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Posts Tagged ‘public health funding’

Every Child By Two Delivers Critical Message to Legislators

Every Child By Two will also be making a special presentation on Capitol Hill today, alongside experts from the CDC, AAP and Children’s National Health System.

The panelists will discuss concerns regarding the vaccine-preventable diseases that continue to infect American children and debunk misinformation about vaccine safety.   Every Child By Two’s Executive Director, Amy Pisani, will explain the impact that proposed cuts in vaccine funding and changes to the healthcare replacement bills will have on efforts to protect the American public from deadly preventable diseases.

Please contact your legislators and suggest they attend this special Childhood Immunization Presentation at 2322 Rayburn House Office Building between 3-4 pm today, June 27th.  You can also tune into Facebook Live by following the Vaccinate Your Family Facebook page where we hope to provide live feed coverage of the meeting.  

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Given the continuing discussions on health care reform, Every Child By Two believes it is more important than ever to re-circulate their State of the ImmUnion report to our nation’s legislators.  This report details our country’s current abilities to control and respond to vaccine-preventable diseases.

It’s important that legislators understand that preserving funds for the Vaccines For Children (VFC) program was an important first step in protecting the nation against deadly infectious diseases, but it’s not enough. Proposed funding cuts to Medicaid, the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would:

  • Directly cause the understaffing and potential closure of health clinics across the country.
  • Prevent pregnant women from accessing crucial vaccines to prevent whooping cough and flu in their newborns. About half of babies younger than one year of age who contract whooping cough need care in the hospital, and 1 out of 100 babies who get treatment in the hospital die.  Additionally, in the 2016-2017 influenza season, 101 children died as a result of the flu.
  • Place adults at risk of vaccine-preventable disease. Influenza and pneumonia, both of which are vaccine-preventable, are currently the eighth most common cause of death among adults in the U.S. Treatment of adults for influenza, pneumonia, pertussis and influenza costs the U.S. $27 billion annually in unnecessary healthcare costs.
  • Reduce the management of the $4.3 billion investment in government-purchased vaccines for children. Administration of the VFC program is funded by Section 317 dollars which are subject to significant cuts in funding.

Ongoing outbreaks of measles, whooping cough, and flu are stark reminders that even small drops in vaccination rates can have devastating consequences.

This is why Every Child By Two is taking steps to encourage federal legislators to put the health of our nation first by fully funding CDC, replacing the PPHF, and maintaining a strong safety net through the preservation of Medicaid.  

 

 

Contact Your Senator to Prevent Devastating Cuts to Immunization Programs

June 15, 2017 1 comment

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Every Child By Two has a long history of advocating for immunization funding and strong immunization policies. As the Senate is now considering two crucial pieces of legislation — the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget — we are calling upon the public to speak out in support of #PreventionProtection. Both of these pieces of legislation could impact vaccine programs in a way that limits access for millions of Americans.

It is critical that we help Senators understand the impact of their legislation on public and individual health before they finalize the bill language. Time is of the essence, so we are encouraging everyone to take action this week.

Please call AND email your Senators TODAY with this critical message:

Call your Senators to say:

I am a constituent and am calling to urge Senator X to ensure CDC’s immunization programs continue to be fully funded, both through direct appropriations and through preservation of the Prevention and Public Health Fund.

It is also critical to preserve first dollar coverage in private health plans and Medicaid. Coverage for vaccines is critical to our nation’s health and integral to accessing cost-saving and potentially life-saving vaccines.

Please support public health funding and oppose any aspects of the American Health Care Act which would slash these critical investments.

To ensure your Senator is getting the message, follow-up with an email that reads:

I am writing to express my concern about public health funding. While vaccines may not be specifically targeted, the American Health Care Act and the president’s budget will have consequences for immunization efforts.

The President’s proposed budget would cut vaccination programs by $82 million. Should Congress eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF), this would further compound the problem, eliminating another $324.4 million the CDC utilizes to combat vaccine-preventable diseases. The CDC uses this money to: purchase vaccines and manage supply; monitor vaccine safety; educate; conduct disease surveillances and respond to outbreaks; and support funding for state, territory, and city immunization programs.

Pair this loss of funding with the American Health Care Act’s proposed cuts to Medicaid and we could face a public health crisis.

We are already facing costly outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases: the country is dealing with ongoing outbreaks of measles in California, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Washington.  In Minnesota over 7,500 people were exposed and 70 cases were confirmed in the past two months. Since 2014, over 1,000 cases of measles were detected here in the U.S. The CDC estimates that it costs approximately $140,000 to contain each individual case of measles ($143.5 million since 2014). And every single measles case requires follow up.

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Measles is the “canary in the coal mine.” Because the disease is so highly contagious, when measles immunization rates begin to slip below 95 percent, we begin to see outbreaks. It is often the first sign of other serious vaccine-preventable outbreaks.

Pertussis, or whooping cough, cases are on the rise. And several universities in the U.S. experienced outbreaks of meningococcal serogroup B disease, a devastating illness that causes lifelong debilitation or death.

Gaps in vaccine infrastructure also leave us susceptible to emerging threats such as the Zika virus, which can cause devastating birth defects when a woman contracts the disease while pregnant. It is essential that we not only develop more and better vaccines, but also maintain a sound infrastructure and capacity to deliver and track those vaccines within the healthcare system.

It has been reported that the U.S. spends nearly $27 billion annually treating just four vaccine-preventable diseases that afflict adults over 50 years of age: influenza; pertussis; pneumococcal disease; and shingles. The majority of these avoidable costs are borne by federal health insurance programs.

Vaccinating, however, is cost saving. For each dollar invested in the childhood immunization program, the U.S. saves over $3 in direct medical costs and $10 ten dollars in societal costs. Government programs play a key role in the success of immunization programs. For example, over the past 20 years the Vaccines for Children program has prevented 322 million illnesses, 732,000 deaths, and nearly $1.4 trillion in societal costs.

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The solution is in your hands:

  • Ensure CDC’s immunization program continues to be fully funded, both through direct appropriations and through preservation of the PPHF.
  • Continue first dollar coverage in private health plans and Medicaid. Coverage for vaccines is critical to our nation’s health and integral to accessing cost-saving and potentially life-saving vaccines.

To find the contact information for your Senators, please use Who Is My Representative?

Please also consider participating in Trust for America’s Health “Day of Virtual Advocacy” in support of the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) by clicking here.

They are requesting that those individuals or organizations with Twitter accounts consider tagging their Senators in any of these sample tweets using the #ProtectPrevention hashtag:

  • The Prevention Fund is 12% of CDC’s Budget. Eliminating it decimates core public health programs #ProtectPrevention
  • Chronic disease = 70% of deaths & 86% of healthcare costs. Reduce spending by investing in prevention. #ProtectPrevention
  • The Prevention Fund has invested > $6 billion in resources to states & local organizations to promote good health #ProtectPrevention
  • Oppose the AHCA, which would eliminate the Prevention Fund #ProtectPrevention
  • The Prevention Fund helps prevent deadly infectious disease outbreaks; would be eliminated by AHCA #ProtectPrevention

For more background information about the proposed cuts to prevention funding, refer to the following partner resources:

Association of Immunization Managers: Potential Impact of the Elimination of PPHF Funds (on the 64 State, Local and Territorial Immunization Programs)

Adult Vaccine Access Coalition:  Health Reform Fact Sheet, Health and Economic Benefits of Adult Immunizations

Thank you again for your support of immunizations!

Federal & State Legislators are Listening: Time To Advocate For the Value of Vaccines

March 23, 2017 11 comments

There has clearly been a political awakening in this country and people are once again motivated to make their voices heard in regard to political policies.  When it comes to protecting our nation’s health and maintaining our personal freedoms, there are plenty of differences in opinion.

In a recent VaxTalk podcast hosted by Voices for VaccinesEvery Child By Two Board Member Sarah Depres and Immunize Texas member Jinny Su, discuss the potential impact proposed federal and state policies could have on the health of our nation and our local communities.  More importantly, they explain how everyday citizens are being encouraged to actively engage with their legislators on these issues. 

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Federal Policies and Their Impact on the Prevention of Disease

To start, Ms. Depres explains how the American Healthcare Act and the President’s proposed budget may impact the availability, accessibility and affordability of immunization services across the country. While these policies are still evolving, she comments that the proposed plans suggest significant budget cuts will be made to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  These two federal agencies are currently responsible for the majority of federal immunization programs and vaccine oversight.  A reduction in their operating budgets will likely have a significant and fairly immediate impact on things such as vaccine safety and oversight, disease surveillance, outbreak response, scientific evaluation of effective immunization practices and research that helps us to understand what interventions work to improve vaccination rates across the U.S..

While some may argue that we can save money by streamlining budgets and consolidating programs, there is a larger concern that must be addressed and it has to do with state level immunization programs.  The fact is that the collective work of these agencies has a direct impact on individual state efforts to provide good immunization services to the public. Not only do states benefit from the large-scale research and oversight that the federal government conducts on vaccines, but a large portion of these federal funds trickle down to assist states in their specific efforts to prevent outbreaks that can easily cross state lines.  As Ms. Depres explains, infectious diseases have no borders and it is therefore unrealistic and, quite frankly, unacceptable, to put the bulk of responsibility on the states when they are not in the same position that the federal government is to fund large scale programs that we know benefit the country and its citizens as a whole.

SOTI-VPDCostIGTake the state of Nevada as an example.  Nevada continues to rank at the bottom of the list for public health spending with just $4.10 per capita and they also happen to be a state with some of the lowest immunization rates in the U.S. In comparison, Idaho, their neighbor to the northeast, spends as much as $94.70 per capita. When The Affordable Care Act was established, it included the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) to sustain and expand preventive health measures and save the country money typically spend on illness and disease.  Fortunately, this fund has supplemented Nevada’s budget with more than $31 million since the fund’s inception, and has had a direct impact on the programs being developed to ensure vaccine access across the state.  Unfortunately, with the repeal of the ACA, the PPHF funds are at risk of being eliminated, and Nevada will likely suffer major public health setbacks as a result.

A Surge in State Specific Immunization Related Bills

Read more…

Public Health Report Card: How Does Your State Measure Up?

December 20, 2013 Leave a comment

It’s easy to understand why people take public health for granted.  You simply can’t see the diseases that have been prevented, the hospitalizations that have been avoided or the lives that have been saved.  And in these challenging economic times, when state and federal budgets are being scrutinized, it’s important that we keep focused on our collective public health needs and responsibilities.

Unfortunately, according to a new report from Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation  many states just don’t measure up the way we might expect them to.  In this report each state was graded in ten areas related to funding, vaccination rates and public health department readiness and quality.   Some of the specific factors that each state was judged on include vaccinating for diseases like flu, measles, HPV, and whooping cough; controlling hospital-acquired infections; screening people for HIV; preparing for climate change and disease outbreaks; and adequately funding their public health departments. States scored one point for each measure they met for a maximum of 10 points.

MapOfStatePublicHealthScoresSadly, thirty-four states scored 5 points or less in this report.  Three states – Georgia, Nebraska and New Jersey – tied for the lowest score of 2.  And the only state to achieve the highest score of 8 out of 10 was New Hampshire.

If you are preparing to travel over the upcoming holidays, you may be interested in knowing how the different states measure up.  For a detailed breakdown by state, you can refer to the full report here.  You can also read more about some other key findings from the report including the following: Read more…

The Villian is a Virus

September 22, 2011 4 comments

If you’ve seen the movie Contagion, the first thing you probably asked yourself was,

“Is it possible? Could this really happen?”

It’s likely that you then began to consider all the things you had touched, and all the people you had come in contact with in the few minutes it took to exit the theatre.  In the hours following the movie, you were probably still fixated on washing your hands.  You may have started to count how many times you had touched your face.  And you most likely cringed every time you heard someone cough.

While movie goers across the country are wondering whether we could ever suffer from a Hollywood sized epidemic as dangerous as the one witnessed in the movie Contagion, many experts are weighing in with phrases like “possible”, “plausible”  and “painfully,yes”.

If you haven’t seen Contagion, the movie follows the rapid progress of a lethal airborne virus that kills within days.  As the movie unfolds, so does the fast-moving epidemic that spans the globe and has the CDC and the entire worldwide health community racing to find a cure and control the panic that ensues among the threatened population.   Since the movie opened over a week ago, there have been lots of people questioning whether something as big as this could actually happen.

CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden

If you believe that Contagion is simply an elaborate plot to instill fear, and nothing more, than perhaps you have been plagued by Hollywood hype.  However, if you are inquisitive enough to take a closer look at the possibilities that exist, you may find this movie to be an important reminder to us all – a reminder of why we should appreciate and advocate for stronger public health practices across the nation.

In a special behind-the-scenes event last week, hosted by The CDC Foundation, I had the privilege of hearing from three CDC experts on the subject of Contagion and real life disease detection.   While they acknowledged that there is a continuous and unpredictable threat of disease all across the world,  they also elaborated on the important, real-life work of the many local, state and federal public health workers who continuously monitor these threats and try their best to protect us from the exact scenario we see in Contagion. Read more…