As public health professionals with decades of collective experience in leading state MCH programs, AMCHP is asking members of Congress for their help and leadership to fully fund the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant at $850 million for FY 2009.
The Maternal and Child Health Block Grant is the only federal program of its kind devoted solely to improving the health of all women and children. AMCHP continues to support an increase in block grant funds to enable state Title V Programs to:
- Ensure access to quality care;
- Reduce infant mortality;
- Provide and ensure access to comprehensive prenatal and postnatal care;
- Increase the number of children receiving health assessments and follow-up diagnostic and treatment services;
- Provide and ensure access to preventive and child care services as well as rehabilitative services;
- Implement family-centered community-based systems of coordinated care for children and youth with special health care needs; and,
- Partner with state health agencies, schools, and youth organizations, to prevent behaviors that place youth at risk.
Fully funding the Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Services Block Grant at its authorized level of $850 million is AMCHP’s top legislative priority. State Title V programs currently serve almost 35 million women, children and youth, including those with special health care needs.
Six years ago, Title V MCH Block Grant funding peaked at $731 million. In December 2007, the FY 2008 omnibus appropriations bill cut MCH Block Grant funding to $666 million. This reduction threatens the progress states have made in improving the health of mothers, children and families, and will require cutbacks in needed services and systems at the state and local level. Despite remarkable success in improving the health of mothers and children over the past half century, recent data raise critical concerns that our rate of progress may be slowing and even reversing. Consider that:
- Improvements in reducing infant mortality have stalled as preterm and low birth weight births have increased. The U.S. currently ranks 29th in infant mortality rates in international comparisons.
- Racial and ethnic disparities persist across several indicators, with the black infant mortality rate double the rate for whites.
- Maternal mortality rates have not improved in recent decades.
- Childhood obesity is a national epidemic, with some age groups experiencing a three fold increase in obesity rates over the past two decades.
- In 2006, teen birth rates rose for the first time in 14 years.
The President’s FY 2009 budget proposes to fund the program at the 2008 level of $666 million.
Title V’s Role
In partnership with HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), state Title V MCH and Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) Programs will continue to improve health outcomes by:
- Providing Direct Health Care Services (gap filling)
- Basic health services
- Health services for CYSHCN
- Providing Enabling Services
- Family support services
- Respite care and case management,
- Coordination with Medicaid, WIC and Education
- Providing Population-Based Services
- Newborn and lead screening
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome counseling
- Childhood injury, violence and suicide prevention
- Oral health and nutrition
- Outreach and public education
- Infrastructure Building Services
- Needs assessment, evaluation, planning and policy development
- Quality assurance, standards development, monitoring and training
The FY 2009 Labor HHS Appropriations Bill has not yet been introduced. A bill is expected in late spring 2008.
On Thurs., March 13, the House and Senate completed action on their fiscal year 2009 budget resolutions. We are thrilled to report that the Senate passed an amendment to its budget resolution recommending full funding for the Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Services Block Grant at $850 million! Learn more about that here.