Alaska chapter members from around the state are involved in advocacy efforts to support the health of Alaska’s children
December 13, 2016: 2017 State Legislative Sessions Are Coming—Are You Ready?
With most state legislatures ready to begin their 2017 sessions shortly after the start of the new year, charting a course for chapter advocacy success is vital. AAP chapters have a powerful role in shaping state policy in the coming year. Striking the right balance between proactive initiatives and reacting to what else is “out there” requires planning, skill, and resources.
Resources from our Webinar, AAP Chapters | Crafting A State Advocacy Agenda, are available to support your planning efforts. The Webinar examines how our Washington, Iowa, and New Jersey chapters developed state advocacy agendas that fit their needs, engage members and stakeholders, and support AAP priorities. The AAP 2017 State Advocacy Outlook resource shares key AAP priorities, reflects opportunities and challenges for chapters, and identifies state trends to help you craft your state advocacy agenda.
As we head into the holidays, StateView will be taking a short break, but we’ll be here to provide you with one-on-one consultation, technical assistance, and strategy guidance as you prepare for 2017—contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alaska Chapter members Lily Lou and Anna Ogena visit the offices of an Alaska Congressman.
Request for Chapter Help on Federal Foster Care Advocacy — Sign On Letter
The Alaska Chapter of the AAP has signed on in support of this foster care legislation.
Building Support for the Family First Prevention Services Act
and Moving it Forward to Final Passage in the Senate!
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) are committed to passing the Family First Prevention Services Act (H.R. 5456), but strong support is needed at the national and state level to ensure H.R. 5456 is prioritized in the Senate and receives a floor vote when legislators return to Washington in September!
The Senate left for summer recess without passing the Family First Prevention Services Act (H.R. 5456), a bicameral, bipartisan bill that would strengthen federal child welfare law to better protect vulnerable children and families. The House of Representatives passed H.R. 5456 on June 21. The bill takes historic steps to ensure more children can stay safely with family and out of foster care by allowing federal child welfare dollars to be used on quality prevention services and programs. It also: encourages the placement of children in foster care in the least restrictive most family-like settings appropriate to their needs with special attention to those needing specialized treatment; addresses the special needs of pregnant and parenting teens; reauthorizes a number of expiring Title IV-B and Title IV-E program provisions; offers supports to help older youth transitioning from foster care to adulthood; improves the interstate placement of children; improves Regional Partnership Grants to help families affected by substance abuse; and continues to recognize and increase supports for grandparents and other relatives who step in to care for children when their parents cannot.
Call to Action:
There are two ways you can help move this important bill forward:
- Add your organization onto the sign-on letter in support of H.R. 5456: Over 130 national, state and local organizations joined the sign-on letter in support of H.R. 5456 that was submitted to the Senate on July 12, and we are looking to continue growing the list of supporters. Please consider adding your organization on the Senate sign-on letter urging Senate Leadership to bring H.R. 5456 to a vote when the Senate returns in September. It is important that signatories of the letter represent a wide range of organizations in all fifty states, so please share this with your networks. Please click here to view the letterand click here to add your organization. Deadline for the sign-on is August 24.
- Encourage your networks to meet with their Senators’ offices in your home state: During the August recess, please urge your networks to schedule meetings with their Senators’ district offices to ask them to pass H.R. 5456 as written without delay when they return in September. Please see below for helpful materials that can be shared with the Senate offices during these meetings:
- Summary of the Family First Prevention Services Act
- Summary of the importance of the nursing and clinical staff standards in residential treatment programs as proposed in the legislation
- The July 12 sign-on letter to the Senate from more than 130 state and national organizations in support of the bill
Every child deserves to grow up in a safe and loving family. The Family First Prevention Services Act is a critically important step toward this goal for hundreds of thousands of our most vulnerable children and families. Children and families cannot wait any longer for these important changes and the time to act is NOW!
Zach Laris, MPH
Department of Federal Affairs
American Academy of Pediatrics
Help Support Child Welfare Legislation
Before leaving for August recess, Congress was unable to pass the Family First Prevention Services Act, a major bipartisan bill that would strengthen federal child welfare law to better protect vulnerable children and families. We need your help to ensure this bill is prioritized when legislators return to Washington in September!
Background: Children in or at-risk for entering foster care are especially vulnerable as they are more likely to be exposed to trauma and often have complex medical needs. Using an evidence-based, prevention-focused approach, the legislation offers states the flexibility to use federal foster care funding to support mental health, substance abuse and in-home parenting skills programs for families of children at-risk of entering foster care.
The bill also ensures children are placed in a non-family setting only if necessary to meet their needs, and that congregate care, or group home, facilities, when needed, are accredited and have licensed clinical and nursing staff.
State of play: The U.S. House of Representatives passed the legislation in June. Unfortunately, there are groups and state policymakers urging members of Congress to remove the important provisions for licensed, knowledgeable staff in group homes, citing concerns around the costs associated with improving staff quality and the lack of flexibility in implementing the new requirements.
The Congressional Budget Office, which assesses the price tag of federal legislation, estimates that watering down those staffing quality provisions would actually cost the federal government hundreds of millions of dollars, while providing a lower quality of care to our most vulnerable children.
This opposition stalled progress of the bill before recess. Now, we must lay the groundwork for swift Senate passage in September by meeting with your senators’ offices in Alaska.
With the aid of a grant awarded to the Alaska Chapter of the AAP, Chapter member and Immunizations Champion, Dr. Ros Singleton and the State Immunization Program have joined together to increase awareness and education about HPV immunizations in adolescent girls and boys. 12 year olds in Alaska who have not yet received the HPV vaccine will receive a reminder recall letter encouraging parents to schedule an Adolescent Health Visit, which is recommended by the AAP for all 11-12 year olds.
For more information on the Adolescent Health Visit, check out
- AAP Section on Adolescent Health http://www2.aap.org/sections/adolescenthealth/
- Adolescent Health Update by Duncan, P and Pirretti A. Bright Futures for the Busy Clinical Practice. Pediatrics. Volume 22, No. 1, November 2009 published by the AAP section on Adolescent Health
- brightfutures.aap.org Clinical Practice Toolkit tab
See this factsheet for info on talking to parents about the HPV vaccine: for-hcp-tipsheet-hpv
The AK AAP Chapter collaborated with the State Immunization Program to mail this Adolescent Vaccine Reminder Postcard on June 20 to all Alaskan 12 year olds not current on their adolescent vaccines. Pediatric offices may receive calls from parents who receive the postcard. Since the State may not have complete immunization information on all teens, it is recommended that providers screen these patients to make sure a visit is needed.
Alaska Chapter Member and Immunizations Champion, Dr. Ros Singleton and epidemiologist Dr. Joseph McLaughlin are providing education to providers about Senate Bill 169, a bill that would establish a single vaccine association/distribution system for all Alaska kids and for insured adults.
UPDATE: Senate Bill 169 has been passed by the Alaska legislature and was signed by the governor.
- Reduced financial and administrative burdens for vaccine providers by eliminating the need to maintaining two separate vaccine inventories for Vaccine for Children eligible children and for insured children.
- Reduced costs for payors through bulk purchase of vaccines at a lower cost per dose.
- Patients would likely have increased access to vaccines because more providers would participate if the administrative and financial hassles associated with maintaining duplicate inventories of vaccines goes away.
- Alaska does not have funds to cover the cost of vaccines for Alaska’s esteemed [110,000+] uninsured adults.
“An Act establishing in the Department of Health and Social Services a statewide immunization program and the State Vaccine Assessment Council; creating a vaccine assessment account; requiring a vaccine assessment from assessable entities and other program participants for statewide immunization purchases; repealing the temporary child and adult immunization program; and providing for an effective date.” Bill sponsors: Hon. Cathy Geissel (R) and Hon. Hollis French (D).
To learn more about this bill: http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/get_bill.asp?bill=SB%20169&session=28
Alaska state epidemiologist Dr. Joseph McLaughlin answers some questions on Senate Bill 169 and will be incorporating these into a larger FAQ document, which is available on the SOE homepage under Spotlights (www.epi.alaska.gov).
Q. If signed into law by the Governor, when would the new vaccine assessment bill be effective? A. January 1, 2015
Q. If the bill is signed into law, when would providers be able to start ordering vaccine for 2015? A. An exact date has not been set, but notification will go out to providers in advance through an Epi Bulletin or some other notification mechanism.
Q. Would this bill affect the influenza vaccine purchase for the 2014-15 influenza season? A. No. Providers who have not already pre-booked influenza vaccine for next year’s flu season should do so now.
Q. What are the implications of the fact that this bill allows a 3 year phase-in period for assessable entities? A. This means that assessable entities (i.e., insurance carriers, etc.) will have the option to participate in the assessment and take advantage of the discounted vaccine prices during the next three years, startingJanuary 1, 2015. As such, the program will not likely provide universal coverage immediately, but will hopefully incorporate the vast majority of children and insured adults in the first year. Participation in the program will be mandatory for assessable entities after the third year.
Q. What options exist with the Vaccine Assessment Program for health care providers who care for uninsured adults? A. Providers will be able to voluntarily “opt-in” to the assessment to receive vaccines at a discounted (bulk) rate for uninsured adults. Unlike assessable entities, providers will not be required to opt-in to the assessment after the third year.”