Many of JHF’s 2022 Priorities Highlighted in President Biden’s State of the Union

Photo Credit: The Executive Office of the President of the United States / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) Board and staff were pleased to see so many of our key focus areas mentioned in President Biden's 2022 State of the Union address. We are looking forward to many opportunities this year to advance policy priorities towards improving health outcomes.

Skilled Nursing Facility Reform

"…And as Wall Street firms take over more nursing homes, quality in those homes has gone down and costs have gone up. That ends on my watch. Medicare is going to set higher standards for nursing homes and make sure your loved ones get the care they deserve and expect..."

"The mention of skilled nursing facilities in a State of the Union address was historic. Though he only spoke a few words, President Biden sent a message that that his administration would do its part to boost nursing home quality, specifically calling out private equity-owned facilities, and calling on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to heighten its nursing home standards," says JHF COO and Chief Program Officer Nancy Zionts. "The verbal proclamation was backed up with a four-page fact sheet that went even further and focused on such critical root case issues for skilled nursing challenges: the failure to respect, reward and support the workforce. There is a caution though: we cannot regulate or punish our way out of the long-term care crisis. We must make thoughtful and long-term investments in the workforce and support the reliable providers of skilled nursing. The planting of a flag by this administration will hopefully engender serious efforts and much-needed funding to right this ship for the long haul."

Maternal Health

"…Preserve a woman's right to choose. And let's continue to advance maternal health care in America..."

Program Associate Hanifa Nakiryowa, MA, MID says, "Here at the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, we are amplifying maternal health rights through our nonprofit operating arm, the Women's Health Activist Movement Global by ensuring that voices are heard to address disparities in care. We work to promote the perinatal health workforce to ensure that women get the care they need, how they need it, by facilitating collaboration between health systems and community health workers. Our goal is to amplify the importance of service coordination and collaboration to ensure that mothers and their families have access to comprehensive wrap-around services to get the best maternal health outcomes."

Teen Mental Health

"…Let's take on mental health. Especially among our children, whose lives and education have been turned upside down…"

"President Biden's strategy for addressing our national mental health crisis, including the particular focus on youth mental health, highlights opportunities to not only strengthen the capacity of an under-resourced mental health system but to promote improved pathways to care and address the determinants of mental health by extending these investments into communities," says JHF Adolescent Behavioral Health Initiative Program Manager Deborah Murdoch, MPH. "JHF's work aims to support improved mental health infrastructure outlined in the State of the Union in Pennsylvania through partnerships with health systems, community-based organizations, school-based programs, advocacy groups, and youth advocates."

Opioid Crisis

"…Beat the opioid epidemic. There is so much we can do. Increase funding for prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery..."

JHF Chief Policy Officer Robert Ferguson, MPH says, "As part of President Biden's Unity Agenda, he said, 'First, beat the opioid epidemic.' The top priority of the PA Perinatal Quality Collaborative has been to improve the identification of and care for maternal Opioid Use Disorder and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome since it was launched in 2019 in response to accidental poisonings, including drug-related overdoses, being the top cause of maternal deaths in Pennsylvania in 2018. There's been a 55% increase in the percentage of birth hospitals using validated screening tools for substance use and a 30% increase in the percentage of birth hospitals with clinical pathways in place for maternal OUD."

Pandemic Preparedness

"…I know some are talking about "living with COVID-19". Tonight – I say that we will never just accept living with COVID-19. We will continue to combat the virus as we do other diseases. And because this is a virus that mutates and spreads, we will stay on guard…"

"The Biden Administration's COVID-19 Preparedness Plan includes an enhanced data collection and analysis system to identify new and emerging variants," says Ferguson. "Through JHF's national effort to create a National Patient Safety Board (NPSB), we have learned how data can be autonomously collected and visualized in health systems' Command Centers to deploy preventive resources. This type of infrastructure could be used to identify and respond to a range of public health priorities, including patient safety." 

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