The year in kids’ health: policy and advocacy in 2012

sim3 As 2012 comes to a close, our Advocacy and Health Policy team takes a look back over the last 12 months to review our efforts to advocate for the health of kids in Minnesota. Here’s a sampling of the public policy and community engagement issues we’re proud to say we were involved with this year:

State policy
• Newborn screening: We worked to preserve and reform the Newborn Screening program at MDH. The program tests newborns to see if they are at risk for more than 53 disorders.

• Pediatric care coordination: In 2012 we worked to pass language requiring the Commissioner of Human Services to implement a pediatric care coordination service for children who receive Medical Assistance and that have high-cost psychiatric conditions. This service will coordinate care for kids at risk of recurrent hospitalization or emergency room use for acute, chronic, or psychiatric illness. In addition, Children’s has been working with the Department of Human Services to finalize a pilot project on care coordination for 14,000 general pediatrics patients.

• Emergency Medical Assistance (EMA): Funding for the EMA program was eliminated in the 2011 legislative session. In 2012 we worked to support the temporary reinstatement of funding for chemotheraphy and dialysis treatments. We will continue to work to make sure healthcare is accessible and affordable for EMA recipients.

• Personal Care Assistance (PCA): Recognizing the impact of cuts to the PCA program in 2011 had on many of our families, we supported a delay to the personal care attendant program cuts until July 2013.

Federal policy
• As called for in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Minnesota is now establishing its own online health insurance exchange. At Children’s, we are working to ensure that pediatric care is part of all coverage options offered through the exchange.

• Drug shortages: We worked closely with U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office on a bill that requires drug manufacturers to report all permanent and temporary interruptions in drug production at least six months in advance (or as soon as practicable upon awareness of a likely shortage). The bill was passed into law in 2012.

Community outreach
• Childhood obesity is on the rise in Minnesota. In a recent report, we explored how Minnesota kids are faring in the battle against obesity. To learn more, take a look at our infographic on the health of Minnesota’s kids. Also this year, Children’s was a founding partner in a program called Vida Sana, a community and family based program focused on breaking down the barriers to healthier lifestyles Latino families in Minneapolis.

Gearing up for 2013
You can help us to advocate on behalf of all Minnesota kids by signing up for our Children’s Advocacy Network—we’ll keep you updated on our work and let you know when you can take action in support of children’s health.