Legislative Update 6/14/2021: Family Advocacy Day and Nebraska COVID-19 Relief Funding

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This is the legislative update for June 14, 2021. View all updates here.

The June 14, 2021 legislative update includes highlights from both federal and state legislatures.

Federal Updates

Family Advocacy Week with Children’s Hospital Association (CHA)

Family Advocacy Day (FAD) week is finally here! The week kicked off on Sunday night with a welcome address from Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE). It was an honor to have a Nebraska Senator welcome pediatric hospitals and patients from across the country to the event.

As part of Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day with Children’s Hospital Association (CHA), Children’s Hospital & Medical Center has the honor of hosting virtual Hill visits with the Nebraska delegation and the Cooper family.

Dathin and Bryelle Cooper are Children’s patients who were both born with medical complexities. Through the Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Week with the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA), the Cooper family will be discussing their health journey at Children’s, and why it is so critical for public and elected officials to invest in the future of patients like Dathin and Bryelle.

Learn more about the Cooper family and their journey.

Additionally there will be virtual get-to-know-you events throughout the week, as well as 1:1 virtual sessions with each of Nebraska’s congressional delegates to discuss the following public policy priorities:

Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act (S. 1544/ H.R. 3089)

The S. 1544/H.R. 3089 legislation seeks to streamline the Medicaid provider screening and enrollment process for children traveling across state lines to receive care.

Currently, Medicaid programs require out-of-state providers to be screened and enrolled in their program — even if they are already enrolled and in good standing with their home Medicaid program. This process is time-consuming and exhausts precious resources. By passing this bill, we would improve efficiency in delivering care to those children most in need.

Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME)

Every year, we ask Congress to secure funding for children’s hospitals who are committed to training the future pediatric workforce.

Today, children’s hospitals that receive CHGME funding — just 1% of all hospitals — train half of all pediatric residents. Current funding falls far behind adult-GME on a per-trainee basis. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, Congress secured $350 million in funding CHGME. Today, we are asking Congress to close the funding gap and offer $485 million.

Mental Health

Long-term and sustainable investments in the emotional, mental, and behavioral health of our nation’s children is more critical than ever.

We are asking Congress to help create the infrastructure needed to offer a robust mental health delivery system with early and organized interventions. These interventions will result in both improved outcomes and lower costs.

Portions of the Strengthening Kids’ Mental Health Now — the legislation that we have been working on with CHA — addresses these concerns and requests for a stronger community effort to prevent mental and behavioral health crises from occurring.

State Updates

On March 6, 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. The ARP provides additional relief to address the continued impact of COVID-19.

Under the ARP, Nebraska will receive $976 million through the State Fiscal Recovery Fund and $128 million through a Capital Projects fund.

This extraordinary funding opportunity is only 29% of the overall $3.6 billion available to the State to recover from the economic problems that were brought on by the pandemic.

Children’s is working with other stakeholders and the State to determine coordinated opportunities to advocate together for these one-time financial resources to be invested in children across the state.

In the coming months, Governor Pete Ricketts (R-NE) will prepare a budget proposal to outline his priorities for the funds. From there, a public hearing will be held on LR 178. LR 178 is a shell bill (Translation: A bill that doesn’t have substantive language but is moved through the legislation-passing process for later use) designed by the Appropriations Committee to hold hearings to get input on priorities for these federal funds.

We anticipate that these hearings will not begin until after the Special Redistricting Session, which is tentatively scheduled for late September.


American Rescue Plan Allocations for Nebraska


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