Greetings AWHONN California Section Members,
My name is Tiffany Montgomery and I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself as your new Legislative Coordinator. I have been an active member of AWHONN since 2007 and served on the 2008 Annual Convention Hostess Committee shortly after joining the organization. This year I was selected as one of five AWHONN Emerging Leaders. In conjunction with the honor of being an Emerging Leader, I was appointed to the Public Policy Committee as part of the activities required of the leadership program. So it is fitting that I am also the new California Section Legislative Coordinator.
Participating in the legislative process takes only minimal time and absolutely no money (unless you choose to give to a worthy cause). AWHONN has provided an excellent resource for those nurses looking to become more involved in the political realm. There is information on the Legislative Action section of the AWHONN website to get you started. For your benefit, I have also attached AWHONN Senate and House letters that you may fax to your state Senators and local Representatives to let them know who you are and that you are available as a resource. (If you don't know who your representative is, go to the AWHONN Legislative Action Center and input your zip code).
I would like to invite those of you who will be attending the 2011 Annual Convention to attend the Legislative Forum on June 27, 2011 at 4:00 pm. I would love to see a large turn-out from our section.
I will do my best to keep you abreast of policies that are important to AWHONN and provide resources to let your congressmen know the organization's position on such issues. I am honored to serve as your Legislative Coordinator and look forward to working with you during my time in office.
Tiffany Montgomery, RNC-OB, EFM-C, MSN
AWHONN is offering one scholarship for a member to attend the Nurse in Washington Internship (NIWI) Program on February 26-28, 2012. NIWI provides nurses with an opportunity to learn how to influence health care through the legislative process. The scholarship will cover expenses such as travel to the conference in Washington DC, lodging, meals, and registration for the conference. The deadline for submitting an application is December 30, 2011 .
For more information, including the application, please visit the Health Policy and Legislation section of the AWHONN website .
Please share this information with colleagues and friends from your Section that might be interested.
ACOG District IX Wins Passage of Insurance Reform Bill in California
Congratulations to ACOG District IX (California) for leading the charge to ensure maternity services are covered in the State's individual insurance market and accelerate the implementation of this protection adopted in the federal healthcare reform overhaul.
Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 222 on October 6, thanks to the dedication and perseverance of District IX. Similar legislation made it all the way to the governor's desk four times since 2004, but was vetoed each time by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. As ACOG District IX Chair Dr. Jeanne Conry noted in her letter to Governor Brown urging support for the bill, "ACOG IX has continued to pursue this issue because access to maternity care should not be at the mercy of the free market system. Maternity care is basic preventive health care and should be covered under all plans."
See attached document below for the ACOG District IX's letter to the Governor.
Calif. Bill Would Mandate Maternity Coverage in Individual Health Plans
August 26, 2011 — Many individual health insurance policies in California no longer offer maternity benefits, but that could change next year if state lawmakers pass a bill (SB 155) to require maternity coverage in all individual plans, the Ventura County Star reports. Seven years ago, about 82% of health plans offered in the individual market included maternity coverage. That rate has fallen in California to 13% of policies. Federal law requires employer-sponsored group policies to include maternity coverage.
The legislation, proposed by state Sen. Noreen Evans (D), would require all individual policies to offer maternity benefits. In an analysis, the California Health Benefits Review Program estimated that the bill would extend coverage to about 8,574 pregnancies and affect the policies of 2.9 million California residents. The analysis also estimated that rates for individual policies would increase by 3.5%, or $7 each month, as a result of broader maternity coverage.
CQ HEALTHBEAT NEWS
April 5, 2011 – 3:58 p.m.
HHS Reviews Its Shutdown Plans as Spending Stalemate Drags On
By Jane Norman, CQ HealthBeat Associate Editor
As a stalemate over current-year spending continued Tuesday, Department of Health and Human Services officials said they’re looking over their operating plans in case of a government shutdown but disclosed few additional details.
At HHS, “we are hopeful that there will not be a shutdown,” said Chris Stenrud, a spokesman for the department. “Administration and Hill leaders agree that we want to reach an agreement on the budget.”
Stenrud said that every Cabinet agency has had a shutdown plan in place since 1980. “We are in the process of reviewing ours in cooperation with the Office of Management and Budget,” he said. “Final decisions on departmental activities in the event of a shutdown have not been reached yet.”
Congressional aides, speaking on background, said that it’s their understanding that agency officials are not supposed to discuss their shutdown plans as the negotiations continue and tension increases over a looming deadline. The latest short-term 2011 spending measure (PL 112-6) expires Friday. If a shutdown occurs, “essential services” would be maintained but all other federal government functions would stop.
Under questioning by Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius warned lawmakers at a Senate hearing last week that health research grants funneled through agencies such as the National Institutes of Health could be suspended in case of a shutdown, but she did not offer specifics.
President Obama met with congressional negotiators at the White House on Tuesday morning but no agreement was reached, and he rejected any further stopgap spending bills. Obama said another meeting involving Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, was expected Tuesday afternoon, without administration participation.
“If they can sort it out, then we’ve got more than enough to do,” said Obama. “If they can’t sort it out, then I want them back here tomorrow.”
Republicans have introduced a one-week measure and say it’s the administration that is to blame for the standoff over spending. Republicans have introduced a measure that would fund most of the government for a week. An exception, the Department of Defense, would be funded through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.
Sebelius said at the Senate hearing that officials also have reviewed what went on during the 1995 government shutdown. HHS operations were slowed down and stopped, and “it has a pretty widespread effect on health care delivery and human service availability throughout the country, because we do touch lives each and every day.”
FDA Says Pharmacies Can Still Compound Generic Makena
On February 3, the FDA approved KV Pharmaceutical's Makena, an injectable form of hydroxyprogesterone caproate, for women with a singleton pregnancy before 37 weeks' gestation who have had at least 1 spontaneous preterm birth. The company then announced that it would sell Makena for $1500 per injection — a price that was quickly branded as predatory, especially because many patients would need as many as 20 injections. Critics include the March of Dimes Foundation, several US senators, and medical societies such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
In response, the company announced plans to reduce the drug's price for needy patients.
Before Makena's approval, pharmacies across the country had legally compounded hydroxyprogesterone caproate injection because the FDA in this situation chose not to enforce federal law banning unapproved prescription drugs. Compounded versions of Makena have sold for $10 to $20 per injection.
In letters mailed last month, KV Pharmaceutical warned pharmacies that they should no longer compound a generic form of the drug. It contended that because the FDA had now approved Makena, the agency's past discretionary tolerance of pharmacy-compounded versions was over. Continuing to compound the drug, the letter stated, would break the law and possibly trigger FDA enforcement action.
The FDA said today that KV Pharmaceutical was incorrect in stating that the FDA will "no longer exercise discretionary enforcement" of drug laws regarding compounded versions of Makena.
"In order to support access to this important drug, at this time and under this unique situation," the agency stated, "FDA does not intend to take enforcement action against pharmacies that compound hydroxyprogesterone caproate based on a valid prescription for an individually identified patient unless the compounded products are unsafe, of substandard quality, or are not being compounded in accordance with appropriate standards for compounding sterile products."
Officials at KV Pharmaceutical were not available for comment.