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February 14, 2017

 

Update from Safe States

 

What we know: Following the outcome of the elections, voters are now more engaged in the policy making process than ever before.

What we don’t know: How will a new president with no experience in government choose to influence the future direction of policy?

So, what does this mean? Voters who are engaged in the policy making process are participating in our democracy and exercising their voice in an effort to help shape specific policy proposals. Voters who are not engaged in the policy making process are surrendering their voice to others and standing on the sidelines as their friends, neighbors, and colleagues take advantage of the opportunities that can only be found in a democratic process.   

What types of opportunities exist? With President Trump’s cabinet secretary confirmation process in full swing following the recent confirmation of Rep. Tom Price as the next Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSS), congressional action will soon pivot to finalizing the FY 2017 budget, crafting an Affordable Care Act (ACA) replacement plan, and beginning the FY 2018 appropriations process. While all three represent significant policy actions, they also represent opportunities to advance injury and prevention policies of interest to our community.

The largest question mark surrounds how policymakers on Capitol Hill will design an ACA replacement plan. Yet what we do know is that the ACA replacement plan will likely provide a “2fer” for injury and prevention advocates! How? Early reports indicate that any plan Republicans develop will return power to the states. Rather than develop prescriptive policy, Republicans in Congress may find it more expedient to provide broad policy direction and leave the details up to the individual states. So that provides you the opportunity to work to influence policy at the federal level, followed by influencing what states do once Congress approves a replacement plan.

Opportunities to engage at the federal level have already materialized. Safe States recently issued a legislative alert calling on you and your colleagues to contact your congressional members to urge that they delay any effort to rescind the Prevention and Public Health Fund until stable funding sources can be identified to maintain support for federal programs that have benefitted from the Fund.   Policymakers are currently considering how best to address the future of the Prevention and Public Health Fund so the time to act is now! Feel free to contact Paul.Bonta@safestates.org for more information.

Additionally, funding for injury and violence prevention programs will certainly be addressed as part of the annual appropriations process. Safe States will continue to monitor these developments and will notify you when there are actions you can take for your voice to have the greatest impact.

By engaging in Safe State’s advocacy efforts, you can join your friends, neighbors and colleagues in the democratic process and help shape the future of health policy!

 


January 17, 2017

 

Update from Safe States

 

With congressional leaders forging ahead with plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare), Safe States is finalizing its government affairs strategy aimed at informing the development of an ambitious replacement plan that is sure to impact the continued integration of public health and health care delivery. Such integration has placed a sharp focus on the role injury and violence prevention programs play in improving the health status of communities across the country. As a result, efforts to address issues such as prescription drug overdose are more effective when a true partnership exists between public health officials and our colleagues in medicine. Each has unique and important role to play.

On the eve of President-Elect Trump’s inauguration, Safe States is focusing its policy and advocacy activities on ensuring that our future health system recognizes the role public health plays in improving health. Specifically, our work must communicate the inherent value of injury and violence prevention programs and call for an environment where such programs can truly flourish. As you already know, this is not an easy task. Early signs point to an uphill climb in our efforts to bolster support for injury and violence prevention programs.

But if we work together to educate policymakers about how injury and violence prevention programs contribute to improved health status and help our elected officials understand the need to address the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44, we will, at minimum, inject a needed voice into the Obamacare replacement debate.

What’s unique about our voice?  It knows no political boundaries.  Injury and violence prevention policy is bipartisan. The only thing our voice needs is you. In fact, without you our voice becomes a whisper.  We become a passionate group of stakeholders listening to the voice of others.

To combat this, Safe States has created two prime opportunities for you to contribute and engage in our policy and advocacy activities. As previously communicated, we are collecting stories that illustrate the impact injury and violence prevention programs have on members of your community. We need more stories! Secondly, we are organizing a Hill day on March 14 to bring Safe States members to Washington, DC to meet with members of their congressional delegation to educate them about the needs of the injury and violence prevention community. 

Safe States is allocating the required resources to these events to help us maximize our success. However, we are counting on your direct engagement to ensure our success reaches well beyond the halls of Congress and is felt by you, your colleagues and partner organizations back home. 

Please take a few minutes to submit a few paragraphs noting the impact an injury and/or violence prevention program has had on a member or group of members in your community to Paul.Bonta@Safestates.org and consider joining your colleagues in Washington, DC on March 14 to exercise your voice in support of injury and violence prevention policy. Your voice is critically important.


December 12, 2016

 

Update from Safe States

 

While President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take over the reins of government next January, Safe States is aggressively working to position itself as the “go to” voice for injury and violence prevention policy in the next administration. While we all have a lot more questions than answers regarding Trump’s vision for the role public health will play in a new health care environment; we recognize there is a unique opportunity to help shape a policy that today is akin to a blank sheet of paper.

However, to be successful, we need your direct engagement and assistance. When faced with policymakers who have little understanding of the value of injury and violence prevention programs, there exist a primary need to communicate the impact injury and violence prevention programs have on individuals and communities across the country. The goal is to personalize injury and violence prevention programs so policymakers can quickly grasp how these programs impact the lives of those whom they represent.

You are the best positioned to help Safe States build this narrative and develop key messages that communicate the needs of the injury and violence prevention community. We ask that you partner with us on this effort by submitting a few paragraphs about the impact an injury or violence prevention program has had on a member or group of members in your community. The type of information that would be most helpful is a story that highlights how someone has benefited from a program you work on or have been associated with. A story can be told without providing any identifiable information, yet highlights the positive impact of effective injury or violence prevention programs in your community.

Another way to participate in this effort is to share with us examples of successful public and private partnerships that have strengthened the work that you do and enhanced the value of injury and violence prevention programs. With Republicans in control of the White House and Congress, stories that showcase cooperation between the public and private sectors are paramount in helping Safe States position itself as the “go to” voice for injury and violence prevention policy.

Please take some time to share your stories with Safe States by drafting and sending a few paragraphs to Paul.Bonta@Safestates.org by Dec. 23rd. If you any questions or would like to discuss your story before sending, please contact Mr. Bonta and he would be happy to work with you.

 


November 16, 2016

 

Update from Safe States

 

With a new President moving into the White House next year, Safe States has dedicated significant time and energy over the past few months towards developing a transition document intended to secure early and strong support from our next President for federal injury and violence prevention programs. The transition document, “IVPN’s Call to Action for the Trump Administration” was drafted in collaboration with members of the Injury and Violence Prevention Network (IVPN), which is a group of national organizations led by Safe States that work to advance injury and violence prevention policies at the national level.

To maximize the effectiveness of “IVPN’s Call to Action for the Trump Administration,” Safe States is presenting the document to the leadership of Donald Trump's transition team, and senior officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The document signals actions that can be taken by a new administration interested in advancing injury and violence prevention policy; yet, may not be familiar with the various injury and violence prevention programs that exist at the federal level. Specifically, the document provides funding recommendations and background information on a wide range of issues within the injury and violence prevention arena.

Furthermore, Safe States is working to broaden dissemination of the transition document through various channels including its website, social media, and vast IVPN network. To help expand the document’s reach, we invite you to share the transition document with your partner organizations and other stakeholders. Not only does the document pave the way for President-elect Trump to take concrete action in support of injury and violence prevention policy, it is also a tool that can be utilized to increase awareness of federal injury and violence prevention programs broadly.

Please contact Paul Bonta, Director of Government Affairs, with any questions or requests for assistance.


October 18, 2016

 

Update from Safe States

 

With the presidential campaigns entering their final stretch in the run up to the Nov. 8th elections, media outlets have devoted precious little time to other important news that impacts the future of injury and violence prevention efforts. However, Safe Sates has been working to keep its finger on the pulse of injury and violence prevention activities and is happy to share some of the latest happenings that may not have made it to your inbox.

One of the most important discussions is taking place right now as Republican leaders in Congress work to solidify their plans for how best to finish the 2017 appropriations process during the lame-duck session of Congress. Both the House and Senate will return to Capitol Hill the week after the elections in an effort to reach agreement on a massive spending package that will avert a government shutdown and fund government agencies through Fiscal Year 2017. With continued focus on the need to address sports concussions and traumatic brain injuries, and prescription drug overdose, including dissemination of the recently approved Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on use of prescription pain medications, the dynamics of those negotiations will likely impact FY 2017 funding levels for these and other injury and violence prevention activities. Safe States will continue to monitor these negotiations and keep members apprised of important developments, including potential opportunities to engage in the process at the grassroots level.

Other important developments include:

  • A new CDC study, “The Economic Burden of Prescription Opioid Overdose, Abuse and Dependence in the United States, 2013” that notes prescription opioid abuse, dependence, and overdose cost the U.S. $78.5 billion in 2013.

  • A National Institutes of Health (NIH)-convened panel developed a 10-year road map for advancing research to prevent youth suicide. The panel’s recommendations address three critical issues: improving data systems, enhancing data collection and analysis methods, and strengthening the research and practice community.

  • An article in JAMA called for a change in the language of addiction to avoid stigmatizing those who suffer from substance use disorders (SUDs). “Patients may be referred to as ‘junkies,’ ‘crackheads,’ or other pejorative terms that describe them solely through the lens of their addiction or their implied personal failings…language related to SUDs does influence perceptions and judgments, even among health care professionals with substantial experience and expertise,” wrote the authors.

Safe States will continue to monitor and relay important policy developments to you. We are crafting a wide-ranging transition document to highlight the need for federal investments in specific injury and violence prevention programs that impact the communities you serve. Please be on the lookout for the document in the weeks ahead as we encourage you to share our priorities for the next administration with your partners and relevant stakeholders.

 

Please contact Paul Bonta, Director of Government Affairs, with any questions or requests for assistance.

 


September 14, 2016

 

Update from Safe States

 

Just as Congress was returning to Capitol Hill after a prolonged summer recess, members of the Safe States Executive Committee were in Washington, DC meeting with members of their congressional delegation to shine a spotlight on the needs of the injury and violence prevention community. The meetings served as an opportunity to increase the visibility of the Safe States brand in Congress, while maintaining the drumbeat on the need to advance federal injury and violence prevention programs.

 

Although the summer recess just ended, several members of Congress are already eager to get off the Hill and back out on the campaign trail in advance of the impending November elections.  The one barrier to their quick exit from Congress is passage of a continuing resolution (CR), which will be necessary to keep government agencies operating past the end of the current fiscal year on September 30th. Tied to the CR negotiation is funding to combat the Zika virus that continues to expand its reach across the country.

 

With conservative Republicans pushing for a long-term CR that would avoid a lame-duck session of Congress following the elections (a session that meets after the successor is elected but before the successor’s term begins), as well as a fully-funded Zika package, Congress faces a challenging environment in identifying a compromise that will receive support from a majority of either caucus.  However, history has proven that deadlines in Congress is the one binding factor that has routinely led to legislative action, and this year will be no different.

 

Early reports indicate that Senate leaders are preparing a short-term CR through early December that includes funding for Zika. They hope to pass this CR with a quick turnaround – within the next few days – after which many delegates will leave town until after the elections.  Such a move would put House Speaker Paul Ryan in the difficult position of having to bring the Senate-passed bill up for consideration in his chamber or bring the Senate back after it adjourns to prevent a government shutdown. Either scenario is fraught with considerable challenges, yet will be aided by the Sept. 30th deadline, which if nothing else, will propel action.

 

Should Congress move forward with plans to enact a short-term CR, Safe States will be back on the Hill following the elections in an effort to influence the appropriations end-game.  We will keep you apprised of any developments that may impact funding for injury and violence prevention programs and may be calling on you to contact members of your congressional delegation to ensure federal injury and violence prevention programs are front-and-center and end-of-year funding decisions materialize.  Please be on the lookout of further updates!

 

Please contact Paul Bonta, Director of Government Affairs, with any questions or requests for assistance.

 

 

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