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Engel Leads 77 Members in Urging More Funding for Maternal & Child Health Programs

Engel Leads 77 Members in Urging More Funding for Maternal & Child Health Programs

Congressman Eliot L. Engel (NY-16) recently joined Representatives Diana DeGette (CO-01), Susan Brooks (IN-05) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) in leading 77 Members of the House on a bipartisan letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urging more funding for the Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Block Grant, which supports health care programs for vulnerable communities in New York.

“The ongoing coronavirus outbreak, which has engulfed my district, has reduced access to critical health care programs for women and children,” said Rep. Engel. “The reality is that this impacts vulnerable communities, especially communities of color, far more than others due to economic and social barriers. Increasing funding for MCH Block Grants will bring more federal relief dollars back to New York, helping these communities access vital services.”

“The Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) thanks Rep. Engel for co-leading this effort to support greater resources for responding to maternal and child health needs in the wake of COVID-19.  Addressing the unique effects of the pandemic – both from the virus itself and the necessary social distancing measures that were enacted – on pregnant women, new mothers, children, including those with special health care needs, and their families have required an unprecedented level of creativity and innovation. Title V Maternal and Child Health programs have been responding since day one and will continue needing greater support to ensure essential services for these populations into the future,” said Jonathan Webb, CEO, Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs.

In the past two years, New York has received about $38 million annually in MCH Block Grants to support a wide range of programs, including home visiting services, school-based health centers, and treating neonatal abstinence syndrome.

As the nation’s coronavirus outbreak epicenter, New York has been forced to re-design its health care programs to ensure the continuity of services for vulnerable families while preventing exposure to this often deadly virus. The MCH Block Grant program gives states the flexibility to administer programs in a manner that that best reflects the health care needs and situations of local communities.

Congressman Engel has been a longtime advocate for improving maternal and child health. Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, he authored the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act, bipartisan legislation to help reduce deaths and serious injuries from pregnancy-related complications, which disproportionately affects minority communities. Congressman Engel successfully passed this legislation through the House Energy and Commerce Committee last November with bipartisan support and continues to push for a vote on the House floor. In 2018, he helped secure a historic 10-years of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), known as Child Health Plan Plus in New York, which provides health insurance to over 800,000 kids in the state. 

Congressman Engel’s letter urging funding for MCH block grants received the support of the following organizations: Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, , Association of Public Health Laboratories, March for Moms, March of Dimes, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, Nurse-Family Partnership, Parents as Teachers, Power to Deicide, Safe States Alliance, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and Trust for America’s Health