the Court. By increasing the number of employees who are considered nonexempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the proposal would also expand the right to workplace accommodations for breastfeeding under the "Break Time for Nursing Mothers" law.
Child Nutrition Bill Negotiations Ended, from NWA
The National WIC Association has announced that Child Nutrition Reauthorization negotiations for the 114th Congress have come to an end. Efforts to provide WIC services to children up to six years of age, develop two year certifications for infants, and complete a review of Medicaid Adjunctive Eligibility were not successful. WIC and other child nutrition programs will continue to operate under the policies set by the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010.
Targeted Approach to Racial Equity Webinar, from BMBFA
Join the Black Mothers' Breastfeeding Association on Wednesday, December 14, from 2-3 p.m. ET. for a webinar entitled, "Making the Case for a Targeted Approach to Racial Equity in Breastfeeding Support." Participants will learn how to identify health disparities that are effected by low breastfeeding rates; define the difference between equality and equity in support; and classify barriers to breastfeeding as historical, societal, or social.
Action Network Launch, from The United State of Women
The United State of Women has launched the United State of Women Action Network, a new resource that connects people directly with opportunities to organize, volunteer, and donate to organizations working on the causes they care about. Individuals are invited to view the recap of the #UnitedDayofWomen and listen to a recording of the first strategy call for the planning of the action network.
BFHI Congress, from WHO
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, the World Health Organization held the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative Congress. Participants celebrated the successes over the past quarter century and worked to set a future course on how to use the lessons learned to ensure that every newborn receives appropriate care. Download event presentations.
News from the Field
Childhood Obesity Prevention and Treatment Toolkit, from IMI
The Institute for Medicaid Innovation has released, "Building a Culture of Health in Childhood Obesity: Childhood Obesity Prevention & Treatment for Overview & Action Plan for Medicaid Health Plans." The report includes a toolkit with practical advice for health plans aiming to improve the assessment, prevention, and treatment of childhood obesity. The report also includes case studies of successful programs, including the Healthy Heartbeats Prenatal Care Program which focuses on breastfeeding as a preventive measure.
Hospital Support for Community Health, from The Milken Institute School of Public Health
The Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University has released, "Improving Community Health through Hospital Community Benefit Spending: Charting a Path to Reform." The policy opportunities outlined in the report are designed to encourage hospital integration into the health of their communities. These policy opportunities have two overarching goals: The first goal is to move to a definition of community health improvement for purposes of community benefit spending that fully embraces both patient-specific clinical care and activities that promote the health of entire communities. The second goal is to develop the range of policies and guidelines that actively encourage taxexempt hospitals to contribute to and participate in community-wide efforts that emerge through the community health needs assessment process and that lift the health of communities as a whole.
Obesity Cost-Analysis, from The Milken Institute School of Public Health
The Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University has released, "Weighing Down America: The Health and Economic Impact of Obesity." The report presents a new study which found that the total cost to treat health conditions related to obesity—ranging from diabetes to Alzheimer's—plus obesity's drag on attendance and productivity at work exceeds $1.4 trillion annually. The report also highlights how this public health challenge can best be addressed.
State and Community News
Hospital Breastfeeding Resources, from Maryland
The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has released new hospital breastfeeding resources, including physician webinar recordings on breastfeeding-related topics and modules for maternity nursing staff in hospitals seeking Baby-Friendly designation.
Collective Impact Connection
Network Theory Article, from SSIR
The Stanford Social Innovation Review has released a an articles entitled, "When Straight-Line Planning Doesn't Work." The article explores how network theory challenges conventional planning strategies and points toward a more flexible, collaborative approach to fundraising. The article highlights that when social campaigns are viewed through a network theory lens, collaboration becomes an obvious choice, although certainly not the only option. Network theory also gives insight into why flexibility is often a better choice than the highly structured and committee-led process that is more typical of existing fundraising collaborations.
News & Views
Business News Daily: "Support Your Employees by Creating a Family-Friendly Workplace"
CHIRblog (Georgetown University Health Policy Institute's Center on Health Insurance Reforms blog): "A Lot to Lose: What's on the Line for Women if the Affordable Care Act is Repealed"
The Huffington Post: "Legal Protections For Nursing Moms Are On The Chopping Block"
Promoting & Protecting Opportunity (DOL blog): "Refreshing the Conversation: Understanding Work-Family Challenges Facing Women of Color"