Congressman Green Hosts 12th Annual Immunization Day
“Immunizations are one of the most important disease prevention steps we can take to protect our children,” said Congressman Green. “Every year I am happy to see so many people will take advantage of our Immunization Day because childhood immunizations prevent future heartache, pain and expense.”
Every year several elementary schools are selected to host the event. Rep. Green offered his thanks to the healthcare groups that have helped make Immunization Day a success: The Almatha Clark Taylor School Based Clinic, the Texas Children’s Hospital Mobile Clinic, and the Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services-Humble and Baytown Clinics.
As a member of the Health Subcommittee, Green has made health care in east Harris County a priority. This year alone, he has had legislative success in trauma care coordination, improving SCHIP, reauthorizing and expanding the Health Center Program, and ensuring drug safety through FDA reform.
Trauma and emergency medical care are vital to response efforts in the face of natural disasters, terrorist threats and chemical spills in addition to the everyday accidents that clog hospitals around the country. That’s why Rep. Green authored legislation reauthorizing the Trauma Care Systems Planning and Development Act which was signed into law on May 3, 2007. The bill provides grants to integrate and coordinate regional trauma care, the leading cause of death for people under 44.
State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
Rep. Green serves as Vice Chairman of the Health Subcommittee which crafted legislation to reauthorize the State Childrens’ Health Insurance Program. This reauthorization measure, the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection (CHAMP) Act, passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 225-204 on August 1, 2007. He authored a provision in the CHAMP Act to mandate 12-month continuous eligibility for low-income children, which would improve upon Texas’ current 6-month continuous eligibility. Short eligibility periods result in fewer enrolled children and more preventable health problems. He also supported efforts to streamline the application process and provide states with outreach and enrollment incentives to counter Texas’s devastating cuts to the Texas CHIP program and significant enrollment barriers.
Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC)
The Health Centers program provides access to quality preventive and primary health care in medically underserved communities, including service to millions of Americans without health insurance. Health centers are a critical component of our nation’s health care safety net, providing quality health care to 16 million underserved individuals nationwide. The FQHC designation allows health clinics to utilize federal funding to provide primary and preventive care to the uninsured. Rep. Green authored legislation with more than 200 co-sponsors to reauthorize the Health Center program with a goal of serving 30 million Americans by 2015. When the Congress returns from the August District Work Period, Rep. Green will continue his effort to reauthorize the Health Center program through legislative hearings in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
FDA Drug Safety
Rep. Green belongs to the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, which has worked on a bi-partisan basis to investigate the drug safety concerns brought to light by scandals associated with drugs such as Vioxx, Ketek and Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, which are typically used to treat depression. These investigations uncovered significant safety lapses at the FDA and shed a bright light on the FDA’s bias toward drug approval with too little attention paid to post-market safety concerns. As a result, Congress crafted the FDA Amendments Act of 2007, which makes important changes at the FDA to place a greater emphasis on post-market surveillance within the agency.
Vision Care for Kids Act
Rep. Green is the chief author of the Vision Care for Kids Act, legislation to establish a grant program to provide children with comprehensive eye exams. While many states have taken steps to identify children for potential vision disorders through mandatory vision screenings, as many as 80 percent of children who fail vision screenings do not receive the follow-up vision care they need. The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee has approved the Vision Care for Kids Act, which would target funding to uninsured school-age children. The bill now moves to the full committee, and later the House floor, for consideration and a vote.