Pediatrician’s Day at the Capitol Tuesday!
Make plans to join the MN-AAP for the annual “Pediatricians’ Day at the Capitol,” set for Tuesday, February 21. The event brings together pediatricians from around the state to talk about issues facing patients and our profession. With the state’s Commissioner of the Department of Health set to join us at noon, and legislators from both parties dropping by to visit with the group, it’s a terrific opportunity to lend your voice to our shared efforts. If you would like to join, please call MN-AAP at 651-402-2056 or stop by the Capitol (Room 316) at noon. More details
Volume of Legislation Picks Up
With less than a month of the 2012 Legislation completed and over 1,000 bills already introduced, the pace of the session has clearly picked up. The MN-AAP has been closely following a number of new proposals, including threats to vaccine usage and repeal of minor consent, as well as opportunities around tobacco use and bullying prevention. While the Capitol has seen lots of activity, the health care committees have yet to hear a substantial number of individual bills. Watch for that to change in the coming weeks.
MN-AAP policy priorities this year include advocating for access to and coverage of optimal healthcare for all children, for bullying prevention, and for initiatives which promote early brain development. The following are several noteworthy bills that the MN-AAP has been following in recent days:
- A proposal by Rep. Mary Franson (R – Alexandria) that would make it easier for parents to opt-out of the state’s mandatory vaccination program for their school-age children.
- A bill by Sen. Gretchen Hoffman (R – Vergas), SF 1865, would repeal the state’s minor consent provisions. Minnesota’s minor consent law allows minors to seek treatment from physicians for reasons related to drug and alcohol abuse, mental health, and sexual health without first receiving consent from a parent or guardian. A similar bill was introduced last year; however, it did not move out of committee following testimony by MN-AAP members.
- HF 2230, a bill by Rep. Jim Abeler (R – Anoka), would require that MDH develop and implement a pediatric care coordination program for children with high-cost medical or high-cost psychiatric conditions who are at risk of recurrent hospitalization or emergency room use for acute, chronic, or psychiatric illness. This same bill would mandate that the health plans under contract with the state implement strategies to reduce the incidence of low-birth weight newborns. As a leading advocate for health care homes, MN-AAP will continue to monitor and advocate for ongoing improvements to support the pediatric health care home.
- As noted in an earlier legislative update, Rep. Jim Abeler is the author of anti-bullying bill, HF 1953. A different approach than earlier bullying prevention efforts, this bill does not specifically name characteristics (such as race, gender, sexual orientation) in its definition of “bullying.”
- In an effort to “streamline” government, a proposal by Senator Mike Parry, SF 1639, would abolish the Department of Health, as well as a number of other state agencies.