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 Legislative & Policy Corner

Public Health Bills Advance in Energy and Commerce Committee
On Jul. 29, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed several public health bills by bipartisan voice vote. HR 1344, the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Reauthorization Act would reauthorize the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program through 2020. HR 1462, the Protecting Our Infants Act would require the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to report on prenatal opioid abuse and neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS); require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with reviewing its activities related to prenatal opioid use and NAS and develop a strategy to address gaps in research and programs; and require the CDC to provide technical assistance to states to improve neonatal abstinence syndrome surveillance and make surveillance data publicly available. HR 1725, the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Reauthorization Act (NASPER) would establish a grant program for states to administer prescription drug monitoring programs. And finally, HR 2820, the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Reauthorization Act would reauthorize the National Cord Blood Inventory program and the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program through FY 2020, which are programs to help match patients in need of a transplant with unrelated bone marrow and cord blood donors. We will continue to monitor these bills as they proceed through the legislative process.
 
Health Reform Implementation

Domestic Violence Special Enrollment Period
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) recently announced the renewed availability of a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for victims of domestic abuse or spousal abandonment. The recent regulations expand eligibility for an SEP to include any member of a household who is a victim of domestic abuse, including unmarried and dependent victims within the household, as well as victims of spousal abandonment, including their dependents. More information can be found here.
 
Depression Screening for Pregnant Women & New Moms
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is recommending depression screening for all women who are pregnant or within a year of giving birth in a new proposal. The perinatal depression screening recommendations are aligned with recommendations from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG).
 
Celebrating & Promoting Breastfeeding
Aug. 1 to 7 was world breastfeeding week and the month of August is breastfeeding month. Breastfeeding is recognized as the best source of nutrition for most infants and strategies to support breastfeeding mothers and babies are some of the most effective measures to protect and promote the health of all infants. The health reform law includes provisions for breastfeeding mothers, including the requirement of health insurance plans to cover counseling, support, and equipment for the duration of breastfeeding, and the requirement of employers to provide reasonable break time and accommodation for an employee to express breast milk up to one year after the child's birth. AMCHP developed an issue brief, State Opportunities and Strategies for Breastfeeding Promotion through the Affordable Care Act, which includes state examples and further detail on opportunities through the health reform law.