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MNAAP Newsletter

Threats to Children’s Health Care Abound


Eric Dick headshot

By Eric Dick, MNAAP Lobbyist 

The program that provides care to millions of America’s infants, children, and adolescents is under siege, and the threats come from multiple directions.  From Washington, D.C. to St. Paul to the boardrooms of major insurers, coverage for pediatric patients is under constant risk.

As of this writing in mid-July, legislation under consideration in the U.S. Congress remains a moving target. Solid intelligence about what is being included or left out of proposals is rare, and reports suggest that many different versions of these bills remain in play.

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Member Profile: Claire Neely, MD, FAAP


ClaireNeely1. What do you like best about your role at ICSI?
I really appreciate the chance to work on difficult health care problems facing our state.  I believe the partnership of care delivery and health plans is vital to transforming our system to provide the care that our patients deserve.  Our work brings together health system leaders, practicing clinicians, patients and other stakeholders and provides the time and space to understand what is and isn’t working from all points of view, and consider actions to begin to close the gaps.

I also get to work with a great team at ICSI.  We have a staff of highly capable people, all driven to accomplish our mission of supporting the health system as it moves toward better care, smarter spending, healthier people and professional satisfaction for health care workers.

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Disaster Preparedness: Planning for the Unimaginable

PaulaKocken2By Paula Kocken, MD, FAAP

It seems that there are disasters happening every day and everywhere. Some occur very far away from us and others seem to be at our doorsteps. The AAP, recognizing the increase in disasters, has encouraged each state chapter to ask for pediatricians knowledgeable and interested in disaster preparedness to champion the efforts in their state to improve preparedness.  Dr. Kiragu asked if I could accept the challenge of improving the awareness of information and programs about disaster preparedness and move forward Minnesota’s pediatricians in their ability to respond to disasters.

I was very pleased to be asked to help Minnesota and the AAP in this complex and challenging topic. I have been working with disaster preparedness for over the past 15 years through many venues.  Beyond being a pediatric emergency medicine physician based at Children’s of Minnesota, I took additional training in the hospital response to disasters with the U.S. army.  As the medical director of Minnesota’s Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC), I have been working on “all hazards” readiness for pediatric disaster preparedness for EMS providers and emergency departments. I also participate with the MN Department of Health Advisory Committee for emergencies.

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No Hit Zone at the U of M Masonic Children’s Hospital


By Rebecca E. Foell, MSW, LICSW, and Nancy S. Harper, MD, FAAP

In 2016, The University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital launched the first No Hit Zone in the state of Minnesota. A No Hit Zone is an environment in which no adult shall hit a child, no adult shall hit another adult, no child shall hit an adult, and no child shall hit another child. The purpose of the No Hit Zone is to create a safe and healthy environment for patients, families, visitors, and staff as well as to provide support, education, and resources surrounding effective discipline.

Definition and Prevalence
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 2006 defined corporal punishment or physical punishment to include hitting with a hand or object as well as shaking, throwing, scratching, biting, kicking, and burning of children with a call for countries to enact legislation prohibiting violence against children as a form of discipline.

To date, 52 countries have banned physical punishment of children starting with Sweden in 1979. The United States has not yet banned corporal punishment. In fact, 19 states in America still allow corporal punishment in schools, but there appears to be a general shift in the use of corporal punishment in the United States. According to one study, the percentage of mothers reporting that they would hit or spank their kindergarten-age child in response to a child’s misbehavior declined by 20 to 26 percentage points across all income levels between 1988 and 2011. Likewise, the percentage of mothers reporting that they spanked their child in the past week declined by 26 to 40 percentage points. These declines emerged at all income levels.

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AAP Legislative Conference 2017


nusheen ameenudinBy Nusheen Ameenuddin, MD, MPH, FAAP

“Hope is not a strategy…We will never, ever, ever stop advocating for kids!” said Mark Del Monte, senior vice president of advocacy and external affairs at AAP.

Those words energized the over 220 pediatricians who participated in the April 2017 AAP Legislative Conference in D.C and kicked off an intense, invigorating three days of nonstop advocacy training and application.

Now in its 26th year, with nearly double the prior year’s attendance plus a sizeable waiting list, this conference combined informative briefings, a Congressional staff simulation, skill-building workshops and culminated in actual meetings with attendees’ members of Congress or staff, followed by a group debriefing session.

As a first time #AAPLegCon attendee, who had also just participated in my first Minnesota Peds’ Day at the Capitol in March, I couldn’t wait to combine what I had learned about state-level advocacy with national work. Both events focused on protecting access to care for children, with Leg Con aiming for reauthorization of CHIP and ensuring that Medicaid remained strong, uncut and uncapped. At the state level, we also prepared to discuss access to mental health services and health equity.

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