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MNAAP Newsletter

When Your Legislator is on the Other Side of the Aisle

MikeSeversonBy Mike Severson, MD, FAAP

Registering for this year’s Pediatricians’ Day at the Capitol, set for March 21, generated a reflection on my 20 plus years of advocacy.

I have always enjoyed Peds’ Day but recall early on the anxiety that visiting with my legislator brought. Visiting an environment daunting in scope and history, coupled with a frenetic urgency by seemingly experienced participants can leave one feeling a bit inadequate. Then, of course, facing the reality of scheduled meetings with legislators and whether I’d be up to the task generated uneasiness in those early days.

What I came to realize is that addressing the challenge of these encounters is pretty easy for pediatricians. If you think about it, these brief visits are a lot like the office visits we perform multiple times each day. We have a very brief amount of time to develop a sense of trust and rapport to deliver specific information about topics we know well. Remember, the legislator has been elected to represent you and hear your opinion.

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Open Your Eyes: MDH Releases New Vision Screening Guidelines

MikeSeversonBy Michael Severson, MD, FAAP; Susan Schloff, MD, FAAP; Faith Kidder, APRN, CPNP, MS, PHN, Minnesota Department of Health

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recently updated its vision screening guidelines and best practices in a succinct, easy-to-access document for providers who do not have the time nor the need to scan a procedure manual.

Developed by a cross section of screening entities and professional organizations, including Dr. Mike Severson representing the Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the document provides at-a-glance information about recommended vision screening procedures for children post newborn through age 20.

In Minnesota, the number of kids who receive vision screening is above the national average. Still, many kids pass when they need further testing. The new guidelines direct practices, schools and early childhood programs to use correct methods to ensure accurate, reliable results.

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Sustaining Minnesota’s Pediatric Workforce

In St. Cloud, pediatricians are flown in on a regular basis to help staff the local PICU. In Mankato, about one quarter of hospitalists are residents of Wisconsin or communities outside the city. Locum tenens are plugged in at hospitals and clinics all over the state.

Recruiting and retaining full-time primary care providers at various stages of their careers isn’t easy, especially in rural Minnesota. And the problem could get worse in the coming years.

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Have You Heard? MN has Updated its EHDI Guidelines

By Michael Severson, MD, FAAP, pediatrician and EHDI Advisory Board Member; Faith Kidder, CPNP, Child and Teen Checkups at the Minnesota Department of Health, and Cara Weston, Newborn & Child Follow Up Unit at the Minnesota Department of Health

Hearing screeners in Minnesota have a valuable new resource in the Guidelines for Hearing Screening after the Newborn Period to Kindergarten Age, recently approved by the Minnesota Newborn Hearing Screening Advisory Committee.

The new guidelines provide Minnesota-specific information and resources, including details on screening equipment, protocols, and pass/refer criteria, as well as Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C and Part B referral and evaluation. They also clarify documentation and reporting requirements.

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