Monthly Archives: March 2018

Iowa AAP Board Statement on Gun Safety and March for Our Lives

Iowa AAP Board Statement on Gun Safety and March for Our Lives

The recent horrific school shootings and the powerful response by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have forced us to confront, once again, the impact of gun violence. Although mass shootings command our attention, children in the United States and Iowa remain at risk daily for becoming victims of gun violence.  The Iowa Chapter American Academy of Pediatrics lends its support to those young people, their families and all those who are exposed to the threat of gun violence.


The American Academy of Pediatrics continues to take a strong stance advocating against gun violence and supporting children, youth and families.  As announced on March 16, 2018, the organization has launched the American Academy of Pediatrics Gun Safety and Injury Prevention Research Initiative. This initiative will create a collaboration of experts from across the country to study and implement evidence-based solutions to address the epidemic of gun violence and develop plans for prevention.


The epidemic of gun violence against children is a threat to public health. In addition to endangering children’s lives, gun violence adds significantly to the toxic stress load on children, which has been shown to impact their physical and mental well-being. Iowa AAP is committed to advocating for improved access to mental health services to meet the needs of those affected by gun violence and by the threat of gun violence in their schools and communities.


This Saturday, March 24, 2018, the courageous students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida are channeling their grief and anger into action, joined by students across the country in peaceful protest. March for Our Lives events will be held at the State Capitol and many other locations in Iowa. The Iowa AAP supports the goals of these events: promotion of gun safety and violence prevention.


Tackling any epidemic requires comprehensive, common-sense solutions at every level and the partnership of all of us who care for children to come together to ensure the safety of children and adolescents in Iowa.


Board of Directors, Iowa Chapter – American Academy of Pediatrics

March 22, 2018

Health Legislation at the Second Funnel

Health Legislation at the Second Funnel

March 15 marks the end of the Iowa Legislature’s second funnel: the deadline for policy bills to pass through one legislative chamber and a committee in the second one. Tax and appropriation bills are exempt from the funnel, as are leadership bills. Here is the status of health and/or safety legislation on which the Iowa-AAP registered a position.


Bills That Advanced


Safe Haven: On March 12, the Iowa House gave final approval and sent to the Governor SF 360, which expands options for parents to legally abandon their newborns without being charged for abandonment. The Governor is expected to sign this legislation. For more on Iowa’s Safe Haven law and this bill, see this blog post.


Abuse of opioid prescription drugs: Legislation to curtail prescription shopping in opioids and enhance Iowa’s Prescription Monitoring Program (HF 2377) now awaits final Senate passage.  See this blog post for more on this bill.


Pharmacy immunizations and Vaccinations: Under SF 2322, which awaits final House action,after the development of statewide protocols, pharmacies can begin administering certain vaccinations or immunizations, including:


(1) For adults: naloxone, Tdap, nicotine replacement products, and other immunization or vaccinations recommended by the CDC for travel or as part of an approved schedule for adults

(2) For those 12 and older: the second and third doses of the HPV vaccine.


In a statement shared at its February 28 legislative breakfast, the Iowa-AAP expressed concerns over expanded pharmacy vaccination of youth because of the potential adverse impact on youth seeking health care and problems with tracking pharmacy administration of vaccines.


Student athlete concussions: Awaiting final Senate action, HF 2442 calls for several actions to reduce the effects and recurrence of concussions in school sports, including: developing training materials for coaches and guidelines for school personnel and families; establishing rules governing returning to play following a concussion; and providing protective gear to students.


 Bills That Failed to Advance


Mandatory reporter training and child welfare reform: Separate bills sought to establish work groups to improve Iowa’s child welfare system failed to advance beyond the funnel. SF 2300 called for a work group to identify how to improve training for mandatory reporters of child or dependent adult abuse. HF 2353 asked for one to examine policies and protocols in multiple features of Iowa’s child protection system.


Recipient work requirements: Separate House (HF 2428) and Senate (SF 2370) bills conditioning Medicaid eligibility on meeting work requirements failed to advance beyond the committee level. The more punitive Senate bill also imposed work and other requirements on those receiving SNAP (Food Stamps) and Family Investment Program (FIP) benefits. Iowa-AAP expressed its disapproval of both bills to legislators attending its Feb. 28 breakfast. 

House Gives Final Approval to Safe Haven Legislation

House Gives Final Approval to Safe Haven Legislation

On March 12, the Iowa House unanimously passed legislation (SF 360) amending Iowa’s Safe Haven law. This law allows a parent – or someone at a parent’s request – to abandon an infant anonymously, under limited circumstances, without being charged with neglect.The Iowa Senate unanimously approved the bill in 2017, so it now goes to Governor Reynolds for her expected signature.


SF 360 makes two major changes to Iowa’s current Safe Haven law, which was passed in 2017. First, the legislation expands the places where a parent may lawfully leave an infant. Current law provides limits places where a newborn infant can only be left to an institutional health facility, which includes a hospital, residential care facility, nursing home, or intermediate care facility. SF 360 offers additional options of leaving a newborn infant with first responders,  including:


** An emergency medical care provider

** A registered nurse or physician assistant

** A firefighter or peace officer


The legislation also permits the parent to make telephone contact with a 911 service and relinquish physical custody to a first responder who responds to the call.


Second, SF 360 allows the lawful abandonment of an infant who is or appears to be 30 days old; current law limits lawful abandonment to infants 14 days or younger. According to the federal Children’s Bureau, approximately 19 state Safe Haven laws allow abandonment of infants up to a month old. Only six states allow an infant older than a month to be left under their Safe Haven laws; by contrast, 18 states limit protections to infants no more than either three or seven days old.


As of September 2017, 30 infants have been abandoned pursuant to the Iowa’s Safe Haven law, according to an Iowa DHS press release. Iowa passed its legislation in response to the tragic 2001 death of a newborn at the hands of her 17-year-old mother.