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 Legislative & Policy Corner

AMCHP Statement on the Supreme Court Ruling
As was widely reported last week, the Supreme Court ruled the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. Click here to view the AMCHP statement. In the upcoming months, the AMCHP National Center on Health Reform Implementation will be hosting a series of webinars to provide you with the tools and resources to navigate and optimize the opportunities of the ACA. Also, AMCHP has developed an extensive overview of key MCH provisions in the ACA, available here, and a summary highlighting the implementation status of MCH provisions, available here.

The next webinar, Continuing the Conversation: The Affordable Care Act after the Supreme Court Ruling, is scheduled for Tuesday, Jul. 31 at 3 p.m. EDT and will be a review of the key provisions of the law, implications of the ruling for MCH populations with an in-depth discussion of the Medicaid expansion and the health insurance exchanges establishment. There will also be an opportunity for AMCHP to hear from some of our member states on how their programs are helping to advance the ACA as well. To register for the webinar, click here. 

Senate Appropriations Bill MCH Funding Highlights
On Jun. 14, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year 2013 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) appropriations bill out of committee. AMCHP drafted a detailed memo providing an overview of key maternal and child health related funding provisions, including funding for the Maternal and Child Health Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Click here to view the document.

CDC Releases Guidance on Anti-Lobbying Provisions
Last week, CDC released a document providing guidance on how they plan to implement the anti-lobbying provisions included in the fiscal year 2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act. AMCHP will be providing additional analysis during the next couple of weeks. Click here to view the guidance.

National Prevention Council Action Plan
On Jun. 13, U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin and members of the National Prevention Council announced the release of the National Prevention Council Action Plan. “The action plan outlines the federal commitment to implementing the vision, goal, priorities, and recommendations of the nation’s first ever National Prevention Strategy.” The action plan “demonstrates how these departments are implementing prevention efforts, in line with their respective missions, to achieve the National Prevention Strategy goal of increasing the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life.”

Community Health Center Grant Funding
On Jun. 20, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced funding for 219 community health centers in 41 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands. A total of $128.6 million was awarded as part of the Affordable Care Act and is expected to extend services to 1.25 million additional patients. Eligible applicants included public or nonprofit private entities, including tribal, faith-based and community-based organizations who meet health center funding requirements. For more information and a list of awardees, please visit the HRSA website here.

Strong Start Funding Opportunity Update 
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently sent out a notification regarding the application process for the Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns. Applications were originally due on Jun. 13. However, stakeholders raised important issues since CMS announced the call for applications, and in order to address these issues CMS is revising the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) and providing further clarifications regarding the initiative. AMCHP staff listened to a conference call with CMS regarding the FOA and while CMS could not disclose details of the upcoming revised FOA, there were some key points: a letter of intent is no longer necessary for applicants; for those who have already submitted an application, a new application will need to be submitted based on the changes put forth in the revised FOA; the timeline for the release of the FOA is “soon,” but no clear date was provided by CMS; CMS is seeking feedback on the timeline for submission when the revised FOA is announced; the new FOA will be posted to the CMS and grants.gov websites and those registered for updates will receive notification when the updated FOA is posted; and CMS is interested in questions and feedback regarding the FOA, which can be sent to strongstart@cms.hhs.gov. More information can be found on the grants.gov website here.