Carolyn Mullen, ASTHO’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Relations, says it’s unlikely Congress will roll back one of President Biden’s vaccine mandates; Devon Page, a government affairs analyst at ASTHO, tells us how...
Carolyn Mullen, ASTHO’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Relations, says it’s unlikely Congress will roll back one of President Biden’s vaccine mandates; Devon Page, a government affairs analyst at ASTHO, tells us how states and territories can begin to improve transportation options for people who struggle to access medical care; Katie Lamansky, Health Program Manager for Get Healthy Idaho, says health equity zones require everyone to adjust their thinking; and ASTHO offers a training course of case investigators and contact tracers.
This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Monday, December 13th, 2021. I'm Robert Johnson.
Now, today's news from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
Some in Congress are taking aim at one of the Biden administration's vaccine mandates, but it's uncertain whether a bid to unwind the order will get to the president's desk.
Carolyn Mullen is ASTHO's senior vice president of government affairs and public relations.
So, the Senate recently approved that joint resolution nullifying President Biden's vaccine mandate for businesses over a hundred people. That resolution will move to the House where it faces an unlikely future.
President Biden said that he would veto the legislation, so most likely it won't move further. If the president does veto it, there would need to be two-thirds majority overturning it in both the House and the Senate—again, very unlikely.
So, we shouldn't worry too much about this joint resolution.
Also on Capitol Hill, lawmakers continue to debate the Build Back Better act. It includes several billion dollars to fund public health priorities, among them programs that would help address the social determinants of health.
In the meantime, Devon Page, a government affairs analyst at ASTHO, says there are steps members can take to improve transportation options for people who struggle to access medical care.
The expansion and modernization of any non-emergency medical transportation services would be a great place to start. Also, investing in programs that improve the accessibility and quality of public transportation. And also, with that, improving the conditions that enable active transportation—such as, you know, building better sidewalks and bike paths.
Also, telehealth offers a great opportunity to kind of address some of these issues, especially for rural communities who are, you know, 70 miles from a hospital. Telehealth provides a big solution there.
But I think most importantly is that our members work to maintain and establish multi-sectoral strategic partnerships, whether that be with hospitals, providers, government officials—local, state, or federal—patients and community organizations.
But that's—all of them getting together around the table is what I believe the only competent way to address this deeply complicated issue.
Page has written a new blog article about transportation access.
Read it using the link in the show notes.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has embraced health equity zones, launching two projects during the pandemic. Both will give communities a leading voice as they develop solutions to their public health challenges.
Katie Lamansky manages the project. She says it's a different approach that requires health department teams and partners to adjust their thinking.
We had to start by laying the foundation with this new model and really helping staff and even partners external to our agency to help understand the importance of moving upstream, of working on the social determinants of health, and really understanding what is our "why" behind this initiative as it is such a significant shift from the traditional public health mindset.
Lamansky shares more about Idaho's experience with health equity zones in a new episode of the Public Health Review podcast, coming soon everywhere you stream audio.
Finally this morning, contact tracing continues to be important as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.
ASTHO has an online training course for case investigators and contact tracers. The course was developed with the help of the National Coalition of STD Directors.
You can register for the training using the link in the show notes.
That'll do it for today's report.
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I'm Robert Johnson. You're listening to Public Health Review Morning Edition. Have a great day.