Advocates for Children and Youth

Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) was founded in 1987 by a group of prominent child advocates in Maryland who saw the need for an independent organization to advocate for the needs of the state's children and families in the community, the media and the public policy arena. Since its founding, ACY’s mission has been to identify problems, promote policies and programs that improve results for Maryland children in measurable and meaningful ways, and evaluate the effectiveness of programs and policies for the state's children and youth. Its goals include ensuring that children have access to affordable, quality health care coverage in Maryland. See below for more information about ACY’s recent activities, accomplishments, and advocacy work and tools!

  • ACY Encouraged Advocates to Contact Legislators in Support of Passing State Budget

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    Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) issued a message to encourage advocates to contact Maryland Legislators when they reconvene on May 14th to pass the state budget. According to the message, the Maryland General Assembly left on recess without passing a full budget and ACY asks advocates to urge legislators to pass a budget that: (1) supports revenues for children; (2) stops "harmful" cuts to welfare, education and other children's services; and (3) protects children in less wealthy jurisdictions.
  • ACY Released Legislative Updates on Exchange Bills

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    Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) released a Health 2012 Legislative Wrap Up and press release highlighting passed bills focusing on the Exchange, dental benefits and other health related efforts. Key highlights include: (1) HB443: The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Act of 2012 defines and operationalizes functions of the state's Exchange, which includes the foundation for the Navigator program; (2) SB234: Establishes Health Enterprise Zones (HEZs) that will target state resources to reduce health disparities, improve outcomes, and reduce costs and readmissions; (3) HB1401/SB867: Establishes educational efforts to improve oral health in schools; and (4) a number of other bills focusing on home visitation, young adult consent to certain medical procedures, prohibition of certain animal feed, and a tax increase on cigars and smokeless tobacco. In addition, ACY worked towards reducing the proposed budget cuts to orthodontia care through the state’s Medicaid program and Maryland launched an oral health messaging campaign targeting children from birth to six years old.
  • ACY Published Update on Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Act of 2012

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    Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) published a health 2012 update regarding the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Act of 2012, which is currently under review with the state legislature. The bill is the outgrowth of 2011 Exchange legislation requiring studies to inform best practices on how the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange should function. ACY was heavily involved in the development of the new legislation, working closely with policy makers and co-chairing one of many advisory committees whose work was incorporated into the Exchange Board's Recommendations and into the legislation. ACY was also involved in specific provisions relating to the navigator program.
  • ACY Director Delivered ACA Lecture

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    Leigh Cobbs, Health Policy Director at Advocates for Children and Youth, delivered a lecture, Implementing the Affordable Care Act: Getting Coverage for Families, Adults and Children in the U.S. and Maryland, at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health on February 8, 2012.
  • ACY Released Materials Advocating for Children's Dental Benefits Within the Exchange

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    Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) released various materials to help with advocacy focusing on dental benefits within the Exchange, update on access to dental care for children in Maryland, and costs of accessing dental care in the Emergency Room. These materials identify the need to provide comprehensive oral health care to children and adults in the Exchange. In addition, ACY published an Issue Brief - "Five Years Later: Dental Access for Children" – that looks at progress against the Dental Action Committee's (DAC) recommendations over five years and finds that while significant progress has been made, challenges still remain to improve oral health access.
  • ACY Proposed Amendments to the 2012 Maryland Benefit Exchange Act

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    Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) and Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform worked with an alliance of partners to submit comments and proposed amendments to the 2012 Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Act (MHBEA) of 2012 (SB238/HB443). The amendments focus on strengthening the Navigator program and the Navigator and Enrollment Advisory Committee, enhancing the roles of stakeholders and developing two stakeholder advisory groups specific to the Navigator Program and Essential Health Benefit Plan.
  • ACY Helped Maryland Secure Second CHIPRA Performance Bonus

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    With help from children health advocates, Maryland was able to secure its second CHIPRA performance bonus from CMS, according to a press release by Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY). In 2011, Maryland enrolled an additional 41,000 children, and since 2007 the State has seen a 34% overall increase in enrollment. Maryland’s bonus of $28.3 million is the largest of the 23 bonuses awarded by CMS this year.
  • ACY Submitted Comments on HHS' 2011 Essential Health Benefit Bulletin

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    Comments from Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) stressed the importance of: (1) defining a core or “floor” EHB standard for children; (2) providing further guidance and protections for pediatric dental coverage; (3) evaluating additional options for pediatric vision coverage; (4) defining medical necessity; (5) limiting insurer flexibility; and (6) assuring a transparent process for benchmark selection and updating benefits. In addition, ACY developed four guiding principles to establish an EHB. The EHB package must: (1) reflect and support the state’s commitment to a “culture of care” that actively promotes continuity of care and health equity and prohibits discrimination; (2) provide comprehensive benefits that are identified with maximum specificity and are balanced with and among the ten mandated ACA benefit categories; (3) be developed based upon an open and transparent process that is supported by public health and other appropriate expertise, and stakeholder and consumer engagement; and (4) enhance the potential for success of Maryland’s Health Benefit Exchange. ACY is actively getting diverse groups to sign on to the Principles and will be sharing with legislators as well as using during the "Stakeholder Consensus Amendment" process for this year's Exchange Bill.

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