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Washington DC Update 10/13/21
What to say about Washington?
Infrastructure and Build Back Better

Negotiation continues.

This brief update is not meant to be flippant. The back and forth and round and round of last month continues with nothing more clear this week as to a way forward than last week. The goal is still passing both by October 31.

Debt Ceiling

Republicans agreed to delay the debt ceiling vote until December 3--the same date the continuing resolution expires for the federal budget.

How does all of this Impact CYSHCN? There is still time to share your story about how some of the proposals in Build Back Better, such as home & community-based services (HCBS) funding or paid medical leave, would directly impact you. Educate policymakers as to their importance and necessity in your life.
On to some other CYSHCN related policies, resources, webinars and more!
CYSHCN: Coverage, Affordability and Home & Community-Based Services (HCBS) Access

new KFF analysis examines key characteristics of children with special health care needs, the affordability and adequacy of their health coverage, and the implications for such children of potential new federal Medicaid money to assist families in caring for them. This issue brief explores insurance affordability and benefits for children covered by Medicaid/CHIP compared to those with private insurance only and provides context for ongoing policy discussions around additional investments in Medicaid HCBS for children with special health care needs. Key findings include: 

  • Medicaid/CHIP covers almost half of all U.S. children with special health care needs, though the share varies by state. These children are more likely to be low-income, a member of a racial or ethnic minority group, and younger than those children covered by private insurance alone.

  • Children with special health care needs covered by both Medicaid/CHIP and private insurance have the greatest health care needs, and children with Medicaid/CHIP only are more likely to have greater health needs compared to those with private insurance only.

  • While families of Medicaid/CHIP-only children with special health care needs are more likely to face financial difficulty, they find their health care more affordable than those with private insurance only due to Medicaid’s cost-sharing protections.

  • Even though children with special health care needs covered by Medicaid/CHIP-only have greater health care needs, they are more likely than those with private insurance alone to report that their benefits are always adequate to meet their needs, allow them to see needed providers, and meet their behavioral health needs, reflecting Medicaid’s robust benefits package.

HHS Strategic Plan

The draft 2022-2026 HHS Strategic plan is out and open for comment until November 7, 2021.

Update: Status of ARPA funds in your state!

As states face the economic and public health impacts of COVID-19, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provides significant funding for continued pandemic response and beginning the road to recovery, including $195.3 billion for states and the District of Columbia, referred to as the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds. These Funds must be obligated by December 31, 2024, and expended by December 31, 2026. Currently, states are in different stages of allocating this funding. This map and accompanying state profiles address the status of State Fiscal Recovery Fund allocations in states and state funding amounts and priorities, with a focus on health-related uses of the funding.

NHeLP: Addressing Barriers to Behavioral Health for Low-Income Youth

This flip chart contains various scenarios and barriers that low-income youth with behavioral health conditions might face when trying to access services, and includes suggested steps an advocate could take to work through those barriers. NOTE: This is not your average issue brief or report. It enables you to flow through scenarios and barriers for action and access!

Flu Season 2021-2022

This CDC Frequently Asked Questions webpage is a wealth of information and links to other resources to use with CYSHCN and families as Flu season descends upon us. This AAP link provides similar information.

The AAP also has a Flu Campaign Toolkit available, as well as a toolkit for Pediatricians and a conversation guide, to assist in promoting flu vaccination. The AAP has videos for families and caregivers of CYSHCN in English and Spanish on the importance of the flu vaccine.

Fact sheet or ginormous list of projects and programs?

This Health and Human Services fact sheet is a comprehensive list of how children’s mental and behavioral health is being addressed across multiple agencies within HHS.

Disability Employment Awareness Month

Check out all kinds of information, data, and resources in the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy website. Among the topics to navigate on the menu bar:

Of note, the September 2021 Disability Employment Statistics Ages 16 years and over:

Labor Force Participation Rate
  • People with disabilities: 22.36%
  • People without disabilities: 67.0%

Unemployment Rate
  • People with disabilities: 9.0%
  • People without disabilities: 4.4%

AHRQ Question Builder App in Spanish
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched a Spanish version of its QuestionBuilder app, which can help Latino patients prepare for their in-person or telehealth appointments. The HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) built QuestionBuilder en Español, which is being released during Hispanic Heritage Month and Health Literacy Month, to improve health care access and equity for Latinos.

The link to the Spanish version includes a video in Spanish and written materials in Spanish explaining how to use the app.
This resource could be great for families of CYSHCN whose primary language is Spanish--to help adult family members take care of their own health, increase health literacy, and better partner with the providers caring for their CYSHCN.

Webinars: Disability and Mental Health
An American Indian/ Alaska Native Perspective on mental Health, Disability, and Greater Understanding of Native Culture
October 28 at 12:00 noon MST
Register here and check out the links to previously recorded webinars in the Equity Diversity and Inclusion series by the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Training Center.

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.