Championing Healthy Kids Act Update, from Congress
On November 3, the House passed the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act, a bill to renew funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), community health centers, and several other health-related programs. Funding for CHIP expired on September 30; states have been able to keep operations going thus far, though five states and four U.S. territories required extra money from the federal government to keep their programs going. The final bill included $6.35 billion in cuts to the Prevention Fund, including a $400 million cut beginning in FY19. Action now moves to the Senate, although timing remains unclear. Advocates are hopeful that Prevention Fund supporters in the Senate will have a strong hand in negotiating a final agreement with bipartisan offsets that do not include the Prevention Fund so that the vitally important safety net programs in this legislation can be quickly reauthorized.
Proposed Rule on Essential Health Benefits, from CMS
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have released a proposed rule which would give states more flexibility in defining the Essential Health Benefits (EHB) that are required for qualified health plans sold on state health insurance exchanges. Under the proposed rule, states would have additional flexibility in their selection of an EHB-benchmark plan for plan year 2019 and later plan years. The proposed rule would allow for substitution to occur within the same EHB category and between EHB categories, as long as the substituted benefit is actuarially equivalent to the benefit being replaced and is not a prescription drug benefit. With the exception of the substitution provision, the proposed rule retains the current issuer requirements related to EHB and those requirements would continue to apply to all plans subject to the EHB requirements. A public comment period is open until Monday, November 27.
Funding to Support Innovation in Maternity Hospitals, from CDC
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion has announced a funding opportunity through the Small Business Innovation Research grants program entitled, "Innovative Approaches for Maternal and Infant Safety in Maternity Hospitals." U.S. small business concerns that meet specific criteria are eligible to submit applications (see Section III for eligibility information). The project goals are to develop creative and innovative approaches, including but not limited to technological applications, to standardize methods and procedures to support safe implementation of skin-to-skin contact for healthy infants and safe rooming-in throughout the hospital stay. Full details can be found on pages 153-154 of the announcement. The submission deadline is Friday, January 5.
National Prematurity Awareness Month Feature Article, from CDC
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published a CDC Feature on premature birth in honor of National Prematurity Awareness Month. The article highlights key information about preterm birth, risk factors, CDC activities, and helpful resources. The preterm birth rate rose for the second straight year in 2016, with about 1 in 10 babies born too early in the United States. Racial and ethnic differences in preterm birth rates remain.
Child Care Bill Introduced, from Congress
Senator Patty Murray and Representative Bobby Scott have introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act. The bill would ensure that no family under 150% of state median income pays more than seven percent of their income on child care. In addition, the bill would establish a new federal-state partnership to provide high-quality, affordable child care from birth through age 13, increase workforce training and compensation, and address the needs of family, friend, and neighbor care and care during non-traditional hours to help meet the needs of working families.
Update on WHO Documents, from BFUSA
There is a great deal of confusion in the BFHI and lactation communities right now, springing from the fact that the WHO released two critically important documents with no notice, just weeks apart from each other. Adding to the confusion is the fact that, although these two documents serve different purposes, they have almost the same name.
First Document: Proposed Revised Operational Guidance for the BFHI
The first document, which was released on October 11, is the proposed new BFHI operational guidance. Titled "Protection, Promotion, and Support of Breastfeeding in Facilities Providing Maternity and Newborn Services: The Revised Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative 2017," this document was open for public comment until October 29.
Second Document: Updated Evidence for the 10 Steps
The second document, which was released on November 3, is the updated scientific evidence for the 10 Steps, which is cited as reference #34 in the first document. This second document, which is similarly titled "Protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding in facilities providing maternity and newborn services," went through WHO's Scientific Guideline Development process and is not open for public comment.
WHO protocols are such that all Ministries of Health and BFHI National Authorities received these documents at the same time as the general public. We provided extensive feedback to the WHO on the proposed revised guidelines (the first document) by their original deadline of October 24. We are happy to inform you that the WHO has decided to delay publication of this document until there can be further consultations with the BFHI Network and other global breastfeeding organizations.
We are currently in the process of reviewing the 150 pages of scientific evidence in the second document to determine what (if any) adjustments need to be made to BFUSA's Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria. This process will take some time and any adjustments will be made public at the appropriate time.
In the meantime, we are continuing to adhere to our current Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria and the current standards will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Once again, we encourage you to stay the course in implementing the current standards and will advise you if and when any official changes are made to the initiative.
National Prematurity Awareness Month Twitter Chat, from CHI/MomsRising/MoD
Join the Centering Healthcare Institute, MomsRising, and March of Dimes on Wednesday, November 29, from 12-1 p.m. ET for a Twitter chat in honor of National Prematurity Awareness Month. Participants are invited to share stories and experiences at hashtags #CHIpreemiechat and #PrematurityAwarenessMonth. Help spread the word with CHI's sample promotional posts and shareable graphics.
Resources Connecting Early Childhood Development and Community Safety, from Prevention Institute/CSSP
The Prevention Institute and Center for the Study of Social Policy have published new resources exploring the linkages between community safety and child development as part of the joint Cradle to Community project. Resources include a fact sheet, issue brief, and research report as well as new videos on the Cradle to Community approach.
Home Visiting Twitter Chat, from Home Visiting Coalition
Join the Home Visiting Coalition on Monday, November 20, from 2-3 p.m. ET for the #RenewMIECHV Twitter chat. The chat will be moderated by Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus, and will feature key leaders, experts, and allies in the fight to reauthorize the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program. Access chat questions and shareable graphics.
News from the Field
Webinar Series on Health Equity in Local Health Departments, from GARE
The Government Alliance on Race and Equity, in collaboration with Human Impact Partners, the National Collaborative for Health Equity, and the National Association of County and City Health Officials' Health Equity and Social Justice Committee, have launched a four-part webinar series to discuss national and local-level work to advance health equity in health departments. Each webinar will focus on a set of strategic practices that health departments can take to pursue a wall-to-wall transformation of how they work internally, with communities, and alongside other government agencies. Join GARE on Thursday, November 16, from 3-4 p.m. ET for the first webinar, entitled, "Part 1: Building Internal Infrastructure to Advance Health Equity."
Collective Impact Connection
Article on Importance of Human Connection in Social Change Efforts, from Tamarack Institute
Tamarack Institute has released an article entitled, "Why are we here?" The article discusses the importance of connecting with one another as human beings, not just professionals, to articulate who we are and why we've come together to make change. The author observes that this connection best occurs separate from conversations on organizational capacity.
News & Views
Yale School of Public Health: "YSPH Team Responds to Opinion Piece Critical of Breastfeeding"
The Huffington Post: "Fed is Best: The Silence Speaks Volumes"
Refinery29: "Can A Court Order A Mom To Stop Breastfeeding?"