Grove Advocates for Improved Children’s Health
6/5/2013

HARRISBURG – Two proposals authored by Rep. Seth Grove (R-Dover) saw action in the Legislature this week.  The House Professional Licensure Committee today approved his legislation that would authorize licensed pharmacists to administer immunizations to children age 7 and older.  On Monday, the House unanimously adopted his resolution directing the Joint State Government Commission to study the issue of childhood obesity.

“These are issues that affect both the health of children and our economy,” said Grove.  “Health care is a major driving force in the economy, and the cost of health care has been steadily outpacing the rate of inflation.  If we can find strategies to make Pennsylvania’s children healthier, it could realistically lead to job growth, higher salaries and increased productivity.”   

Grove’s House Bill 776 would allow licensed pharmacists, and trained pharmacy interns who are under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist, to administer vaccines to children age 7 and older.  Current law permits pharmacists to immunize adults.

Under the legislation, pharmacists would be required to follow the immunization schedule established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and they would have to obtain parental consent.  The measure also directs pharmacists to notify the individual’s primary care physician after administering a vaccine.

Grove noted that Pennsylvania law requires pharmacists to become certified in order to dispense vaccines.  This certification process includes CPR training and continuing education.  

House Bill 776 will now go before the full House for consideration. 

House Resolution 243, along with calling for a study of childhood obesity, would also establish an advisory committee to propose strategies for combatting the problem.  

According to the CDC, childhood obesity has doubled in children and tripled in teens over the past 30 years.  Nearly 20 percent of children and adolescents are classified as obese, with more than one-third of minors qualifying as either overweight or obese. 

“We are excited for the support and movement of House Resolution 243,” said Larry Richardson, public policy chair of the Pennsylvania State Alliance of YMCAs, and president and CEO of the YMCA of York County.  “As a partner on the advisory committee with the Joint State Government Committee, the YMCAs in Pennsylvania stand ready to be part of the team to generate the strategies that will be effective to combat this very preventable phenomenon in our state among our youth. The Y is for youth development, for healthy lifestyles and for social responsibility. The cultural problem of youth obesity engages each of our areas of emphasis for which we pledge our statewide Y movement and resources to go on the offensive and prevent childhood obesity.”  

Childhood obesity is linked to a myriad of health problems, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  It also makes a child more likely to become a severely obese adult. 

In 2009, the CDC conducted a study which estimated the annual health costs of obesity to be as high as $147 billion. 

Grove is also the author of legislation that would assist new mothers to purchase lactation supplies, such as breast pumps, in order to promote breastfeeding.   House Bill 778 would exempt breastfeeding supplies from the Sales and Use Tax.  Breastfeeding may be linked to lower rates of obesity.

The Joint State Government Commission will have one year to study the issue.

More information about Grove and his legislative priorities is available at www.RepGrove.com and www.Facebook.com/RepSethGrove

Representative Seth Grove
196th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact:  Nicole Wamsley
717.783.8063
nwamsley@pahousegop.com
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