Weekly Wednesday Wire: March 22, 2017

Federal News

American Health Care Act Status, from Congress

Last week three House Committees advanced legislation that would repeal major portions of the Affordable Care Act through the Fiscal Year 2017 budget reconciliation process. The House of Representatives Rules Committee is holding a hearing on the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628) on March 22, and the full House is expected to vote on the bill on Thursday, March 23. A manager's amendment reflecting a series of changes from the original legislation has been filed.
 
The Kaiser Family Foundation has published a summary describing key provisions of the bill as approved by the House Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Budget Committees, and showing substantive changes proposed in the manager's policy and technical amendments submitted to the House Rules Committee.
 

President's Budget Blueprint Released, from the White House

On March 16, the White House released the FY 2018 Budget Blueprint, also known as the "skinny budget." To pay for a proposed $54 billion increase in defense spending, the Administration proposes significant cuts across the federal agencies to non-defense discretionary programs, including an 18% cut for the Department of Health and Human Services. Although the blueprint provides little detail, it includes a proposal for a new $500 million block grant within the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to "focus on the leading public health challenges specific to each state." The document also calls for $18 billion in cuts in non-defense discretionary programs in FY 2017 appropriations—to partially offset defense increases—and contains no information on where these cuts would come from (the government is currently operating under a continuing resolution for FY 2017 that expires April 28). The President's full FY 2018 budget is expected to be released in mid-May. Member and partner highlights included:

Other Health Care Bills, from Congress

Receiving far less attention than the action on the American Health Care Act, the House Education & Workforce Committee has advanced three bills that could, if enacted, have far-reaching repercussions for people with employer-based health insurance:

Read the committee press release, as well as a blog post by the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute's Center on Health Insurance Reforms. 

New Webpage Highlighting Administrative Actions, from HHS

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has launched a new webpage highlighting the regulatory and administrative actions the Department is taking to support a patient-centered healthcare system. The actions are part of a broader plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. New measures will be announced on this page.

Request for Information on Alternative Payment Models, from CMS

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center has released a Request for Information seeking input on the design of alternative payment models focused on improving the health of children and youth covered by Medicaid and CHIP. CMS is specifically interested in approaches that encourage pediatric providers to collaborate with health-related social service providers at the state and local levels to share accountability for health outcomes in children. The deadline for comments is Tuesday, March 28.

Perinatal Quality Collaborative Funding Opportunity, from CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced a funding opportunity for state health departments working with public health professionals under the State-based Perinatal Quality Collaboratives (PQCs). The purpose of this program is to enhance the capabilities of state PQCs to collect timely data to provide feedback to members to improve the quality of perinatal care in their respective states, including reduction of maternal morbidity and mortality. Applications are due by Monday, April 24.

Grantee Success Stories, from CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published 24 success stories from 1305 grantees, housed on the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) website. The website includes stories about breastfeeding, nutrition, physical activity, as well as an interactive map of state stories. All stories are also housed in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion database and are searchable by cooperative agreement or topic. NACDD has formatted the stories to fit their "What's Working Database."


 Healthy Families Act Reintroduced

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) have introduced the Healthy Families Act into both houses of Congress. The bill would guarantee workers can earn up to 56 hours (seven days) of paid sick time to stay home and get well when they are ill, to care for a sick family member, to seek routine medical care, or seek assistance related to domestic violence. Workers earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Small employers with fewer than 15 employees would not be required to provide paid sick days. Partner highlights included:


 Member News

#FoodFri Twitter Chat, from MomsRising & CSPI

Join MomsRising and the Center for Science in the Public Interest on Friday, March 31, from 1-2 p.m. E.T. for a #FoodFri twitter chat. Participants will discuss attacks on nutrition science, the public's understanding and willingness to follow nutrition advice, as well as how to support nutrition science, promote evidence-based policies, and cut through the confusion. To request the chat questions in advance, email cschwartz@cspinet.org.

Maternal and Child Health Award Recognition, from AMCHP & HCOne

The Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs has honored HealthConnect One's Community-Based Doula Program as a 2017 Best Practice in Maternal and Child Health. HealthConnect One collaborates with community health agencies nationwide in establishing effective programs and securing community support to train and hire community-based doulas. The Community-Based Doula Program Model connects underserved women to women in their community who are specially trained to provide support during the critical months of pregnancy, birth, and the early months of parenting. 

Statement on Breastfeeding Support Services Providers, from HCOne

HealthConnect One has released "Statement on Critical Providers of Breastfeeding Support Services." The statement addresses the growing trend in the breastfeeding community to recommend that only licensed providers or individuals with credentials should be permitted to receive reimbursement for lactation support services, to the exclusion of critical providers of breastfeeding support such as peer counselors and community-based doulas. Individuals and organizations are invited to sign on to the statement. 

National Public Health Week, from APHA

The American Public Health Association will host National Public Health Week April 3-9. National Public Health Week shines a spotlight on public health, highlighting how far we have come as well as acknowledging how much more we need to do to make healthy living easier where people live, learn, work and play. There are many ways to get involved in NPHW activities: sign the Generation Public Health pledge, participate in local events, become a partner, or join the#NPHWchat Twitter Chat on Wednesday, April 5, from 2-3 p.m. E.T. 


 Partner News

CDC/DNPAO Appropriations Fact Sheets, from NANA & NACDD

The National Alliance for Nutrition & Activity and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors have published their annual Appropriations Fact Sheets for the CDC's, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO). The fact sheets include: an overview of program activities, evidence of program success, historic funding levels, as well as recommendations for the FY 2018 federal budget. Both fact sheets include information and support for the continuation of CDC's breastfeeding initiatives.


News from the Field

Workplace Lactation Support Research, from Breastfeeding Medicine

The journal Breastfeeding Medicine has released an article entitled "Employer-Based Programs to Support Breastfeeding Among Working Mothers: A Systematic Review." Researchers conducted a systematic literature search of peer-reviewed articles about breastfeeding support programs and policies among employees. This review suggests that maintaining breastfeeding while working is not only possible but also more likely when employers provide the supports that women need to do so. Although some employers may have more extensive breastfeeding support policies and practices than others, all employers can implement a breastfeeding support program that fits their company's budget and resources.

Equity Policy and Art/Culture, from PolicyLink

PolicyLink has released a report entitled, "Creating Change through Arts, Culture, and Equitable Development: A Policy and Practice Primer," which provides examples of how equity policies working in tandem with arts and culture strategies are achieving equity goals. The report highlights both promising and proven practices that demonstrate equity-focused arts and culture policies, strategies, and tools across sectors.

Breastfeeding and Childhood Obesity Risk, from Childhood Obesity

The journal Childhood Obesity has released the results of a longitudinal study entitled, "Breastfeeding Reduces Childhood Obesity Risks." Researchers collected data from a cohort of 1,234 children from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. The study found breastfeeding for more than six months vs. never breastfeeding was associated with a 42% reduction in obesity risk.

Health Care Reform Resources, from NIHCM Foundation

The National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation has released two resources considering the impact of the Department of Health and Human Services efforts to encourage state-led health care reform. The HHS has sent two letters to states: one promoting the use of Medicaid waivers, and the other inviting applications for State Innovation Waivers often called Section 1332 waivers. NICHM hosted a webinar identifying obstacles to engaging Medicaid patients as well as success stories, with an eye on meeting the potential challenges of Medicaid reform. HHS Secretary Price is encouraging states to use Section 1332 waivers to stabilize their exchange markets through high-risk pools or reinsurance programs. In an Expert Voices essay, Joel Ario explains the guardrails for qualification for a Section 1332 waiver and notes several additional options states have for reform through waiver applications.


 Collective Impact Connection

Improving the Give Big Model, from SSIR

The Stanford Social Innovation Review has released an article entitled, "Don't Give Big. Instead, Invest Thoughtfully." Many community foundations are launching one-day, online, community-wide fundraising drives, themed variously around the idea of "give big." These foundations get as many nonprofits as they can to send out emails asking for donations, with each solicitation pointing to a giving portal at the community foundation itself. The foundation then collects the money and distributes it back to the nonprofits. The article outlines how the give big model can be overhauled to maximize impact.  


News & Views

Working Mother: "Breastfeeding Moms May Get to Keep Key Obamacare Protections"

FOX News: "Support programs help moms extend breastfeeding time"

Harper's Bazaar: "The Rise of Co-Sleeping: Should You Share a Bed with Your Baby?"

Office on Women's Heath blog: "Medicines and Pregnancy: 4 Tips to Help You Get the Facts"

To the Point (The Commonwealth Fund blog): "Eliminating Essential Health Benefits Will Shift Financial Risk Back to Consumers"

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