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 Legislative & Policy Corner

AMCHP Releases 100-Day Agenda for New Administration
Last week, AMCHP shared with the incoming presidential administration a 100-Day Policy Agenda to improve the health of all women, children and families, including those with special health care needs. The agenda includes recommendations on funding priorities, access priorities, public health legislation and MCH leadership priorities.

115th Congress Convenes
On Jan. 3, the 115th Congress convened and went straight to work to achieve an ambitious legislative agenda.  In week one, the Senate already set the stage for the series of actions that will be needed to move forward with repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), though much remains in limbo.  The Senate took the first step by putting forward a budget resolution, which will be voted on this week, containing instructions to the relevant Senate and House committees to develop bills that are intended to pave the way for ACA repeal.  The House will then act to pass the same resolution and then the committees will be tasked with presenting their recommendations by Jan. 27, at which point the Budget Committee in each chamber will put together a complete package known as Reconciliation that would be the vehicle for essentially repealing the ACA.

At this point, however, there is a debate about moving forward on a repeal bill without a clearer picture of what replacement looks like and that could potentially trip up progress on reconciliation.  AMCHP will continue to closely monitor all action in this, including funding implications for Planned Parenthood and the Prevention and Public Health Fund. We will share analyses as well as develop positions as appropriate.  

Finally, please save the first Thursday of every month for a new series of AMCHP National MCH Policy Teleconferences.  The next one will occur on Feb. 2 at 2:00 p.m. EST.  Stay tuned for registration and call- in information.

Congratulations to Christopher Dykton, New DSCH Deputy Director
Christopher Dykton has been named deputy director for the Division of State and Community Health (DSCH) in the U.S. Maternal and Child Health Bureau. He will provide leadership and direction for the State Title V Maternal and Child Health and Children with Special Health Care Needs program and the discretionary grants/cooperative agreements that are administered by DSCH. Dykton will also provide technical guidance to multidisciplinary staff who are based in central and regional offices, and work with federal, state and local leaders to address MCH issues and advance the development of comprehensive systems of care for women ,infants, children and their families.

Health Systems Transformation
 
State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grants
In mid-December, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and Center for Substance Abuse Prevention released a funding opportunity announcement to address the opioid crisis. The purpose of the funding is threefold: increase access to treatment, reduce overdose-related deaths through prevention, reduce unmet treatment need, and treatment and recovery activities; supplement current opioid activities in the state agency or territory; and support comprehensive response to the opioid epidemic using strategic planning and needs/strengths assessments.

The grants will be awarded to states and territories through a formula based on unmet treatment needs for opioid abuse or dependence and the number of drug poisoning deaths. The awards of these grants in the coming year will provide an important opportunity for Title V programs to partner with substance abuse programs in combating this epidemic. Title V programs are especially well-positioned to bring expertise on the impact of opioids on the MCH population and current activities being undertaken through MCH agencies. More information about the FOA can be found here.