Legislative Corner

In Case You Missed It – Most MCH Funding Protected in 2011
Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released their congressionally mandated operating plans which finalize health program funding levels for the remainder of FY 2011. In the good news category we are pleased to report that the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant has been restored to relatively flat funding of $656 million – a major victory in comparison to the February 9 House of Representatives original proposal to cut $210 million. For additional details please see our May 18 Legislative Alert here. 

AMCHP Participating in EPSDT Improvement Workgroup
Last week, AMCHP representatives participated in the second National Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) Improvement Workgroup meeting in Washington, DC. AMCHP immediate past president Dr. Phyllis Sloyer (FL) serves on this panel created by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in December 2010. The workgroup includes state representatives, children’s health providers, consumer representatives, and other experts in the areas of maternal and child health, Medicaid and data analysis.  

The members of the group are helping CMS identify the most critical areas for improvement of EPSDT. The group, which will meet periodically over the next year, will also discuss steps that the federal government might undertake in partnership with states and others to both increase the number of children accessing services and improve the quality of the data reporting that enables a better understanding how effective HHS is putting EPSDT to work for children. AMCHP Senior Advisor Karen VanLandeghem is our staff contact for the workgroup. 

ACA Community Transformation Grant Guidance Released – LOI’s Due June 6
On May 13, HHS announced the availability of over $100 million in funding for up to 75 Community Transformation Grants. Created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), this program provides funds to state and local governmental agencies, tribes and territories, and national and community-based organizations “for the implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of evidence-based community preventive health activities to reduce chronic disease rates, prevent the development of secondary conditions, address health disparities, and develop a stronger evidence base for effective prevention programming.  

The transformation grant guidance (available here) places an emphasis on chronic disease but specifies within that overall focus, states and communities may also address a range of maternal, infant and child health issues. Letters of intent to apply are due to CDC by June 6.