New Jersey State 2012 Priorities
The Advocacy Network is made up of volunteers and staff who promote the March of Dimes mission agenda by contacting the governor and state legislators in response to Chapter action alerts. This year's issues and priorities include those described above.
The March of Dimes New Jersey Chapter and volunteers met with New Jersey legislators for the 2012 Lobby Day on Thursday, March 8th, where staff and volunteers sought to positively impact maternal/child health policies and raise awareness of March of Dimes issues.
If you wish to learn more about the issues below and how to make a difference for the March of Dimes with New Jersey legislators, please contact Sara Lewis at 732-952-9026.
March of Dimes Recommendation: SJR 36
The March of Dimes supports the designation of June 2012 as “Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Awareness Month” to help raise awareness and educate families and health professionals about the importance of screening and treatment for infants with CAH.
What is CAH?
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) is a family of inherited disorders affecting the adrenal glands. The most common form is 21-hydroxylase deficiency (21-OHD), which is inherited in severe or mild forms. The severe form, called Classical CAH, is usually detected in the newborn period or in early childhood. The milder form, called Non-classical CAH (NCAH), may cause symptoms at anytime from infancy through adulthood. NCAH is a much more common disorder than Classical CAH. Fortunately, CAH can be managed with medication and, with adequate care, affected individuals go on to live normal lives.
Since New Jersey began screening newborns for CAH in 2001, almost 100 babies have been confirmed to have either the classical version of this disease or a disease variant.
March of Dimes Recommendation: SR 41
The March of Dimes urges the Department of Health and Senior Services when funding is available to implement a public information campaign about the importance of consuming folic acid during a woman’s childbearing years and pregnancy to help prevent neural tube and other birth defects. Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps a baby’s neural tube to grow healthy during pregnancy. The neural tube will become a baby’s brain and spinal cord. But if the neural tube doesn’t close the way it should, it can cause a very serious birth defect called a neural tube defect (NTD).
Folic acid can help prevent neural tube defects.
- More than 80 percent of women ages 18-45 have heard or read something about folic acid in 2008, yet only 11 percent of women know it should be taken daily before pregnancy to reduce the risk of birth defects.
- Nearly 40 percent of women of childbearing age report taking folic acid or a multivitamin containing folic acid daily in 2008.
SUPPORT THE NEW JERSEY HEALTH BENEFIT EXCHANGE ACT
S. 1319 / A. 2171
It has been a long-standing March of Dimes position that every woman of childbearing age, infant and child should have access to comprehensive and affordable health insurance. Health insurance status plays a key role in access to maternity care for pregnant women and can determine whether a child receives health services when they are needed. The New Jersey Health Benefit Exchange Act is an important tool that can help address health insurance needs of women of child bearing age, infants and children. The New Jersey chapter of the March of Dimes urges you to support this piece of legislation, and would ask that these specific areas of concern be addressed at subsequent implementation opportunities:
Particular areas of interest include:
- Governance structures
- Exchange boards and stakeholder groups should include individuals who represent the interests of pregnant women, children and infants.
- Special Enrollment periods and eligibility
- Pregnancy should be added as a ‘qualifying life event’ that permits women enrolled in catastrophic plans to switch to more comprehensive overage that includes maternity care.
- Open enrollment period/effective coverage dates
- Every effort should be made to maximize enrollment and avoid gaps in coverage.
- Network adequacy
- Provider networks must include sufficient access to women’s health providers and pediatric providers.
- Essential community providers
- Essential community providers must include those with expertise in maternal and child health.