TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Kansas Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (KAAP) gathered on Thursday at the Capitol for their Advocacy Day.
Pediatricians from across the state spoke to legislators in regard to specific bills that they believe will improve children’s wellbeing.
“Every day we’re advocating for our patients in the hospital, in the office-clinic setting, but we take this day because we recognize how important it is to talk with our legislators and let them know, really, what science says,” said Dr. Dena Hubbard, KAAP legislative chair.
The bills they were encouraging passing include SB 252, which calls for Medicaid expansion in the state.
They also encouraged SB 249, which requires insurances to cover mental health coverage. Dr. Hubbard said she is seeing more and more kids being affected by mental health, and that 1 in 5 children have a mental health or substance abuse disorder.
Lastly, KAAP encouraged HB 2129, which creates a gun safety red flag act. Dr. Hubbard said that a child’s access to guns triples their risk of death by suicide.
“So many of these bills… not only keep individual children healthy, but they help to keep entire communities healthy,” said Dr. Lisa Gilmer, KAAP President.
KAAP also advocated for increased funding towards the Family First Prevention Services Act, which keeps more kids out of foster care, and promoted vaccines.