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October 17, 2018

Congress Confirms Injury and Violence Prevention is a Bipartisan Issue

 

Prior to adjourning for the midterm elections, Congress finalized important injury and violence prevention policy. Through bipartisan support, the FY 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education Appropriations bill and the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act were both enacted. This extraordinary effort illustrates the bipartisan nature of injury and violence prevention issues.

 

The FY 2019 Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations bill funds the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Injury Control and Prevention (Injury Center), while the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act authorizes a host of new grants and demonstration programs intended to combat addictions and deaths tied to opioids such a heroin and prescription painkillers.

 

Notably, passage of the FY 2019 Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations bill marks the first time that funding for the CDC has been approved prior to the start of the new Fiscal Year since 1996. The bill preserves and maintains funding for all programs administered by the Injury Center compared to FY 2018, a priority voiced by Safe States. Additionally, the legislation carries committee report language proposed by Safe States – calling on the Injury Center to inject greater flexibility into the Core State Violence and Injury Prevention Program (SVIPP).

 

While approving CDC’s FY 2019 budget, Congress also passed the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, that includes several public health provisions aimed at combating the nation’s opioid epidemic. Some of the relevant public health provisions include:

  • A report to Congress from the Secretary of HHS, in coordination with the U.S. Surgeon General, on the public health effects of the rise in synthetic drug use among adolescents and young adults to further educate parents and the medical community on the health effects of synthetics.
  • Development of a public information dashboard by the Secretary of HHS linking to HHS programs and publicly available data related to opioid and other substance use disorders.
  • Support for states to collaborate and improve plans of safe care for substance-exposed infants.  States may use funds to coordinate with carious agencies responsible for child and family wellbeing, develop policies and procedures, train health care and child welfare professionals, establish partnerships, and develop and update technology and monitoring systems to more effectively implement plans of safe care.
  • CDC support for state efforts to collect and report data on adverse childhood experiences through existing public health surveys.
  • Support for an interagency task force to make recommendations regarding best practices to identify, prevent, and mitigate the effects of trauma on infants, children, youth, and their families, and to better coordinate federal response to families impacted by substance use disorders. The task force must develop a set of best practices regarding prevention strategies, identification of trauma, community-based practices, and state- and local-level partnerships to support children and their families.
  • A report to Congress from the Secretary of HHS offering recommendations for pain management practices during pregnancy and for prevention, identification, and reduction of opioid and other substance use disorders during pregnancy.
  • Formation of a new technical expert panel by Secretary of HHS to review quality measures related to opioids and opioid use disorders, including care, prevention, and health outcomes.  

While more than 100 medical groups lent their support to the bill, several public health experts noted that this legislation represents a good first step, but additional action will be needed. 

 

Thanks to all our members who engaged in the legislative process in support of Safe States policy agenda this year! With the close of the CDC’s FY 2019 budget, Safe States is now working with the Injury and Violence Prevention Network to promote our priorities with the next Congress. 

 

If you would like any additional information, please contact Safe States Director of Government Relations, Paul Bonta at paul.bonta@safestates.org

 


September 19, 2018

Opioid Crisis Response Act – What does this mean for injury and violence prevention?

 

The House and Senate are on the verge of passing a massive bipartisan bill that combines 70 different measures aimed at combating the growing opioid epidemic, a topic of much discussion at the recent Safe States Alliance Annual Meeting in Charleston. The vote on the Opioid Crisis Response Act is the culmination of months of hearings and negotiations across five committees in Congress. The bill authorizes funding to expand prevention, research, treatment, and recovery programs that must be sought through the separate appropriations process.

 

Below is a summary of provisions most relevant to the injury and violence prevention community:

  • Requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to submit a report on the impact of federal and state laws and regulations that limit the length, quantity, or dosage of opioid prescriptions to Congress;
  • Authorizes CDC’s work to combat the opioid crisis through the collection, analysis, and dissemination of data, including through grants for states, localities, and tribes;
  • Authorizes funding through CDC from FY19-FY24 for states and localities to improve their PDMPs and implement other evidence-based strategies, encourages data sharing between states, and supports other prevention and research activities related to controlled substances;
  • Authorizes funding from FY19-FY21 for CDC to support states’ efforts to collect and report data on adverse childhood experiences through existing public health surveys;
  • Reauthorizes a HHS grant program through 2026 to allow states to develop, maintain, or improve PDMPs and improve the interoperability of PDMPs with other states and with other health information technology;
  • Requires the HHS secretary to notify providers annually regarding sharing of certain health information with family and caregivers during an emergency such as an overdose;
  • Authorizes data collection and analysis through 2023 on neonatal abstinence syndrome or other outcomes related to prenatal substance abuse and misuse, including prenatal opioid abuse and misuse;
  • Reauthorizes from FY19-FY23 and builds upon CDC’s program to prevent and respond to infections commonly associated with injection drug use, including viral hepatitis and HIV, by supporting state and federal efforts to collect data on such infections and identify and assist patients who may be at risk of infection;
  • Creates an interagency task force to make recommendations regarding best practices to identify, prevent, and mitigate the effects of trauma on infants, children, youth, and their families. This task force sunsets in 2022;
  • Requires HHS to issue best practices for emergency treatment of known or suspected drug overdose, use of recovery coaches after a non-fatal overdose, coordination and continuation of care, as well as treatment after an overdose and provision of overdose reversal medication as appropriate;
  • Requires HHS to provide technical assistance to hospitals and other acute care settings on alternatives to opioids for pain management; and,
  • Authorizes a grant program from FY19-FY23 to support hospitals and other acute care settings that manage pain with alternatives to opioids.

House and Senate leaders and President Trump have all signaled their interest in finalizing action on the Opioid Crisis Response Act in advance of the November midterm elections. Safe States is actively working with partner organizations to monitor the legislation and will communicate important developments. If you have any questions or need additional information please do not hesitate to contact Safe States’ Director of Government Relations, Paul Bonta at paul.bonta@safestates.org.

 


August 15, 2018

Grow your skill-set and meet the 2019 Policy Fellows in Charleston

 

If you are looking to strengthen your knowledge and skill-set to influence policy and engage in advocacy, then the Safe States Alliance’s annual meeting is where you want to be September 5-7.  Not only can you learn the latest trends and innovations in injury and violence prevention programs, but you will have the opportunity to meet the 2019 policy fellows and thank last year’s class of fellows for their work on behalf of Safe States during the September 5th, opening plenary session. 

 

Last year Safe Sates inaugurated the Injury and Violence Prevention Policy Fellowship program and we are happy to announce the selection of the 2018 – 2019 class of fellows.

  • Ashley Bush – Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center
  • Mary Ann Contreras – JPS Health Network
  • Will Hitchcock – Safe Kids Washington/Washington State Department of Health
  • Karis Schoellmann – Louisiana Department of Health
  •  Mandy Slag – North Dakota Department of Health

over the next year, the fellows, who were selected from a large group of interested and qualified applicants, will receive extensive training, technical assistance, and peer-based support to increase their skills and self-confidence to educate policymakers at the local, state, and national levels in support of injury and violence prevention. 

But you don’t have to be a policy fellow to help influence policy. Recognizing that state and federal policy makers are more interested in advancing injury and violence prevention policy than ever before, we are offering the following sessions aimed at enhancing your knowledge-base of government, advocacy and the injury and violence prevention policy-making process:

  • Sept. 5th, 8:00am - Pre-Conference Session: Injury and Violence Prevention Federal Policy 101
  • Sept. 5th, 2:45pm - Engaging in Local, State, Federal and Other Policy Efforts: A Conversation
  • Sept. 7th, 7:45am - Policy Committee meeting

Please consider joining your colleagues at the Safe States annual meeting and take advantage of opportunities to help strengthen your understanding and engagement in the policy-making process. If you’re already registered, we look forward to seeing you there! If you haven’t committed or have it on your “to do” list, you have until August 24 to register. Hope to see you there!

 


July 18, 2018

Join Safe States’ efforts to grow support for Injury and Violence Prevention programs during August recess.

 

Are you ready to help secure an extra $42 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Injury Center? Safe States continues to be actively engaged in efforts to expand federal funding for injury and violence prevention programs and now is a great time for you to connect with your members of Congress. The upcoming August recess is the perfect opportunity to urge support for the House FY 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill.

 

To date, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have passed their respective FY 2019 Labor, Health and Human Appropriations bills. The House bill provides an extra $40 million for the Injury Center’s Opioid Overdose Prevention and Surveillance program and $2 million to expand support for Injury Center Research Programs (ICRC’s). While the Senate bill, which benefits from a higher overall funding allocation than the House bill, only provides level-funding for all Injury Center programs.

 

You can capitalize on this opportunity to grow support for opioid overdose prevention activities and ICRC’s by contacting your members of Congress during the August recess to ask for their support of the House Appropriations Committees’ FY 2019 funding allocation to the Injury Center.

 

The August recess is a time when members of Congress are typically back home and eager to meet with constituents, especially during an election year. It’s a great time to request meetings with members of your congressional delegation to educate them about the importance of greater investments in federal injury and violence prevention programs. To make this as easy as possible, Safe States has developed tools to help you exercise your voice. If you are unable to schedule a meeting with your elected officials, please contact them via email or phone. Can you imagine the impact we would have if every Safe States member reached out to their lawmakers next month?   

 

Your voice has been instrumental to the policy gains we’ve achieved over the past few years. You have helped us raise the profile of injury and violence prevention programs and, as a result, we have expanded the base of support for injury and violence prevention despite the continued focus on reduced federal spending. Please join your colleagues in this effort and contact your members of Congress during the month of August! 

 

Should you have any questions or need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Safe States’ Director of Government Relations at Paul.Bonta@Safestates.org.

 


June 18, 2018

Opportunities to Create Meaningful Relationships with Policy-makers

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the latest National Vital Statistics Report demonstrating a spike in the death rate for young Americans due to injury-related fatalities, such as traffic accident fatalities, drug overdoses, homicides and suicides, instead of illness. The bad news – the total death rate for those ages 10 to 19 in the United States increased by 12 percent between 2013 and 2016, after having fallen 33 percent between 1999 and 2013. The good news – you have a reason to contact your state or federal policymaker!

 

Policymakers need to be informed and you are the injury and violence prevention professional best suited to inform them. The goal of engaging in the policy-making process is to communicate the needs of the injury and violence prevention community and educate policymakers about the importance of the programs you work on or are most passionate about.

 

As part of Safe States ongoing efforts to increase engagement of our members in the state and federal policy-making process, we support members in cultivating relationships with elected officials and their staff. Meeting with policymakers is the easy part, as Hill Day participants have learned. The hard part is doing the work required to follow up with policymakers and their staff to foster a relationship that solidifies your engagement in the process. These relationships are important because they cement the ties between members of the injury and violence prevention community and policymakers who decide when and how to advance injury and violence prevention policy.

 

So, how do you foster a positive relationship? It’s easy! Reach out to policymakers you’ve met with when a new injury and violence prevention report, issue brief, or campaign is released. This presents an opportunity for them to view you as a trusted content expert should they have questions or need direction on how best to advance a policy issue. 

 

Ideally, every member of Safe States would forward a copy of the new CDC study to their elected officials noting the need to combat the rise in injury-related fatalities. This simple step could ignite a dialogue and lasting relationship with policymakers looking to advance injury and violence prevention policy but lacking the expertise to identify the most appropriate or effective policies. If you would like assistance in identifying the contact information for your elected officials, please don’t hesitate to contact Safe States’ director of government relations Paul Bonta at Paul.Bonta@SafeStates.org.

 


May 15, 2018

 

Meaningful ways you can support and engage in Safe States advocacy efforts.

The environment is ripe for promoting the value of injury and violence prevention. Republicans and democrats are standing behind injury and violence prevention programs like never before. But Safe States still needs your support and direct engagement in our policy and advocacy efforts to help us realize significant advancements in the field. Here are a few meaningful ways you can engage:

If you ever needed a signal that injury and violence prevention is a bipartisan issue look no further than the recent submission of the President’s rescissions package to Congress and enactment of the FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill. The rescissions package, which had been the focus of media reports for the past few months, seeks to rescind $15 billion yet, holds harmless all federal injury and violence prevention programs. Specific rescissions to health programs include:

  • $7 billion from the Children's Health Insurance Program;
  • $800 million from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, created under Obamacare;
  • $252 million from the 2015 Ebola outbreak response; and,
  • $220 million from a “Departmental Management” account at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

No cuts to injury and violence prevention programs!

 

Additionally, despite a continued focus on reduced federal spending, the recently enacted FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill provides significant increases to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Injury Center for opioid prevention, nationwide expansion of the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), and evaluation of the rape prevention and education program. Notably, the bill rejected efforts to reduce or eliminate other Injury Center programs by maintaining level-funding for all other line-items.

 

While these are certainly important successes, much more remains to be done and we need your participation! Please be on the lookout for more information about opportunities to engage in our policy and advocacy activities in the near future; however, please feel free to contact our Director of Government Relations, Paul Bonta at Paul.Bonta@safestates.org if you have any questions or need additional information.

 


April 18, 2018

 

Safe States’ member outreach to Congress is making an impact

In response to action by Safe States’ members, 12 U.S. Representatives and five Senators recognized the need to allow states to maximize the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Core State Injury and Violence Prevention Program (SVIPP) funding. Members urged their elected officials to support their respective “Dear Colleague” letters aimed at injecting greater flexibility into Core SVIPP funding. This work is part of a two-pronged strategy Safe States is pursuing to expand Core SVIPP to all 50 states and restore the flexibility that was once the hallmark of the program.

 

Unfortunately, CDC has narrowed the focus of the program to motor vehicle injury prevention, youth sports concussion and traumatic brain injury, child abuse and neglect, and sexual violence and intimate partner violence. As stated in the “Dear Colleague” letter, “These restrictions hinder decision-making at the state level and act as a barrier for states that have injury and violence prevention needs outside the four areas of focus selected by the CDC.”

The following members of Congress signed the “Dear Colleague” letters:

                                House                                                   Senate
                                Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI)             Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI)
                                Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL)                 Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
                                Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)                 Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
                                Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)        Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
                                Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA)           Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI)
                                Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY)

                                Rep. John Duncan (R-TN)
                                Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
                                Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA)
                                Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA)
                                Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH)
                                Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)

 

If your Representative or Senator is listed above, please consider taking a few minutes to thank them for their support. A “thank you” is easy and can help strengthen your relationship with your elected officials’ office.

The “Dear Colleague” letter effort is intended to build support for injecting greater flexibility into the Core SVIPP program at the start of the FY 2019 appropriations process. Safe States will promote these letters as the appropriations process moves forward. We are also working with our champions in Congress to take advantage of any opportunity to expand the program beyond the 23 states currently funded.

 

Congratulations to those who reached out to members of Congress and urged that they sign-on to these letters! Safe States will keep you apprised of new developments.


 

March 19, 2018

 

One voice can really make a big difference.

 

Safe States member Donald Lindsey stepped into action with our latest advocacy alert, single-handedly changing how appropriators view and respond to Rep. Gwen Moore’s (D-WI) recent “Dear Colleague” letter. As a result of his direct engagement, the letter, designed to restore state flexibility in the use of Core State Violence and Injury Prevention (SVIPP) funds provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Injury Center, grew to become a bipartisan push in Congress, advancing one of Safe States policy priorities.

 

Thanks to Don’s discussions with staff in Rep. John Duncan’s (R-TN) office, his Representative signed-on to Rep. Moore’s letter providing crucial Republican support to an issue that until now, had only garnered support among congressional Democrats. In a Republican-led Congress, this is a significant achievement realized because of Don’s voice and engagement in the legislative process.

 

In response to concerns expressed by Core SVIPP-funded states regarding increasing lack of flexibility associated with Core SVIPP funding, Safe States is working to restore the original intent and flexibility of the Core SVIPP program. The goal is to allow states to utilize Core SVIPP funds to address their injury and violence prevention areas of greatest need, rather than have those dictated by the CDC.

 

Restoring state decision-making in the use of federal dollars is a bipartisan issue.  Safe States is now working with Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) to circulate a companion letter in the U.S. Senate to ensure bicameral support for restoring state decision-making in the use of Core SVIPP funds. Once a letter has been finalized, Safe States will once again issue an advocacy alert and this time it could be your voice that makes all the difference.

 

While this effort is squarely focused on influencing the use of Core SVIPP funds in the FY 2019 budget, Congress is still working to complete its FY 2018 appropriations process nearly 6 months into the fiscal year. This week, Congress is aiming to pass a FY 2018 omnibus appropriations bill to fund government agencies for the remaining 6 months. Safe States has been actively engaged in the FY 2018 process as well working to ensure that any allocation of new funds to address the opioid epidemic recognize the need to support opioid overdose and abuse prevention efforts in addition to addiction treatment programs. The good news is that $6 billion has already been set aside to expand federal efforts aimed at addressing the opioid epidemic and early reports indicate that some of those dollars will in fact go to augment existing prevention programs. We will keep you apprised of where new FY 2018 opioid overdose prevention funds get allocated, as we learn more.

 

In the meantime, please watch out for our next advocacy alert calling on you to contact your Senators in support of Sen. Brian Schatz’s letter. This time it’s your voice that could make all the difference!

 


February 21, 2018 

 

The time is now - the injury and violence prevention community can influence the allocation of $6 billion!

 

The latest continuing resolution (CR) adopted by Congress on February 9th finally paves the way for completion of the FY 2018 appropriations process and includes an extra $6 billion to address the opioid epidemic. Last December, Safe States sent a letter to House and Senate appropriators urging them to support both opioid overdose treatment and prevention. While an extra $6 billion is welcome news, lawmakers have left it up to appropriators to determine how best to allocate the funds across government agencies and programs.

 

The CR contains a bipartisan agreement to raise the budget caps by over $60 billion in FY 2018 and FY 2019, meaning appropriators will have more dollars at their disposal to allocate to federal programs. As such, they will spend the next six weeks revising the appropriation bills they crafted last year to lessen the impact of spending cuts that were required to meet the strict budget caps previously in place. To date, Congress has not passed its FY 2018 appropriation bills because lawmakers did not want to go on record in support of bills that contained significant cuts to domestic federal programs. The enhanced spending caps now in place will largely eliminate that concern and will make way for passage of a FY 2018 omnibus appropriations bills by March 23rd, the date the current CR expires.

 

This presents an important opportunity for the injury and violence prevention community to influence the allocation of the $6 billion! If you support the allocation of dollars set aside in the CR to address the opioid epidemic through primary prevention efforts, please contact your elected officials in Washington now. While opioid overdose and abuse treatment programs remain important, we must remind lawmakers of the need to invest in primary prevention!

 

To find your Representative and Senators, click here. For assistance in contacting the appropriate staff in your Representatives’ and Senators’ offices, please contact Paul Bonta, Safe States Director of Government Affairs at Paul.Bonta@safestates.org. Once again, we have a great opportunity to work together to influence the allocation of federal injury and violence prevention dollars!  

 


January 16, 2018

Let’s make 2018 a banner year for injury and violence prevention

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill continue to struggle to close out the 2018 fiscal year appropriations process making a fourth continuing resolution likely. Despite several meetings between top lawmakers and White House officials, leaders have yet to settle on new funding limits for overall defense and non-defense spending.

Safe States’ priorities in the ongoing negotiations are to protect federal funding for injury and violence prevention programs, while ensuring that any new funding allocated to address the opioid epidemic includes an investment in prevention. To that end, last month Safe States, with support from over 20 national organizations from the Injury and Violence Prevention Network, organized a sign-on letter that called on appropriators to support opioid abuse prevention programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Injury Center. Safe States’ letter proved quite timely as lawmakers recently called for an additional $25 billion in the FY 2018 budget to bolster efforts aimed at addressing the opioid abuse epidemic.

In addition to weighing in on the FY 2018 appropriations process, Safe States is preparing its 2018 Policy Agenda, which will guide the association’s policy and advocacy activities in the year ahead. This important roadmap, currently being finalized by Safe States’ Policy Committee, will be made available to all Safe States members to support and lend further credence to your own policy and advocacy work.  

Finally, while the New Year is just underway, now is the time to plan your attendance and register for Safe States’ annual Hill day scheduled for March 22nd. Please consider joining your colleagues and the Safe States inaugural class of Policy Fellows for a fun-filled day on Capitol Hill to promote the important injury and violence prevention programs that are having an impact in your community. 

By working together and collaborating on Safe States’ policy and advocacy efforts, the injury and violence prevention programs you care about will continue to be held harmless from efforts to reduce federal spending. But if lawmakers don’t hear from their constituents about the importance of this work, they will be more apt to pull funding from this area under the assumption that it will go unnoticed. Please help us make 2018 a banner year for injury and violence prevention!


December 19, 2017

Once again, we have a great opportunity to work together to influence the allocation of federal injury and violence prevention dollars!

 

Over the past year, Safe States has amplified our policy and advocacy activities leading to increased collaboration with our members and partner organizations. As a result, funding for federal injury and violence prevention programs will likely be held harmless from continued efforts to reduce overall spending when lawmakers finalize the FY 2018 budget for government agencies over the next few weeks. This is a tremendous accomplishment realized from the direct engagement of our members in the policy making process. But, our work is not done!

As the end-of-year negotiations on the final FY 2018 budget take shape, reports indicate that lawmakers are expressing interest in identifying opportunities to target additional resources toward the opioid overdose epidemic. While this is welcome news, there is a chance these additional resources could narrowly target opioid overdose treatment efforts only. Last year, under the 21st Century Cures Act, Congress allocated $500 million to address opioid overdose “treatment and prevention” efforts. However, none of the dollars were made available to programs administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 

Safe States is currently working with members of the Injury and Violence Prevention Network to educate lawmakers about the need for equal support for opioid overdose prevention and treatment efforts. We recently delivered an IVPN sign-on letter (link) to appropriators in Congress noting that the opioid overdose epidemic, “must be addressed using evidence-based approaches that expand access and utilization of both treatment and prevention strategies. One strategy alone will not suffice to arrest this epidemic.”  The letter further states that the CDC’s Injury Center currently has programs in place, “such as the Opioid Prescription Drug Overdose, Illicit Opioid Use Risk Factors, and Core State Violence and Injury Prevention Program (Core SVIPP) [that] are well positioned to receive an infusion of new dollars to broaden and strengthen our initial opioid overdose prevention efforts.”

 

To support the allocation of additional opioid overdose prevention dollars to existing programs in your community, please take a few minutes to forward IVPN’s letter with an added message that you support greater investments in opioid overdose prevention efforts to your Representative and Senators in the U.S. Congress. To find your Representative and Senators, click here. For assistance in contacting the appropriate staff in your Representatives’ and Senators’ offices, please contact Paul Bonta, Safe States Director of Government Affairs at Paul.Bonta@safestates.org

 


November 15, 2017

Safe States members can influence how new opioid abuse prevention funds are allocated across federal agencies.

 

The opioid abuse and misuse epidemic has grabbed national headlines with the release of the final report by the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis and the President’s recent declaration of the opioid epidemic as a “public health emergency.” While both actions signal that White House officials continue to prioritize how best to respond to the national opioid epidemic, neither measure provides the additional funds necessary to ensure a comprehensive and robust response aimed at thwarting the escalating rate of opioid abuse in communities across the country. 

 

The need to provide additional funds to address this crisis now sits squarely within Congress, especially since end-of-year negotiations to finalize the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget continue. Such an effort could provide a legislative vehicle to allocate more dollars towards addressing the current crisis. 

 

While policymakers on both sides of the aisle have voiced their support for enhanced funding to combat opioid abuse, little has been said about how such funds would be allocated. Safe States is working to ensure an equal share of funds are earmarked to strengthen opioid abuse treatment and prevention efforts. 

 

Recently, Safe States worked with Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) to draft an amendment to the FY 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill that would provide the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with $45 million to bolster state opioid abuse prevention efforts. The amendment was drafted to maintain parity with the $45 million allocated to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to strengthen opioid abuse treatment efforts in last year’s 21st Century Cures bill.

 

Unfortunately, Rep. Moore’s amendment was not approved for consideration by the House of Representatives. Yet, given the growing recognition among policymakers that additional dollars are needed to combat opioid abuse, Safe States is now working in concert with the Injury and Violence Prevention Network (IVPN) to educate policymakers about the need to strengthen investments in opioid abuse prevention efforts. Additionally, we are promoting current programs administered by the CDC Injury Center such as Childhood Adverse Experiences (ACEs) that are well positioned to inform and advance opioid abuse prevention efforts.  

 

If you know of current federal programs that could be expanded to support opioid abuse and misuse prevention efforts, please email Safe States Director of Government Relations, Paul Bonta at Paul.Bonta@safestates.org, with information about the program and its role in addressing the opioid epidemic.

Safe States will continue to keep you abreast of new developments as Congress seeks opportunities to strengthen support for opioid abuse prevention activities. 


October 18, 2017

Updates from Safe States

Slow but Steady Progress

Uncertainty with Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 funding levels for most government agencies remains. However, funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Injury Center is likely to remain intact and be spared some of the large funding reductions sought by Congress. 

When Safe States learned that the FY 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bills had been scheduled for committee action, we quickly sent out an advocacy alert urging you to contact your members of Congress to educate them about the impact injury and violence prevention programs have in communities across the country. Thanks to your response, the injury and violence prevention community’s voice was heard and the bills approved by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees fully protect funding for programs administered by the Injury Center!

As a result, since both the House and Senate bills rejected any funding cuts to the Injury Center, it is highly likely that the final FY 2018 CDC budget will maintain support for all programs administered by the Injury Center. That certainly is a far cry from where we started with President Trump’s FY 2018 budget request to Congress earlier this year. His proposal would have eliminated funding for the Injury Control Research Centers (ICRC’s), elderly falls prevention, and a reduction in Core Violence and Injury Prevention Program (VIPP) funding. Yet, through our collective voice, we pushed back and successfully restored those potentially damaging cuts.

Last month, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) providing government agencies like the CDC the green light to continue operating at their current funding levels through Dec. 8th, the date the current CR expires. The CR became necessary when Congress was unable to pass the FY 2018 appropriation bills for government agencies prior to the start of the new fiscal year (Oct. 1).  The next few weeks in Congress will determine when the final CDC budget will be enacted. Congress will either pass all remaining FY 2018 appropriation bills prior to Dec. 8th or will pass a second short-term CR until the end of Dec. to allow time to finalize FY 2018 budget negotiations.

So, if you took action and responded to our advocacy alerts this summer, thank you. Your voice was heard! If you were unable this time, there are sure to be other opportunities in the future. In the meantime, collect and prepare your success stories so that you are ready for the next call to action.  


September 20, 2017

Updates from Safe States

Advocacy makes a difference!

In less than a year, the injury and violence prevention community successfully fought back against President Trump’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget request to Congress. The proposed budget contained several funding cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Injury Center including the outright elimination of funding for the Injury Control Research Centers (ICRC’s) and older adult falls programs. Safe States called on its members to educate policymakers about the value and impact injury and violence prevention programs have on communities across the country and you responded.

Thanks to your engagement in Safe States' advocacy efforts, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees each approved their respective FY 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill, which largely restore all Injury Center programs to their original FY 2017 funding levels! No cuts to the Core VIPP (Violence and Injury Prevention Program), no elimination of the ICRCs or the older adult falls prevention program. Why?  Because Safe States members responded to the call to educate policymakers and as a result, more policymakers understand the value of injury and violence prevention programs than ever before.

Since Congress just passed a continuing resolution (CR) to allow government agencies to continue operating at their current funding levels through Dec. 8th, additional action will be needed before finalizing CDC’s FY 2018 budget. However, as both the House and Senate have passed bills that essentially protect Injury Center programs from any funding cuts, the outcome will surely signal success for a small yet mighty community that historically has been one of the first to absorb cuts when reductions are made. This is a far cry from how we felt when President Trump first revealed his budget request this past April. But the past few months have shown that your voice matters and your voice can have an impact!

While it’s important to celebrate this success, it’s important to note that early signals point to another challenging environment in FY 2019. So, let’s continue our work in support of injury and violence prevention programs and please recruit your colleagues to advocate with you as we aim to establish a formidable voice of the injury and violence prevention community.

 


August 15, 2017

Update from Safe States

 

Safe States, in conjunction with the Injury and Violence Prevention Network, continues to work diligently to protect CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) funding from efforts to reduce federal spending as proposed in President Trump’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget request to Congress.

Collectively, over the last several months we have:

  • Organized a successful Hill day,

  • Sent letters in support of NCIPC to Congress including submission of official testimony to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees,

  • Met with select Appropriation Committee staff members,

  • Spearheaded a House and Senate “Dear Colleague” letter, and

  • Organized an all-member webinar to encourage Safe States members to engage in the legislative process.

While this may appear to be a comprehensive approach to promoting Safe States’ policy agenda, we still need your support. Our collective efforts are far more meaningful and impactful when constituents tell their elected officials that injury and violence prevention programs are in dire need of their active support.

There is still time to meet with and educate your members of Congress about the work you do and the impact it has in your community during the August recess. As a constituent, your voice carries far greater weight than that of Safe States. There is no better time to contact your members of Congress requesting a meeting to discuss the importance of continued support for injury and violence prevention programs.

What is the price of not taking action? Just look at President Trump’s budget request, which proposed to reduce funding for elderly falls and the Core State Violence Prevention Program (Core SVIPP), while eliminating the nation’s Injury Control Research Centers (ICRCs). Lawmakers must hear from their constituents that these proposed cuts will have real and negative impacts on those whom they represent. If lawmakers don’t receive that message, they will have little reason to support NCIPC programs when the time comes to vote on CDC’s FY 2018 budget.

When members of Congress return to Capitol Hill next month, they will be faced with several deadlines requiring legislative action, including the FY 2018 appropriations process ahead of the October 1 new fiscal year. With little movement on the FY 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill, which provides funding to the CDC, now is a prime time to ask your elected officials to provide support to programs administered by the NCIPC!

Safe States is here to make this process as seamless and easy as possible. If you would like assistance in scheduling meetings with your elected officials, please contact Paul Bonta at Paul.Bonta@safestates.org today!


July 19, 2017

Update from Safe States

 

August Recess - Opportunities for Members

 

 

As efforts to advance an Obamacare replacement bill in the Senate falter, Congress is working to jumpstart the long-stalled fiscal year (FY) 2018 appropriations process. This will require passage of 12 separate appropriation measures needed to fund government agencies starting on Oct. 1, 2017. However, prospects for passage of all 12 appropriation measures prior to the start of the new fiscal year also appear quite dim. To date, only three appropriation bills have been approved by the House Appropriations Committee and no bills have received committee consideration in the Senate. As a result, a continuing resolution (CR) will be needed to allow government agencies to continue operating at current levels come October.

Part of the lag in the process is due to delays by appropriators in releasing the funding allocations for each of the 12 bills, which were just released in early July. As expected, Congress has opted to increase overall defense spending largely at the expense of domestic spending.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is funded through the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill. This cut in domestic spending means that appropriators will have to cut roughly 2 percent, or $3 billion, from the bill compared to last year’s funding level. Unfortunately, such a cut will surely impact funding levels for agencies under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), such as CDC and others.

Already, FY 2018 Injury Center funding cuts have been under consideration as the President’s budget request to Congress proposed to eliminate the Injury Control Research Centers (ICRCs), while decreasing funds for elderly falls prevention, Core State Violence and Injury Prevention Program (Core VIPP), and opioid abuse prevention.

All that said, the delayed appropriations timeline presents a unique opportunity for Safe States and our members. August congressional recess provides an opportunity to push back and communicate with your elected officials on the impact reduced funding would have on injury and violence prevention programs in your community. Every August, members of Congress take time off to travel home and meet with their constituents to learn more about what’s on their minds. This is a great opportunity for individuals across the country to meet with their representatives while they’re back home to champion the issues and causes they care about.

This August, it’s critically important that you meet with your members of Congress to voice your concerns regarding cuts to federal violence and injury prevention programs. To help guide you in requesting a meeting, Safe States has scheduled an all-member webinar on July 20th at 3:00pm EDT. This webinar is intended to make this process as easy as possible. We hope you will join us. If you have any immediate questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Director of Government Relations, Paul Bonta at Paul.bonta@safestates.org.

 

 


June 16, 2017

Update from Safe States

 

If ever there was a time - this is it!

 

President Trump delivered his Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget proposal to Congress last month with significant spending reductions for a large swath of domestic programs, including a 20 percent funding reduction to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) budget. Thankfully, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have already decried the President’s budget request as a non-starter; however, the spending cuts included in the proposed budget may well present a blueprint for future efforts to reduce federal spending.

The spending reductions proposed for programs administered by the CDC’s Injury Center including elderly falls, the Core State Violence Prevention Program (Core SVIPP), and elimination of the Injury Control Research Centers (ICRCs) were not proposed because these programs are ineffective, rather they signal the new Administration’s lack of understanding regarding these programs and the impact they have on communities across the country.

As such, this represents an opportunity to educate policymakers about the inherent value these programs provide to communities in need. Policymakers who have newly arrived in Washington, DC have minimal experience in government and virtually no experience in public health approaches to injury and violence prevention. The good news? You, Safe States members, are best positioned to educate these new policymakers to help shape their understanding of how these programs work and the impact they have on individuals, families, and communities.

While engaging in such educational efforts does not require any special skill-set or training, it does require a bit of time and significant persistence. Safe States has been working to expand the cadre of its members that directly engage in policy education efforts and the President’s recent budget proposal is a clear sign that we must pursue a concerted effort to assure policymakers understand how investments in injury and violence prevention help protect our nation’s health.

Safe States will soon release guidance to support your engagement in educational efforts - particularly during the August recess while policymakers are back home meeting with their constituents. We will also begin recruiting for a first-ever class of Policy Fellows, with applications opening later this month. Yet, we are eager to support our members who want to engage in the process today and stand ready to provide direct assistance to you in your efforts.  For more information and assistance on how to engage please view the Safe States policy website or contact Safe States Director of Government Affairs, Paul Bonta at paul.bonta@safestates.org.  Don’t wait, the time to engage is now!


May 12, 2017

Update from Safe States

 

There’s bad news and good news coming from Washington.

First the good news: the President recently signed the FY 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which will fund government agencies for the remaining six months of the current Fiscal Year and provides an extra $50 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Injury Center to expand efforts to address the continued opioid epidemic. 

Now the bad news: the House mustered the votes necessary to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) that will repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and this vote includes a repeal of the Prevention and Public Health Fund (the Prevention Fund). 

So, while the Injury Center’s budget will experience continued growth in FY 2017 thanks in large part to the advocacy efforts led by Safe States and other partner organizations, CDC’s budget outlook is fraught with challenges should the Senate advance their own bill that replaces and repeals the old ACA bill and eliminates the Prevention Fund. Why the challenge?  The Prevention Fund provides roughly $1 billion, or 12% of CDC’s overall budget, to support a wide array of programs including the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant and childhood lead poisoning prevention. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario where CDC’s budget drops by 12% without some cuts sustained by the Injury Center.

To complicate things further, reports coming from the White House indicate that they are putting the final touches on a FY 2018 budget request that will seek massive funding reductions for a host of federal agencies including the CDC. While several congressional leaders have stated that such a budget request would be dead on arrival, it signals strong interest among White House officials to significantly reduce the size and scope of long-standing federal programs.

To prepare for such a gloomy outlook, Safe States has been working collaboratively with its members, the Injury and Violence Prevention Network, and other national partner organizations to promote the needs of the injury and violence prevention community. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) agreed to circulate “Dear Colleague” letters within their respective chambers urging that appropriators not reduce the Injury Centers budget in FY 2018. Additionally, Safe States organized a highly successful Hill day to allow state-based advocates to travel to Washington to educate members of their congressional delegations on the impact injury and violence prevention programs have on the communities they represent.

The best way to combat against any effort to reverse the gains we’ve achieved for the Injury Center these past few years is to repeatedly educate lawmakers about the importance of injury and violence prevention! You are best positioned to relay stories to lawmakers that showcase the impact injury and violence prevention programs have had on those in your community. If you have already supported our advocacy activities, thank you and please continue to engage! If you have not yet participated in these efforts, please join your colleagues and engage in the process! This is a time where we need all hands-on deck - the risks are too great to sit back and not partake in the effort.

If you have questions or need assistance in your outreach efforts, please contact Paul.Bonta@safestates.org.


April 17, 2017

Update from Safe States

 

Keep it up! Thank you to all members for taking action and responding to Safe States’ calls to contact your congressional members urging them to sign the Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) “Dear Colleague” letters to protect the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Injury Center from any cuts in the FY 2018 budget. While the Rep. Moore letter has officially closed, there is still time to build support for Sen. Schatz’s letter currently circulating in the Senate.

These letters are critically important and provide you the unique opportunity to not only exercise your voice in the legislative process, but perhaps more importantly, work to protect the Injury Center from efforts to slash federal spending across government agencies. With the dubious distinction of being one of the smallest centers at CDC, any cut to the Injury Center’s budget would have devastating consequences for injury and violence prevention programs that benefit from Injury Center support.

While Safe States is actively engaged in the legislative process, we need your help in strengthening our collective voice to ensure continued support for injury and violence prevention programs. The best way to do that is to contact your Senators TODAY to urge them to sign Sen. Schatz’s “Dear Colleague” letter in support of the CDC’s Injury Center. If you have already contacted your Senator’s office, please follow up and ask if your Senator has decided to sign the letter.

Safe States has a webpage to make this as easy for you as possible and our Director of Government Relations, Paul Bonta, is available to walk you through the process and provide staff contact information for your Senators’ office.  Please contact him at Paul.Bonta@safestates.org for assistance.

Now is the time to act in support of the CDC Injury Center!  The deadline to sign Sen. Schatz’s “Dear Colleague” letter is April 25.

 


March 14, 2017

Update from Safe States

 

In preparation for the start of the appropriations process in Congress, Safe States spent much of January and February working with our champions in Congress, Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) in the House and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) in the Senate, urging that they lend their support to the injury and violence prevention community by helping us protect the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s (NCIPC) Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget.  With repeal of the Prevention and Public Health Fund underway coupled with renewed focus on reduced federal spending, concerns abound regarding potential cuts to the CDC’s budget and the deleterious impact such cuts would have on the smaller centers at CDC such as NCIPC.

The good news?  Sen. Schatz and Rep. Moore have agreed to circulate a “Dear Colleague” in their respective chambers asking that their colleagues join them in urging appropriators to hold the NCIPC’s budget harmless in any effort to reduce federal spending in FY 2018!

 

These “Dear Colleague” letters circulating in the House and Senate provide members of Congress the opportunity to signal their support for injury and violence prevention programs by signing on as cosigners of the letter.  The more signers each letter receives, the more likely it will be that appropriators will head the requests communicated through these letters.

 

Yet, despite this good news, the only way this effort proves successful is if you as a voter and constituent reach out to members of your congressional delegation to urge that they sign the Rep. Moore and Sen. Schatz “Dear Colleague” letters.

 

What to do:

  1. Email your Representative and Senators’ offices to ask that they sign the Rep. Moore (Representatives only) or Sen. Schatz (Senators only) “Dear Colleague” letter aimed at protecting the CDC’s injury center funding from any cuts in the FY 2018 budget. If you need help locating the appropriate email address please contact Paul Bonta at Paul.Bonta@safestates.org for assistance.
  2. Be persistent.  If you have not received a response after 2 or 3 days, follow up on your original email and restate your request.  As a voter, you deserve to know where your members of Congress stand on funding for the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
  3. Once you receive a response, let Paul Bonta know at Paul.Bonta@safestates.org as he can follow up with Rep. Moore’s/Sen. Schatz’s office to ensure your Representative and/or Senators are on the letter.
  4. Pass this along to your professional colleagues and partners, friends and family!

Sample email for Safe States members:

 

I am contacting you today as a constituent from (city, state) to ask that you sign the Rep. Gwen Moore/Sen. Brian Schatz “Dear Colleague” letter urging level-funding for the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control in the FY 2018 budget.

 

Include a brief example or story about a program that benefits from NCIPC funding. Such as:

Funding from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control is important to our community because it allows UW Health, in Madison, WI, to screen all adults over age 65 years for their fall risk annually. To assure efficient and accurate screening, UW Health has adopted the CDC’s STEADI tools and embedded them into their Electronic Health Record. Older Adults who are identified at risk for a fall are referred to programs, such as Stepping On, within the health system and located within our community. While UW Health offers Stepping On in their facilities, they may also refer patients to partners such as the Fitchburg Senior Center, Mt. Zion Baptist Church or even another health system like St. Mary’s; whatever is most convenient for the patient. A community collaborative called the Fall Prevention Task Force from Safe Communities of Madison/Dane County coordinates the implementation of several CDC recommended fall prevention programs so UW Health, and any organization serving older adults, has the ability to better serve their community.  This program is providing an essential benefit to members of our community and ultimately works to keep them out of the hospital.  If Congress cuts the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s funding, this is the type of program that would be put at risk.

 

We only have until the end of March to secure signatures on these letters so please act today and follow up until you receive a response!  And please let Paul Bonta (Paul.Bonta@safestates.org) know if your elected official has agreed to sign on!

 

 


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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