Having trouble viewing this email? Click here
Washington DC Update 5/26/22
Work on the Hill is winding down this week heading into the Holiday. Both Houses of Congress recess for the Memorial Day district work period next week. There will be no Washington Update next week.

In case you missed it (ICYMI): Children ages 5-11 eligible for COVID Booster

From the Administration
Infant Formula: What does the Defense Production Act have to do with a formula crisis?
What in the world is the Defense Production Act (DPA)? Enacted in 1950 amidst concerns that growing post-Korean war demands for consumer goods might affect necessary defense manufacturing, the law gave broad powers to the President to force manufacturers to produce goods and supply services. Although created to ensure supply of goods and services for the national defense, DPA is also used for emergency preparedness, protect/restore infrastructure, and efforts to prevent/recover from acts of terrorism.

  • Ensure manufacturers have ingredients they need to produce formula and
  • Use Department of Defense commercial airplanes to import overseas infant formula that meets U.S. health and safety standards, so it can get to store shelves faster (”Operation Fly Formula”)

Following this invocation, Health and Human Services Secretary Becerra responded by outlining the priority determinations the agency will use to ensure that formula manufacturers swiftly obtain ingredients (eg. corn syrup and sugar) and consumer goods (eg. single-use products such as filters) needed for production.

CMS: Health Equity
Below are some health equity materials, activities, and resources shared in the Spring 2022 edition of Health Equity Quarterly by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of Minority Health. Note for Family-to-Family Health Information Centers (F2Fs): These might be of assistance in developing F2F Equity plans, as well as in work with Medicaid and other state agencies to develop equitable policies for all kids and families.

Health Equity Challenges and CMS Resources to Help Address Them – This infographic outlines various barriers to health equity and related challenges that populations often face and shares CMS resources that can help close the health equity gap.

Inventory of Resources for Standardized Demographic and Language Data Collection – This updated inventory provides resources on standardized data collection, which include standards, reports, guides, toolkits, and articles.

CMS Framework for Health Equity 2022–2023 - This Framework details CMS’s integrated, action-oriented approach to advance health equity among members of communities, providers, plans, and other organizations serving communities that are underserved or disadvantaged.

Black Health & Wellness (recording): Building a More Equitable Health Care System - In February 2022, CMS hosted a special live-streamed virtual roundtable discussion with CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to acknowledge Black History Month.

HHS: New Center on Social Media and Mental Wellness
Building on President Biden’s Unity Agenda priority to tackle our nation’s mental health crisis, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is announcing $2 million in funding to establish a national center of excellence (CoE) on social media and mental wellness. The purpose of the CoE will be to develop and disseminate information, guidance, and training on the impact—including benefits and risks—that social media use has on children and youth, especially the risks to their mental health. This CoE will also examine clinical and social interventions that can be used to mitigate the risks.

Comments: Accessible Medical Diagnostic Equipment
The U.S. Access Board currently has an open comment period through May 27, 2022, regarding the appropriate low-height of medical diagnostic equipment with transfer surfaces, including examination tables and chairs and diagnostic imaging medical equipment with tables, so that the equipment can be adjusted to accommodate the broadest range of users. As indicated in the published notice, the Board continues to seek information on low transfer heights for adjustable medical diagnostic equipment products that are currently on the market and any changes or innovations in their design and engineering that may have occurred since the Board issued its medical diagnostic equipment accessibility standards. 

In 2017, the Board published voluntary accessibility standards for medical diagnostic equipment. In these standards, the Board specified that the transfer surface of accessible diagnostic equipment used by patients in the supine, prone, side-lying, or seated position would have a specified high height of 25 inches, a low height of 17 to 19 inches, and 4 additional intermediate heights. The low-height provision was set as a range with a five-year sunset to allow the Board additional time to determine the appropriate low height dimension. The sunset period was recently extended, and the Board recently commissioned a statistical analysis to provide further insight into this issue. The study report is available on the Board's website. Comments can be submitted via email to mde@access-board.gov through May 27, 2022.

The Access Board is an independent federal agency that promotes equality for people with disabilities through leadership in accessible design and the development of accessibility guidelines and standards. The Board develops and maintains design criteria for the built environment, transit vehicles, information and communication technology, and medical diagnostic equipment under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and other laws. It also provides technical assistance and training on these requirements and on accessible design, and continues to enforce accessibility standards that apply to federally funded facilities under the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 (ABA).
Other Policy Related Resources of Interest
NHeLP Article of Interest: The Ongoing Racial Paradox of Medicaid
This article by the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) originally appeared in the May edition of the Journal of Health and Life Sciences Law, published by the American Health Law Association. 

NHeLP’s Jane Perkins and Sarah Somers review Medicaid’s history, from its birth during the civil rights era to the present day, including the significant changes wrought by the Affordable Care Act. Most notably, this includes the Medicaid expansion that has brought coverage for the first time to millions of adults, many of those people of color. They discuss the racism woven through its history and the ways in which the program has perpetuated racial inequity. Finally, they conclude by describing Medicaid’s potential to address systemic racism in health care, including innovations in care delivery and management, and full implementation of the expansion. Download the article HERE.

Child Trends Webinar: Reimagining Black Family and Child Well-Being in Research, Programming, and Public Policy
Initiatives to support Black children and families too often focus on what’s wrong. Child Trends want to shift the national conversation toward a more holistic understanding of Black families and communities that acknowledges their cultural assets. Panelists include research, policy, direct service, and advocate voices who will discuss how common perceptions of Black child and family well-being have influenced policies and programs to date and what an asset-based approach to research, policy, service, and advocacy could look like.

Dr. Mavis Sanders, Child Trends senior research scholar of Black children and families, will moderate a panel discussion between:
  • Anthony Smith, Executive Director of Cities United,
  • Leah Austin, President and CEO of the National Black Child Development Institute,
  • Siobhan Howard Davenport, President & CEO, Crittenton Services of Greater Washington,
  • Zakiya Sankara-Jabar, Racial Justice NOW!, and
  • Terrance Moore, President and CEO of the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022
2:00-3:30 pm EST
Register HERE.
Funding Opporitunity
RFP: Community Care Corps
Community Care Corps has released a 2022-2023 Request for Proposals (RFP) for innovative local models in which volunteers provide nonmedical assistance to family caregivers, older adults or adults with disabilities in order to maintain their independence. The application portal will be open for submission May 23, 2022-July 8, 2022 and will be accessible from this site during that time. 
An informational webinar will be hosted on June 3, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. CST/2:00 p.m. EST.

More information and informational webinar registration can be found HERE.

Thank you for subscribing to the Washington DC Update newsletter. Please feel free to contact the Family Voices Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Cara Coleman, with any questions. Past issues of the Update appear on the Family Voices website. If you wish to unsubscribe, you can do so via the "Unsubscribe" link below.

Family Voices is a national organization and grassroots network of families and friends of children and youth with special health care needs and disabilities that promotes partnership with families--including those of cultural, linguistic and geographic diversity--in order to improve healthcare services and policies for children.