Ohio AAP Testifies in Support of Several Child Health Issues Before Ohio Senate Subcommittee

The Ohio Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (Ohio AAP), represented by James Duffee, MD, MPH, FAAP and Sean Gallagher, MD, testified before the Ohio Senate Finance and Medicaid Subcommittee this week on several child health topics in the state operating budget.

Dr. Duffee addressed the committee on Wednesday, May 17, 2017. He expressed the Chapter’s appreciation that a proposal to move the Bureau of Children with Medical Handicaps (BCMH) to Ohio Medicaid was removed from the House version of the bill, House Bill 49. Dr. Duffee also urged a standalone bill be introduced to improve the program but keep BCMH separate from Medicaid.

James Duffee, MD, MPH, FAAP testifying on May 17, 2017

In addition, Dr. Duffee expressed concern that the current version of House Bill 49 slashes tobacco cessation funding by nearly $6 million dollars in each fiscal year. Dr. Duffee strongly urged the Senate to restore the funding levels.

“ODH’s cessation funding is vital to protecting children from secondhand smoke and reducing maternal smoking, which is the lead factor in Ohio’s infant mortality rate,” said Dr. Duffee. “Ten percent of Ohio children reside in a home with at least one regular tobacco user; this rate ranks Ohio 49th in the nation.”

You may read Dr. Duffee’s entire testimony by clicking here. 

On Tuesday, May 16, Dr. Sean Gallagher addressed the same committee on Ohio’s low childhood immunization rates. The Ohio AAP is working on an amendment to House Bill 49 that would require school entry immunization forms to be signed by a physician or licensed health care provider. It would also standardize school data collection and reporting to help protect children at risk during outbreaks.

Sean Gallagher, MD, testifying on May 17, 2017

Dr. Gallagher, a second year pediatric resident at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, offered testimony on challenges Ohio faces and the importance of vaccination.

“Over the past few years, the Ohio General Assembly has enacted a number of pro-immunization bills that have improved Ohio’s immunization rates and helped to ensure children are protected from disease,” said Dr. Gallagher. “Despite these positive steps, we have seen outbreaks of immunization-preventable diseases including measles, mumps, whooping cough, and flu across Ohio in recent years. Not only have these outbreaks caused significant financial costs on Ohio communities and families, but they’ve caused the deaths of multiple children.  Studies have clearly demonstrated that outbreaks like these are linked to increasing instances of parents opting out of immunization requirements. These opt-outs put children at risk and undermine the public health of our state.”

You may read Dr. Gallagher’s entire testimony by clicking here. 

Contact Melissa Wervey Arnold via email or at (614) 846-6258 if you have any questions on these issues. Check Ohio AAP Today and our website, OhioAAP.org, for updates on this effort.



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