Gov Affairs 2019 Priorities Preview GOVT-160148057-2019-01-Gov Affairs 2019 Priorities - Page 14

2019 POLICY AND ADVOCACY PRIORITIES Additional 2019 Policy Initiatives While the topics listed above constitute our top child health priorities, in the year ahead we plan to actively work on many additional policies that have the potential to lift children up. Here’s a preview of some of the other hot topics we anticipate at the State Capitol in 2019: Keeping Young Athletes Safe From Harm Youth sports teach kids leadership, teamwork, self-confidence and athleticism. While sports offer a healthy outlet for kids’ energy, they can also pose certain risks, including the risk of harmful head injuries. We worked tirelessly in 2011 on legislation for school coaches, parents and players to better understand the risks, signs and symptoms of concussions, and ensure that a designated healthcare provider can sign off on a young athlete’s return to play. We anticipate legislation this session that would add physical therapists as a provider type designated to independently authorize return to play. While physical therapists are a critical part of the care team for athletes who suffer a concussion, and the signs and symptoms of head injuries can be complex, clearing a young person to return to the field is a serious decision. We have real concerns that loosening the standards in current law may not fully protect young Colorado athletes. Early Childhood: A Strong Start for Little Ones Colorado’s Early Intervention program provides supports and services to children with developmental delays or disabilities and their families from birth until the child’s third birthday. The idea is that children who may need extra support should have access to services early on so they get a strong and healthy start in life. In 2019, Children’s Colorado will work with early childhood partners to consider potential changes to the Early Intervention system in Colorado. Specifically, advocates are interested in expanding access to early intervention for children who may have more risk factors for needing services, such as children who have had prenatal substance exposure or whose mothers have pregnancy-related depression. Fostering Healthy Families Policy interventions that address the needs of women and families usually lead to healthier children. This year, Children’s Colorado is partnering with other maternal health advocates to advance a pilot proposal that would fund access to integrated behavioral health services for prenatal and postpartum women in obstetric clinics, and fund women’s healthcare services in substance use disorder clinics and medication-assisted treatment facilities. These access points are critical to ensure women and babies get the right care, in the right place, at the right time. We will also support the current governor’s budget request to add $1.25 million to the state’s family planning program, in order to serve more women and help prevent unintended pregnancies across the state. From 2009 through 2016, the state birth rate fell 54 percent for women ages 15 to 19. Colorado can and should continue to be a leader in reducing teenage pregnancies by ensuring robust funding for family planning services. 14 CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL COLORADO Improving Healthcare Transparency Children’s Colorado has supported recent state and federal efforts to make healthcare pricing more transparent, but more work can be done to ensure consumers and businesses have access to timely and meaningful information as they make healthcare choices. Given the complexity of the healthcare system, it is incumbent upon not just the healthcare industry but also business groups and consumer advocates to work together on policies that integrate useful pricing and quality information. Such policies have the potential to lead to higher consumer engagement, better care and lower costs, but the risk of simply adding more bureaucracy or creating unintended consequences is also real. We will aim to steer a thoughtful course forward in 2019, in partnership with lawmakers and consumer advocates, by supporting proposals like posting far more pricing information online, paired with quality rankings, and dramatically simplifying healthcare billing. Supporting Nutrition Programs in Washington, D.C. The Farm Bill is a broad piece of federal legislation that authorizes many programs, one of which is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps). One in six Colorado kids don’t always know where their next meal will come from, making SNAP the nation’s largest defense against hunger and critical in supporting the nutrition and growth of children across America. We spent several months in 2018 urging our federal lawmakers to pass a Farm Bill that promotes kids’ health. In late December 2018, the President signed into law a bill that protects children and families by protecting SNAP. This year, we will stay vigilant to make sure the wins achieved in the 2018 Farm Bill are not undone through regulatory or administrative actions. To sign up to be a member of the Child Health Champions network or learn more about Children’s Colorado’s policy and advocacy efforts: childrenscolorado.org/Advocacy advocacy@childrenscolorado.org twitter.com/COChildChamps facebook.com/ChildHealthChampions 15