SANTA CLARA COUNTY. Federal budget cuts put Californians’ health at risk

By the Mercury News & East Bay Times Editorial Boards

Congress does have a doctor in the House. Fifteen of them, to be exact. And another physician in the Senate. So there’s no excuse for the appalling attack on health care in the budget deal passed by Congress on Friday and signed by President Trump.

Congress did fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program for 10 years. That’s the good news for 200,000 kids in the Bay Area who rely on it to meet their basic health care needs. But Congress came up with the funding for CHIP by grabbing $1.35 billion from the Centers for Disease Control’s Prevention and Public Health Fund.

“Pitting prevention against care and treatment is really a false choice,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County’s public health officer. “Nobody knows for sure how much the CDC will cut from California and Bay Area county budgets. But once again the importance of prevention is being short-changed.”

Public health keeps people, not surprisingly, healthier and out of the hospital. It’s as simple as that. Controlling outbreaks before they become widespread is an essential component of basic health care strategy. The CDC’s prevention budget supports vaccine coverage, enables states and counties to respond to infectious outbreaks, such as Ebola or Zika, and fights chronic problems, including diabetes, cancer, stroke and heart disease.

This winter’s flu outbreak demonstrates the importance of  public health funding. About 40 percent of Californians fail to get flu shots every year, and more than 160 under the age of 65 have died during the current flu season.

The value of the CDC funding became obvious in January 2016, after Santa Clara University student Bradley Sheffield contracted meningitis from an unknown source. The outbreak put the entire campus at risk.

The university’s quick action and the support of local public health officials stopped the disease in its tracks by providing thousands of students with emergency vaccinations. Sheffield recovered and was able to return to classes in the spring.

“The only reason we were able to be so nimble in response was because of the federally funded vaccines allowing the state to keep an emergency supply on hand,” said Cody. “It was 48 hours from the time we heard about the outbreak to the first shot in the arm.”

It’s an open question with the reduction in funding whether the state will be able to maintain a supply of emergency vaccinations for various outbreaks.

The CDC prevention and public health funding also provides crucial support in the East Bay. In 2016, Alameda County received a $500,000 grant to fight chronic disease, another $204,000 for smoking prevention programs and $65,000 to support its immunization program.

Benjamin Franklin was actually talking about fire safety when he said an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It shouldn’t be too much to ask Congress to be smart enough to know how foolish it is to stop protecting Americans from devastating outbreaks and diseases.

NATIONAL. 4 Health Programs (Other Than CHIP) That Congress Has Left in Limbo. (Governing)

By Mattie Quinn

It’s been more than 100 days since Congress missed its deadline to pass a long-term spending bill for the federal government. That has left the fate of many federally-funded, state-administered programs up in the air.

Most of the uproar around Capitol Hill gridlock is aimed at the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). It has historically had bipartisan support and covers 9 million children and pregnant women who don’t have employer-based insurance but make too much money to qualify for Medicaid.

In the meantime, the federal government has repeatedly released unspent funds to help states keep CHIP running. The most recent money is supposed to keep the programs afloat through March, but federal health officials warned last week that some states could run out this month.

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DETROIT. Detroit targets hepatitis A outreach: "What we're trying to do is reach people where they are". (MichiganRadio)

By Sarah Cweik

etroit is trying to fight a hepatitis A outbreak in the face of limited resources and low national vaccine supplies.

Detroit health department director Dr. Joneigh Khaldun talked about the city’s efforts to fight an outbreak of the viral liver disease on a conference call with other local and national health leaders Tuesday.

Michigan is one of a handful of states experiencing hepatitis A outbreaks right now. Michigan’s is one of the largest, with 610 cases and 20 deaths reported since August 2016.

Some of the highest-risk populations, including drug users and people experiencing homelessness, are also some of the hardest to reach. Khaldun says that’s especially true in Detroit, where the homeless population often means people living in transient housing spread out across the city.

So to fight the outbreak, “What we’re doing is trying to reach people where they are,” Khaldun said. That includes working with shelters, health clinics and other partners to screen and vaccinate people. In recent weeks, the health department has also brought on emergency rooms at the city’s four major hospitals to do that work.

The city is also following up with people in close contact with known hepatitis A cases. They can be protected if they receive a vaccine or immunoglobulin within two weeks of exposure.

“For every case that comes through and is associated with a city of Detroit resident, my team immediately responds to identify who those contacts can be, so that we can quickly get that person that post-exposure prophylaxis,” Khaldun sasid.

But that kind of follow-up is a challenge for a department with just three epidemiologists and limited resources. Another challenge: limited national vaccine supplies.

Khaldun says the city is relying on other health agencies to help supplement its efforts. The department is also purchasing more doses from private vendors, but can only get so much at a time. “So we’ve literally been every day purchasing 400 [doses], our max,” she said.

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NATIONAL. Local Health Officials: GOP Tax Reform Jeopardizes Our Response to Infectious Disease Outbreaks. (Route50)

By Quinn Lisbon

Local health officials are sounding the alarm about the ways in which the GOP tax reform plan, which was passed by the U.S. House on Tuesday, might jeopardize our country’s response to outbreaks of infectious disease—like the hepatitis A outbreaks happening at this very moment around the country.

The National Association of County and City Health Officials, which represents nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments, warned during a call on Tuesday with reporters that proposed tax cuts have the potential to result in the near elimination of the Prevention and Public Health Fund—a source of money that was created by the Affordable Care Act—due to automatic spending reductions triggered by the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010. Aside from making up 12 percent of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s total funding, the PPHF makes local infectious disease response possible in several crucial ways.  

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NATIONAL. Healthcare.done: ACA open enrollment comes to an end in 39 states (Politico Pulse)

By DAN DIAMOND (ddiamond@politico.com@ddiamond)

12/15/2017 10:00 AM EST

State, local public health officials sound alarms over House spending bill. The bill would slash the ACA's Prevention and Public Health Fund, which represents about 12 percent of the CDC's budget, by $6.35 billon over eight years.

That's sparked a furious response from the nation's largest public health groups — the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the Big Cities Health Coalition — who warn that immunization programs, anti-smoking campaigns and other key public efforts will be sacrificed.

“You are just trading off one part of the health safety net for another and it will cost you more in the end by disinvesting in programs that prevent people from getting sick in the first place,” NACCHO Interim Executive Director Laura Hanen said in a statement.

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CHICAGO. Efforts in Chicago help narrow disparity gap in breast cancer deaths of black, white women (The Chicago Tribune)

 

Every June, without fail, Diane Walker got a mammogram. Cancer ran in her family, she said. Even her mother had it. Determined not to be next, she went year after year. She tested negative, year after year.

But in 2003, freshly retired, Walker and her husband went on a traveling spree. Walker went to the Bahamas, Bowling Green, Ky., back to her hometown of Waycross, Ga. So caught up relishing her retirement, she said, she went everywhere, except to her doctor’s office....

In the early 1980s, black and white women with breast cancer in Chicago died at roughly the same rate. Thanks to improvements in detection and treatment in the 1990s, the mortality rate for white women fell sharply — but it stayed about the same for black women. Between 2005 and 2007, the death rate for black Chicago women with breast cancer was 62 percent higher on average than for white women, according to a report by the Sinai Urban Health Institute in Chicago. From 1999 to 2005 in Chicago, an average of 90 more black women died of breast cancer than white women annually, according to a local task force.

Experts attributed the troubling trend — the widest breast cancer mortality gap of any major city in the nation — to a number of causes, key among them a lack of access to quality mammography and less access to quality treatment once diagnosed.

But in the past 10 years, partnerships between the city and groups like the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force, founded in 2007, were created to reduce these disparities. Chicago now leads the nation in reducing the disparity in deaths among black women, said Anne Marie Murphy, the task force’s executive director — down from that high of 62 percent to 39 percent between 2011 and 2013, the most current period for which data are available.

“When we started, Chicago had disparity in breast cancer mortality that was higher than (the national) average,” said Murphy, who holds a doctorate in molecular genetics. “And though women biologically haven’t changed in that nine years, the system has.”

Now, Murphy said, Chicago is addressing the disparity with increased funding for quality mammograms, enhanced education and outreach programs, and other supportive services. This year, the city Department of Public Health invested $700,000 to increase breast health services for populations that have faced difficulties accessing quality care.

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BALTIMORE. Public Officials of the Year: Leana Wen, Health Commissioner, Baltimore

By Mattie Quinn

Leana Wen never had her sights set on public office. She was happy working as an emergency room doctor and lecturer in medicine in Washington, D.C. And when the position of Baltimore health commissioner came open, in 2014, she was only 31 years old. But a widely respected former commissioner urged her to apply for his old job, and she decided to go for it. 

There was no way Wen could have imagined what she was about to get into. Just a couple of months after she moved into her new post in Baltimore, riots erupted in the city following the death of Freddie Gray, an unarmed black man, in police custody. Wen leveraged the unrest to start a conversation about police brutality and poverty as public health issues. “If we care about our children and their education,” she said, “we should also care about lead poisoning in their homes. If we care about public safety, we should also address mental health and substance addiction and the huge unmet need there.”

Born in Shanghai to a family of Chinese dissidents, Wen emigrated to the U.S. when she was eight and grew up in Compton, south of downtown Los Angeles. She graduated college at 18 -- summa cum laude from California State University -- and then went on to become a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, held a clinical fellowship at Harvard, and wrote a book called When Doctors Don’t Listen.

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NATIONAL. President Trump’s Says He Wants to Stop the Opioid Crisis. His Actions Don’t Match (TIME)

By Dr. Mary T. Bassett, Dr. Julie Morita and Dr. Barbara Ferrer 

Dr. Mary T. Bassett is the Commissioner of Health for New York City, a position she assumed in February 2014. With more than 30 years of experience in public health, Dr. Bassett has dedicated her career to advancing health equity.

Dr. Julie Morita was appointed as commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) in early 2015; under Dr. Morita’s leadership, CDPH developed and launched Healthy Chicago 2.0, a four-year plan to assure health equity by addressing the social determinants of health.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer leads the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health which protects and promotes health and prevents disease among L.A. County’s more than 10 million residents. Dr. Ferrer has over three decades of experience as a philanthropic strategist, public health director, researcher, and community advocate.

President Trump’s declaration of opioids as a public health emergency left jurisdictions across the country – including New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago, the cities and county we serve as health commissioners and director – scrambling to understand the actual impact that this legal action will have on our response to an alarming increase in drug overdose deaths. In our cities, 2,650 people died last year of a drug overdose, the largest number on record.

Given the public health emergency designation, answers to three basic questions will determine the significance of this action: How much funding for public health responses will states and cities actually be able to access to support a long-term response to this deadly epidemic; how those dollars can be used; and for how long new funds will be available.

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SAN FRANCISCO. The Intersection of Black Lives Matter and Public Health

Watch a new video created by the San Francisco Department of Public Health about how health connects to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Public health professionals have seen disparities in health outcomes along racial and ethnic lines for decades. Data point to disparities in life expectancy, rates of new HIV diagnoses, rates of viral suppression for those who are HIV positive, rates of emergency room visits due to asthma or heart disease, among others. With the Black Lives Matter movement elevating the discussion on disparities to a national dialogue, we asked public health professionals how they can use that momentum to inform their work. Take a listen to public health and social justice professionals from the Bay Area talk about how different sectors such as the economy, transportation, housing, and food can work together and use the national conversation on disparities to address health outcomes. Featuring: -Jessica Brown, San Francisco Department of Public Health -Dr. Muntu Davis, Alameda County Health Department -Dr. Joy DeGruy, author of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome -Melissa Jones, Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative -Krystal Robinson Justice, Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative -Zachary Norris, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights -Veronica Shepard, San Francisco Department of Public Health

MARICOPA COUNTY. Feds cutting Tucson teen-pregnancy prevention funds. (The Arizona Daily Star)

By Stephanie Innes

Two programs to prevent teen pregnancy in Southern Arizona are in peril due to funding cuts by the Trump administration.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will pull grant funding for its Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, created by the Obama administration in 2010. The funding affects 81 sites, including sites in Tucson and Phoenix.

Officials with Child & Family Resources, a nonprofit Tucson social-service agency, are trying to figure out how to move forward after the recent and unexpected news that, come June, the organization will lose the final two years of a $7 million, five-year federal grant to prevent teenage pregnancy.

The lost money amounts to $2.8 million for evidence-based programs that have been reaching 3,000 Southern Arizona youths per year. Evidence-based refers to programs shown to improve measurable outcomes.

HHS emailed a statement to the Star that the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program has shown “very weak evidence of a positive impact” and is proving to be a “poor use of more than $800 million in taxpayer dollars” nationwide.

Federal officials also cited a recent report that sexually transmitted diseases are at record highs as further evidence that the program was ineffective.

HHS says future decisions regarding the program will be guided by science and a “firm commitment to giving all youth the information and skills they need to improve their prospects for optimal health outcomes.”

But grant administrators in Tucson and around the country say the programs have proven effective in continuing a national trend of reduced teen pregnancies.

 

Read more.

CHICAGO. From the Notebook: City Official Appears on D.C. Panel. (Chicago Tribune)

By Katherine Skiba,

Dr. Julie Morita, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, will appear Tuesday on a panel on Capitol Hill to talk about funding for public health programs.

Morita on Monday said more federal money is needed to detect and respond to outbreaks of illnesses such as influenza, mumps, measles, whooping cough, meningitis and the Zika virus.

She worries that if insurance coverage for so-called essential health benefits is eliminated, fewer people will obtain vaccines and be screened for diseases such as breast and colon cancer. Such steps prevent disease or allow for early detection, Morita said.

A flyer for the panel discussion says just as with the nation’s roads and bridges, its public health infrastructure “remains antiquated and in need of modernization.”

Count her among opponents of a GOP effort in the Senate to dismantle Obamacare, which she said led to about 300,000 more Chicagoans obtaining health insurance. A recent study showed just over 9 percent of city residents are not insured, which she called a record low. 

The event is sponsored by the Congressional Public Health Caucus, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers including U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Evanston Democrat.

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NATIONAL. Republicans Are Remarkably Good At Uniting Opposition Against Themselves (The New York Times)

By VIKAS BAJAJ and STUART A. THOMPSON SEPT. 25, 2017

Despite the likely demise of the latest Republican health care bill, it achieved one stunning feat: it united patient advocacy groups and most of the health care industry in opposition to it.

Four Republican senators have declared their opposition to the bill, one more than is needed to defeat it. Some of them were no doubt swayed by the size and diversity of groups that quickly stood up to oppose the legislation. Hospitals joined ranks with insurance companies, while insurers banded together with patient groups like the AARP. The legislation sponsored by senators Lindsay Graham, Bill Cassidy, Dean Heller and Ron Johnson was so objectionable that these disparate groups found common cause in opposing the bill.

Below, we list those we’ve been able to identify as for and against the bill. Conservative religious and anti-abortion groups favored the bill because it prevented people on Medicaid from using their insurance at Planned Parenthood clinics and prevented health care plans sold on the federal health care marketplace from covering abortion beyond existing limitations. This list is not complete, and we invite organizations that would like to be listed to contact us here.

ORGANIZATIONS

4SUPPORT

Christian Coalition of America

Family Research Council

National Right to Life

Susan B. Anthony List

Have we missed any? Let us know

110OPPOSE

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

AARP

Adult Congenital Heart Association

ALS Association

Alzheimer's Association

Alzheimer's Impact Movement

Academy of Nurtition and Dietetics

America's Essential Hospitals

America’s Health Insurance Plans

American Academy of Family Physicians

American Academy of Pediatrics

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

American College of Emergency Physicians

American Psychological Association

American College of Physicians

American College of Preventive Medicine

American College of Rheumatology

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

American College of Surgeons

American Diabetes Association

American Foundation for the Blind

American Health Care Association

American Heart Association

American Hospital Association

American Liver Foundation

American Lung Association

American Medical Association

American Nurses Association

American Occupational Therapy Association

Academy on Violence and Abuse

American Osteopathic Association

American Psychiatric Association

American Public Health Association

American Society for Addiction Medicine

American Society for Radiation Oncology

American Society of Clinical Oncology

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Amputee Coalition

Arthritis Foundation

Association for Community Affiliated Plans

Association of American Medical Colleges

Association of Oncology Social Work

Association of Public Health Associations

Association of University Centers on Disabilities

Autism Society

Autism Speaks

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Big Cities Health Coalition

Read more.

NATIONAL. Here’s a list of medical groups opposing the Cassidy-Graham health-care bill (The Washington Post)

By Christopher Ingraham September 22

The Senate is having yet another go at repealing Obamacare, this time via legislation known as the Cassidy-Graham proposal. The bill was on life support Friday after Sen. John McCain signaled he would oppose the bill, lengthening the already long odds for its passage.

Among other things, the bill would remove protections for preexisting conditions, make deep cuts to Medicaid and end the Affordable Care Act's tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies.

The net result, according to a Brookings Institution analysis released Friday? Thirty-two million more people uninsured by 2027, relative to the current baseline...

This list is almost certainly incomplete, given the huge universe of advocacy groups focusing their efforts on conditions that sometimes affect only small numbers of people. But it gives a sense of the breadth and depth of the medical community's opposition to Republicans' latest attempt to repeal Obamacare.

Read more.

NATIONAL. Doctors, public health workers, patient advocates — even insurers — oppose latest ACA repeal (Science Blogs)

By Kim Krisberg

Senate Republicans are again trying to ram through an Affordable Care Act replacement that threatens the health and well-being of millions of Americans. It’s shameful. But don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at what people who actually work in health care are saying about the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill.

In this interview, Sen. Bill Cassidy insists that his bill would protect people with pre-existing conditions. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association disagrees. (Cassidy also says in that same interview that his bill would work through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which he said has been reauthorized. That’s totally false — CHIP has not been reauthorized and its funding expires Sept. 30.) But back to pre-existing conditions — here’s what Blue Cross Blue Shield had to say:

Although we support providing states with greater flexibility in shaping health care options for their residents, we share the significant concerns of many health care organizations about the proposed Graham-Cassidy bill. The bill contains provisions that would allow states to waive key consumer protections, as well as undermine safeguards for those with pre-existing medical conditions. The legislation reduces funding for many states significantly and would increase uncertainty in the marketplace, making coverage more expensive and jeopardizing Americans’ choice of health plans...

And let’s not forget public health. The ACA’s Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) has become an absolutely critical source of funding for the nation’s public health agencies. Cassidy’s bill would eliminate that fund. Here’s what the Big Cities Health Coalition, a forum for the country’s largest metropolitan health departments, had to say about the fund’s potential elimination:

Among the programs at risk at the CDC are the 317 Immunization Program, Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Grants, the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, and a host of chronic disease programs. The PPHF provides vital resources to governmental public health at all levels, and its elimination will further erode our fragile health system.

Eliminating public health programs that are now funded by the ACA would seriously undermine the ability of cities and counties to protect and promote health. The loss of hundreds of millions of dollars would hamper efforts to respond to food borne illness outbreaks, prevent emerging infectious diseases like Ebola and Zika, and respond to natural disasters like Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.

And in a letter to senators from the American Public Health Association, Executive Director Georges Benjamin writes:

The Graham-Cassidy plan would also eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund, the first and only mandatory funding stream specifically dedicated to public health and prevention activities. The fund has already provided more than $6 billion to support a variety of public health activities in every state including tracking and preventing infectious diseases like the Ebola and Zika viruses, community and clinical prevention programs, preventing childhood lead poisoning and expanding access to childhood immunizations. Eliminating the fund would devastate the budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The fund currently makes up 12 percent of CDC’s budget and eliminating this funding stream would force Congress to replace the funding through the regular appropriations process where resources for nondefense discretionary programs are already too low.

Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson is a threat to America’s health. If you’d like to voice your opinion, the American Public Health Association has an easy-to-use template to help you reach your representatives in Congress. For more information on the ACA replacement, NPR has a fantastic explainer.

Kim Krisberg is a freelance public health writer living in Austin, Texas, and has been writing about public health for 15 years. Follow me on Twitter — @kkrisberg.

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Coalition Members Featured at Drexel University Urban Health Symposium, “Reimagining Health in Cities: From Local to Global"

On Sept. 7 and 8, 2017, the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative hosted the second Urban Health Symposium, “Reimagining Health in Cities: From Local to Global.” The event — which was held at the Dornsife School of Public Health — drew around 300 researchers, practitioners and policymakers from a variety of organizations and educational institutions. The Symposium featured two jam-packed days of inspiring speakers, poster presentations, and global networking opportunities. 

Highlights included a lively session with U.S. health leaders; an innovative session on novel uses of data; and a keynote address from Mindy Fullilove, MD, Professor at the Parsons School of Design, The New School. 

In addition to the informative and insightful sessions, the Symposium also featured over 60 posters, covering a broad range of research topics related to urban health. Selected posters were displayed for five categories: novel urban health research methods; built environment and climate change; health disparities and special populations; program and policies to improve health in cities; and addressing urban challenges, health behaviors and mental health. Thank you to all of our poster presenters and attendees! 

If you missed a session, or perhaps you’d like to re-live the Urban Health Symposium, check out our YouTube playlist to watch the sessions.

SAN DIEGO. California Today: A Deadly Outbreak Stalks San Diego. (The New York TImes)

By Mike McPhate

In a typical year, San Diego County might see a few dozen cases of hepatitis A.

So far this year? More than 400, with 15 people now killed by the liver disease.

“This is an outbreak like none other that we’ve ever had,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the region’s public health officer. Dr. Wooten said the response has been complicated by the infection’s nebulous spread.

Whereas past outbreaks have commonly been traced to a single food source, allowing the threat to be swiftly contained, this one is passing person to person. San Diego’s homeless population has been hit hardest by the virus, which stalks its victims more readily in areas of poor sanitation.

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MINNEAPOLIS. White House cuts to federal grants endanger sex education for teens (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

By Judy Keen

Founded 46 years ago by faith leaders, Annex Teen Clinic provided sexual health services to 1,782 youth in 2016. It takes its message to public schools, contributing to a dramatic drop in Hennepin County’s teen birthrate. Annex installs health mentors in some schools to work one-on-one with students and provides training for teachers and parents, in addition to its clinical services.

Now some of the clinic’s programs and jobs, and other Hennepin County efforts to prevent teen pregnancy, are at risk. President Donald Trump’s administration in July announced an abrupt end — two years early — to what were supposed to be five-year grants specifically aimed at preventing teen pregnancy.

In all, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department notified 81 programs in 31 states and the District of Columbia that $214 million in funding will end June 30, 2018, instead of in 2020.

Officials here and across the country are fighting to save the grants, but worry that the Republican-controlled Congress will not restore funding. Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat said he’ll urge the county to fill the gap if its appeal fails...

Efforts to reverse the grants’ demise have spread across the country. Health officials from 20 U.S. cities have written to HHS Secretary Tom Price to denounce the grants’ elimination. Minnesota Reps. Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum and Tim Walz are among 148 House Democrats who sent a July 25 letter to Price demanding an explanation within 45 days for the decision, which came just three months after Congress voted to provide full funding for the latest grants.

“At a time when young people are most in need of information and education to protect their sexual and reproductive health, this administration is denying evidence and science,” the legislators wrote.

Read more. 

NATIONAL. Trump Administration Abruptly Cuts Funding to Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs. (NBCNEWS)

By Elizabeth Chuck

In the meantime, health commissioners from 20 large cities have written to Price, pleading for a change of heart.

"Cutting TPPP funding and shortening the project period will not only reverse historic gains made in the U.S. in reducing teen pregnancy rates, but also make it difficult to truly understand what practices are most effective in our communities across the nation," the letter, from the Big Cities Health Coalition, read.

Senate Democrats wrote a letter, too, calling the move "short-sighted." They also praised the teen pregnancy prevention program as a "pioneering example of evidence-based policymaking."

"Despite these successes, HHS has apparently elected to eliminate the final two years of TPP Program grants without cause or a rationale for the termination," they wrote.''

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NATIONAL. Trump Administration Cuts Down Funding for Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs. (Christianity Daily)

by Jessica Lim

Federal funding for teen pregnancy prevention programs around the country was stripped last month by the Trump Administration. A five year-grant that was awarded to 81 organizations in the country has now been cut to three years.

Teen pregnancy rates in the United States has dropped continuously over the last two decades, going from 61.8 births per 1,000 females between the ages of 15 and 19 to 24.2 births per 1,000 teen females in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Though there is a steep decline in 2010 when the grant from the Department of Health and Human Service took effect, some argue that the grants may have influenced this trend, but are not the only reason.

“Some of that leaves you scratching your head wondering, why mess with success?” stated Bill Albert, chief innovation officer at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

The loss of funding for these programs has pushed health commissioners that are a part of the Big Cities Health Coalition to write a letter to the Secretary of the Depart of Health and Human Services, Thomas Price, which stated that “cutting TPPP funding and shortening the project period will not only reverse historic gains made in the U.S. in reducing teen pregnancy rates, but also make it difficult to truly understand what practices are most effective in our communities across the nation.”

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