It’s difficult to believe that tumultuous 2016 is almost over. While agreement on any issue has seemed to be out of reach, I think we all can agree that a bit of peace, comfort and joy is just what we need. Let me start by wishing you my most sincere wishes for a joyful holiday season. All of you give so much during the year to your colleagues, students, patients and their families. Now, give yourselves the gift of taking a little “you time” for whatever activity rests, rejuvenates and reenergizes you.
This has been a good year for NAPNAP. During 2016, we surpassed 8,500 members – and our numbers continue to grow with more PNPs and APRNs who care for children joining every day. Thank you all for both your membership and your engagement in your professional organization. These growing numbers are encouraging for a couple of reasons. First, it means that you see value in your membership and not only renew year after year, but also recommend NAPNAP to others. Second, our growing numbers are critically important to our advocacy efforts. Every letter we write at the federal level contains the phrase “on behalf of our more than 8,500 members…”
A few other highlights of the year include:
- The successful introduction of our Open Forum with high levels of member engagement. This discussion board gives you real-time information you can use and aids in member-to-member communication about issues of mutual concern.
- TeamPeds: Volunteers is growing. This is a great way to get more involved with NAPNAP on your own terms and in your own available time. Volunteers are utilized in a variety of ways including reviewing position statements, writing stories and articles, developing marketing documents, and serving on advisory boards and commissions, to name a few.
- We had a very good and well-attended conference in Atlanta. A bit of extra fun was added due to our Welcome Social. Thank you, Cathy Haut, for insisting on a dance party! I look forward to welcoming you to Denver this March for even more fun, education and inspiration.
- Knowing that not all our members can travel every year for a multiple-day event, NAPNAP offered four very successful one-day symposia in 2016 in various regions of the country. Look for four more symposia to be announced in 2017, covering hot topics you won’t want to miss.
This year saw the emergence of several health-related issues of critical importance to our patients and their families. Of particular impact is the rising cost of health care, especially the rising cost of prescription drugs. Our middle-class families have been hardest hit. Many are paying higher premiums for higher deductible health plans. At the same time, the costs of many common pediatric medications skyrocketed. Families have been exposed to the liability of paying the full retail price for medications not covered by their health plan and for which there are few or no generic equivalents. NAPNAP has added to our policy agenda advocacy around this issue of wide disparities in prescription drug costs. No family should have to make gut wrenching decisions about what necessities to do without to afford needed medication for themselves and their children. I am including a link to an August 16 Consumer Reports article that explains some of the dynamics of the interplay between the pharma and insurance industries, which are at the root of this issue.
As you consider your options during this season of giving, I ask you to remember NAPNAP’s Foundation, which provides research and clinical project grants and education scholarships to support the vital work of worthy members, and funds educational programs and conference sessions to benefit all members. You can make your tax-deductible donation by going to the NAPNAP Foundation website and clicking on the green “Donate Now” button.
As we move into 2017, there is much uncertainty about the direction of healthcare policy. Know that NAPNAP and its health policy team will be at the table advocating for making child health care a national priority and putting the needs of our kids first.
Thanks again for all your hard work and dedication all year long. I wish you much love, peace and happiness, and I look forward to working with you on behalf of our kids and our profession in a new year that will surely be filled with challenges, but will also present much opportunity for us to make a real difference.
All the best of the Season,