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Rep. Kind Votes to Advance Public Health Programs

April 8, 2008
Press Release

In Recognition of Public Health Week, Legislation Promotes Early Detection of Disease, Needs of Children and Seniors

Washington, D.C. –– U.S. Rep. Ron Kind today joined a majority in the House to advance a number of public health programs in recognition of National Public Health Week (April 7-April 13). The purpose of National Public Health Week is to reflect on the importance of quality public health programs – from ensuring kids are vaccinated, to early detection of disease, to ensuring access to critical treatment programs.

“Public Health Week is an excellent time to examine new health issues facing the public – such as global climate change – as well as ways we can improve existing programs to better protect our citizens,” Rep. Kind said. “By emphasizing the early detection of disease and advancing the care of some of our most vulnerable – children and seniors – the bills we acted on today continue our ongoing efforts to improve public health as a whole.”

Included in the group of bills passed today was the Cytology Proficiency Improvement Act, which Rep. Kind cosponsored. This bill will increase the early detection of cervical cancer by requiring pathologists who read tests for the disease to complete continuing medical education on the latest research and best practices. The program is modeled after a similar quality standards program for reading mammograms. The American Cancer Society predicted 11,150 women in the U.S. would be diagnosed with cervical cancer last year and 3,670 women would die from the disease. Ensuring all cervical cancer tests are read correctly is one way to cut down on the number of deaths each year.

Other public health bills Rep. Kind voted to pass today include:

Early Hearing Detection & Intervention Act: Extends and expands to young children the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program, which identifies and helps newborns and infants with hearing loss. EHDI screens for hearing loss 93 percent of babies within one month of birth.

Emergency Medical Services for Children Act: Extends and makes improvements in the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) program, which is designed to improve emergency trauma and critical care for children. While there are more than 30 million child and teen visits annually to emergency rooms, many services are still designed for adults. Since the EMSC program was created 20 years ago, major improvements in emergency care for children have been realized and injury-related deaths have dropped by 40 percent.

Keeping Seniors Safe from Falls Act: Launches a comprehensive preventive care program to reduce the number and severity of falls by the elderly, including risk analysis, education, and research. Nationally, 42 percent of all nursing home admissions take place as a direct result of one or more injurious geriatric falls.

Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act: Helps schools deal with food allergies among their student population by developing a policy for schools on appropriate management and emergency plans for children with food allergies and anaphylaxis. The policy would be provided to schools within one year after enactment, and schools could voluntarily implement the policy.

Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act: Authorizes funding to educate parents and health care providers about newborn health screening, improve follow-up care for infants with an illness detected through newborn screening, and help states expand and improve their newborn screening programs.

Traumatic Brain Injury Act: Establishes state grants through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help patients with traumatic brain injury get treatment. TBI is the leading cause of death and disability among young Americans, and TBI survivors are returning home from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. The legislation also directs the CDC to create a reporting system to track the condition, and requires research to improve treatment.