Dear Chair Murray, Ranking Member Blunt, Chair DeLauro, and Ranking Member Cole:
As organizations dedicated to improving the health of all women, children, and families, we strongly urge you to support at least $1 billion for the Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Services Block Grant in the FY2023 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education & Related Agencies Appropriations bill.
The Title V MCH Block Grant is a cost-effective, accountable, and flexible funding source used to address the most critical, pressing, and unique needs of maternal and child health populations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and other jurisdictions. State health departments use the Title V MCH Block Grant to design and implement a wide range of statewide and community-level maternal and child health programs to fit the needs of their specific populations. According to data gathered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Title V MCH Block Grant funding provided access to health care and public health services for an estimated 60 million people in fiscal year 2020, including 93% of all pregnant people, 98% of infants, and 60% of children nationwide.
While programming varies among states, areas of focus among Title V MCH programs include reducing maternal mortality, infant mortality, and preventable diseases among children; advancing health equity and eliminating racial, ethnic, and geographic inequities in maternal and child health outcomes; assuring access to quality maternal and child health services, especially for families with incomes below the federal poverty level or who live in areas with limited availability of health services; and promoting family-centered, community-based, coordinated care for children with special health care needs. Title V MCH Block Grant programs help train the next generation of maternal and child health workforce leaders and enable various stakeholders to address emerging public health concerns that impact maternal and child health. These programs can ultimately save federal and state governments money by ensuring that people receive preventive services to avoid costlier chronic conditions later in life.
During the past two years, Title V-funded programs have been at the forefront of COVID-19 response efforts with a particular focus on addressing the unique impacts of the pandemic on maternal and child health populations. The flexible nature of the Title V MCH Block Grant made it an easily deployable source of support for states to meet locally identified needs and promote positive maternal and child health outcomes during the public health emergency. The Title V MCH Block Grant is well-positioned to continue to address maternal and child health needs in response to the ongoing physical and mental health ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, while the Title V MCH Block Grant is the backbone of our nation’s public health infrastructure for women, children, and families, that infrastructure has been severely strained as a result of the pandemic.
Maternal and child health programs and the maternal and child health workforce need sustained, increased investment to rebuild, recover, and best serve the nation’s maternal and child health populations now and into the future. We thank you for funding the Title V MCH Block Grant at $747.7 million in FY2022 and urge you to provide an increase to at least $1 billion in FY2023, including a robust increase for the state formula fund. For additional information on MCH programs in your state, please contact Amy Haddad at the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs at 202-266-3045 or firstname.lastname@example.org.