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May 23, 2019

When I was 8 or 9 years old, I watched my younger sister, not yet 4 years old, jump off the diving board wearing her “bubble” (an inflated football shaped flotation device belted around her waist). The bubble floated to the surface; she did not. My young self swam to help her, and we both struggled. Fortunately, our father was watching. In a flash, he was in the deep end of the pool, helping us both to safety. We were lucky.

Several years ago, moments after fishing acorns out of my 9-month-old nephew’s mouth, I sprang into action, while still holding my nephew, to scoop my then 2-year-old niece out of the shallow end of the pool. Despite being told to stay on the steps, she ventured further and within moments was underwater. Another adult was supposed to be watching them both.

Swimming with my own kids at a local fitness center pool, with lifeguards and multiple other adults around, I saw yet another child slip underwater, the child’s caregiver facing another direction. I helped that child, too.

Drowning happens quickly and at unexpected times when supervision, for whatever reason, lapses. It only takes a moment. As parents, we must be vigilant, alert, responsible. As pediatricians, it is our duty to counsel parents about water safety, to practice what we preach and to lead by example. Active supervision in and around water is required to prevent drownings and is why I became a #WaterWatchdog. A #WaterWatchdog agrees to maintain constant visual contact with the children in your group, not to drink alcohol, talk on the phone, socialize or read while watching children, to keep a phone near the water for emergency purposes only, and to remain by the water until relieved by a new #WaterWatchdog.

I encourage everyone, my colleagues, friends, family members, and patients/parents to become a #WaterWatchdog. Pledge to actively supervise children in and around the water, and prevent drowning, here: https://abbeyshope.org/water-watchdog/. Together we can make a difference, and keep kids safe. Take the pledge, share and promote safety, actively watch kids and prevent drowning. #PutKids1st, always.

Christina Dewey, MD, FAAP, is a pediatrician at All About Children Pediatrics, in Eden Prairie, MN, practicing in the Twin Cities Metro area since 1999. Learn more about Dr. Dewey at allaboutchildren.net & follow her on Twitter @PedsMamaDoc. 

May 13, 2019

With less than two weeks remaining in the legislative session, time is of the essence to make sure Minnesota senators know action must be taken to repeal the sunset of the provider tax.

The provider tax is a time-tested, reliable way to fund essential health care services. It’s essential to repeal the December 31 sunset of this tax to ensure all Minnesotans – especially children — have access to the coverage and care they need. The revenue loss of about $700 million per year means the state would need to make significant cuts or find money elsewhere. While the House included the provider tax in its Health and Human Services Finance bill, the Senate did not and makes up the loss with drastic cuts to the healthcare, childcare, and home care programs. As a result, there could be a significant gap that would need to be filled by the general fund as well as cuts to funding.

Please call your member in the Minnesota Senate — especially if he or she represents you or your patients — and ask them to preserve the provider tax in order to maintain adequate funding for the Health Care Access Fund.  

Use one or two of the talking points below to craft your personal message, and if you feel comfortable, share your personal story about why this matters to you.

Find your senator here: https://www.gis.leg.mn/iMaps/districts

Sample script for call/email: My name is [name] and I live at [address]. As a provider, I support the provider tax because it is essential to funding the Health Care Access Fund. [Add your personal story or a few talking points about why you support maintaining the health care provider tax]. I hope Senator [X] will urge legislators to repeal the sunset of the provider tax and maintain funding for the Health Care Access Fund. Thank you.

Talking points you can use:

  • For more than 25 years, Minnesota’s health care provider tax has been the primary funding source for the Health Care Access Fund, helping Minnesotans get the health care they need when they need it.
  • Today, 1 in 5 Minnesotans have better access to doctors, medications, and the care they need thanks to Medicaid and MinnesotaCare, programs funded by the health care provider tax.
  • Without the provider tax, Minnesota faces a $1.3 billion dollar hole in our biennial budget, and the health care of our friends and neighbors is at risk.
  • The health care provider tax is a time-tested, reliable way to fund essential health care services. Now is not the time to slash services, or experiment with unvetted funding sources.

 

April 22, 2019
Board elections are held each spring for open positions on boards of the Minnesota chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (MNAAP) and the Minnesota Academy of Pediatrics Foundation (MAPF).

This year, there are 3 openings on the MNAAP board of directors and all are for member-at-large positions. Please submit your vote online and offer any comments or suggestions for current and new board members.

 
Ballots are due Friday, May 31.
April 14, 2019

Are you interested in supporting fellow practicing and resident pediatricians in developing their ideas into grant-funded projects? Have you been a part of a Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) project in the past and wanted to do more but didn’t know how? If so, apply now! We’re looking for an individual with community pediatric experience who wants to help other pediatricians address local challenges through community partnerships.

More details can be found in the Call for Nominations.

The deadline to apply is May 1, 2019. 

April 9, 2019

More immunization education sessions are being scheduled by imams for Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at Minnesota mosques in April and May. These immunization education sessions are part of the “Faith and Medicine” project which pairs a physician or resident with the imam at a mosque.

The format of each session includes introductory comments from the imam, then brief comments from the physician/resident on the importance of immunizations. We conclude with 60-90 minutes of questions and answers from the parents and elders attending, which has been the most productive part of each session. You are welcome to bring a friend or partner/spouse with you to observe the session. A Somali medical interpreter is at each session and possibly a Somali foreign-trained doctor at some of the sessions.

Please email cairns@mnaap.org if you are interested/available to attend an upcoming 2-hour session. Mileage and expenses are available for physicians/residents who participate in these sessions.

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