Posts Tagged ‘ health care reform ’

NHSA White Paper

Today, NHSA released its white paper — Federal Healthy Start Initiative: A National Network for Effective Home Visitation and Family Support Services. This document is in response to the historic legislation, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which is designed to strengthen and approve home visiting programs, improve service coordination for at-risk communities, and identify and provide comprehensive evidence-based home visiting services to families that reside in at-risk communities.  The white paper showcases the strengths and competencies of the federal Healthy Start Initiative, making certain that funders, legislators and other potential supporters know that Healthy Start represent a “shovel ready” network that can offer an array of core services provided through evidence-based and promising home visitation practices.

The recent health reform legislation and the federal Healthy Start Initiative are aligned as both a strategy and response for the delivery of key provisions for addressing the health and health care needs of women and families.  Federal Healthy Start represents a network with 20 years of experience and cultural authenticity to assist in serving underserved and marginalized communities throughout our nation.  The 104 federal Healthy Start sites around the U.S. are well-positioned to play a crucial role in the national effort to build quality, comprehensive, state-wide early childhood systems for pregnant women, parents, caregivers, and children from birth to eight years of age and, ultimately, to improve health outcomes.

You can visit this link to obtain full access to the PDF version of the paper – http://healthystartassoc.org/NHSA_WhitePaper.pdf

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Health Reform for Women’s Health

On Tuesday, June 24, 2010, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, spoke to the National Partnership for Women and Families about how the Affordable Care Act will not only benefit women and provide for their full range of health needs, but also break barriers as “the best women’s health bill since Medicare.” Secretary Sebelius noted particular provisions that will impact women’s health, including the ban on supplemental charges for women’s health services; the law that all new insurance plans must cover essential health benefits like newborn care and maternity care; and the elimination of co-pays for key preventive services like pap smears and mammograms. To read Secretary Sebelius’ comments, please visit http://www.hhs.gov/secretary/about/speeches/sp20100624.html
(U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services Daily Digest Bulletin; June 25, 2010)

Home Visitation Funding

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released the first of three announcements for the new federal home visitation program. The announcement contains additional details related to the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program that was created by the Affordable Care Act.

$90 million will be provided to all states and territories to improve health and development outcomes for at-risk children through evidence-based home visiting programs.  The funds are intended to assure effective coordination and delivery of critical health, development, early learning, child abuse and neglect prevention, and family support services to children and families through home visiting programs.

The announcement indicates that HHS will soon publish proposed evidence-related criteria for public comment through the Federal Register.  Those criteria will be based on an exhaustive study of research evidence related to home visiting programs and will provide a user-friendly source of information for States about different models and the evidence of effectiveness associated with them.

Each State must apply for funding by July 9.  The State Needs Assessment is due by September 1.  The assessment must identify at-risk communities in the state and the quality and capacity of existing home visiting programs.

The complete announcement can be found here.


Health Reform and Healthy Start

Prevention and Public Health Fund — The health care reform law includes $500 million in fiscal year 2010 for a Prevention and Public Health Fund.  This funding must be spent on prevention and wellness programs authorized by the Public Health Service Act, such as Healthy Start.  NHSA is asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to use a portion of this funding to strengthen existing Healthy Start programs and to expand Healthy Start into areas that are eligible for funding but currently unfunded.  The Fund will continue to grow each year, eventually reaching $2 billion in fiscal year 2014 and each year thereafter.

Home Visiting — The new law also provides $100 million in fiscal year 2010 for states to implement evidence-based maternal, infant and early childhood home visitation programs.  Grantees are required to measure improvement in maternal and child health, childhood injury prevention, school readiness and achievement, crime or domestic violence, family economic self-sufficiency and coordination with community resources. The first step in this progress will be for states to complete a needs assessment to identify communities that have few quality home visitation program and are at risk for poor maternal and child health outcomes. NHSA encourages Healthy Start projects to contact their state MCH office and learn how the state is planning to conduct the needs assessment.

US House Passes Health Care Reform

The House last night voted 219-212 to adopt Senate-passed health care reform legislation, paving the way for an overhaul of the nation’s health care system after a year of debate. As part of the two-bill reconciliation strategy, the House also passed a package of “fixes” to the Senate bill with reconciliation instructions.

The bill, headed immediately to the President’s desk, includes many provisions that are important for Healthy Start coalitions, including:

  • Prevention and Wellness fund  — Provides $15 billion over 10 years ($500 million in fiscal year 2010, $750 million for fiscal year 2011 and ramping up to $2 billion in fiscal year 2015) for new Prevention and Wellness Fund.  The Fund will support programs authorized by the Public Health Service Act, such as Healthy Start, for prevention wellness and public health activities.
  • Home Visitation – Provides $1.5 billion over 5 years ($100 million in fiscal year 2010 and building up to $400 million in FY 2014) for states to provide evidence-based maternal, infant and early childhood home visitation programs.  Grantees are required to measure improvement in maternal and child health, childhood injury prevention, school readiness and achievement, crime or domestic violence, family economic self-sufficiency and coordination with community resources. States will be required to complete a needs assessment to identify communities that have few quality home visitation program and are at risk for poor maternal and child health outcomes.
  • Tobacco Cessation for Pregnant Women in Medicaid – Requires States to provide Medicaid coverage for counseling and smoking cessation services to pregnant women.
  • Community Transformation Grants – Authorizes CDC to award competitive grants to state and local government agencies and community-based organizations for the implementation community preventive health activities in order to reduce chronic disease and address health disparities.
  • National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council – Establishes a council to create a national strategy and goals related to improving health through federally-supported prevention, health promotion and public health programs.
  • Diabetes Prevention — Establishes a national diabetes prevention program. The program at CDC will make grants to implement community-based diabetes prevention model sites and programs, and includes mechanisms for training, recognition, evaluation, technical assistance and research.
  • Effectiveness of Federal Health and Wellness Initiatives – Requires the Secretary of HHS to evaluate all existing Federal health and wellness initiatives, including Healthy Start and report to congress concerning the evaluation.

President Obama is expected to sign the legislation tomorrow (which is the same bill that passed the Senate in December). As part of the two-bill reconciliation strategy, the House also passed a package of “fixes” to the Senate bill with reconciliation instructions. The reconciliation package now moves to the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has assured House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that he has enough votes for the simple majority needed under reconciliation to clear the bill. Despite the inability to filibuster the package, Senate Republicans are still expected to employ procedural tactics and offer numerous amendments in efforts to stall the bill. The Senate will likely take up health reconciliation legislation on Tuesday with the goal of completing before the end of this week (as Easter recess begins on Friday).

–Jon Terry, President, Capitol Youth Strategies LLC