A Word from the President: A Year in Review


At our annual meeting this May, we had an opportunity to put the preceding year in perspective. Our chapter accomplished a great deal in the last year. We’ve successfully obtained a grant to improve pediatric services for children in foster care and another to improve pediatric care through telemedicine and social media. We’ve achieved our largest membership ever now with close to 1,000 members. We’ve completely redesigned our web site to enhance our communications with our members as well as provide them better access to resources and news. In addition, we now offer a menu of discounted MOC 4 activities for maintenance of board certification. Finally, we have had real success with our advocacy for children.

Our highest priorities in advocacy included children’s access to care. This March our state’s health insurance exchange proposal was signed into law. As part of the goal of increasing access to care, we led efforts to instruct pediatricians across the state to sign up in time to make retroactive for the year increased primary care reimbursement increases under Medicaid. Our efforts to expand mental health services were made manifest in the Health and Human Services omnibus budget bill, the first bill to increase spending in the last six years; it specifically includes expanded services for mental health, chemical dependency, maternal depression, suicide prevention, and autism spectrum disorders therapy.

A second major priority was early brain development, and here we succeeded not only with the omnibus budget bill but also with the Minneminds financing package as part of the E-12 (early education through grade 12) bill, which dramatically expands scholarships to allow low income families access to quality education programs.

But two of our highest priorities for the year in advocacy did not fare as well.

While the Critical Congenital Heart Disease Testing Requirement did pass and was included in the omnibus bill, we were not successful in moving forward with legislation to prevent the destruction neither of the blood samples used to diagnose metabolic conditions in newborns nor of the actual documents of the results of the newborn screening. We are not giving up, however. We are already planning meetings with key allies to address this issue at the legislature again next year.

Similarly, the anti-bullying legislation that we pursued never made it out of committee. The proposal would require school districts to implement robust anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies to protect students, provide training to staff, and establish reporting protocols. It may have been killed in a legislative committee this year but we will be back next year.

Even as I write this, I am preparing to testify at an administrative hearing in the morning to fight for the updating of our state’s school and daycare rules. Given the tenor of the public comments from the anti-vaccinationists, we will be struggling to be heard and understood. But fighting for the health of our state’s children is always worth the effort, and no one ever told us it would be easy.

Annual Sponsors

Children's Minnesota
Gillette Children's
Hennepin Healthcare
University of Minnesota Health
Essentia Health
Mayo Clinic
Shriners Healthcare for Children-Twin Cities