PETER VAN DYCK: It’s a shame we all are in here and not outside in the wonderful weather isn’t it, it has been beautiful. Sitting in a restaurant a couple days ago, I overheard three psychiatrists talking. They were talking a little too loud, I think that they had had a couple of extra drinks, and they were saying, you know all we ever do all day long is hear everybody’s problems. We have no chance, we have no opportunity to discuss our own. Who do we go to? You know the three of us together now, we are in this restaurant, nobody can hear, and we just share a little bit with one another some of our difficult problems it would be cathartic for us, it would not really help kind of clear the ear. Well they hemmed and hawed a little bit, and said well lets do it, so they decided to go ahead and share. So the first psychiatrist says, “I really hate to tell you this, but I have been writing prescriptions over what the patients need to support a drug habit that I have. And I am so sorry about it, but I have just not been able to break it and nobody’s found out yet but this is just something I have to do.” They had a little round about thank you for sharing. And the second psychiatrist said, “you know I have got into this cycle, I got this new car and I got this new house and I have got this new wife and I am having troubles supporting my spending style and I have been over-billing Medicaid and private insurance for _______doing an hour session instead of a forty-five minute session. And they shared a little bit. And the third guy said, “you know I really hate to tell you my problem, I do not have a drug problem, I do not have a spending style problem, but I have never been able to keep a secret.”
Well, good afternoon. I have been asked to do a welcome to the group from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau. It is really great to be here to 9th meeting. It is great to have this wonderful partnership with CDC and all our CDC friends and this fruitful partnership is getting better every year. And there are more and more people it seems every year and I have been to most of the meeting over the time. And I can see more people than before. MCHB________ the Bureau ____better in epidemiology as well and I feel now that we have a real presents in the bureau and can exercise some leadership role in MCH Epidemiology largely due to the leadership of Michael Kogan and his staff. Thank you Michael.
And it is really nice to be able to have a group where we can talk about what we would like to do, how we measure what we do, that I can call and say, you know, somebody’s asked me this. How do we go about answering it? It is really wonderful. And I would like to share with you a success story of one of the meetings earlier probably four, five, maybe six years ago now. I talked about performance measures and our partnership with the States in the eighteen National Performance Measures and States Performance Measures and this year when we turned in our budget for 2004 for the block grant, it came back, changed, and they always come back changed from OMB. But surprise, this one came back and increased from more than we asked for, for twenty million dollars. And we asked why, and it was because OMB said we want to reward you for having this wonderful measurement system with the states in a partnership to measure performance measures. Well, I was not going to argue. I said that thank you very much and it was really a good feeling. Unfortunately, in the conference report, congress isn’t very willing to be unstingy with their money. And so it has disappeared in congress, but at least it was in the President’s budget, and OMB supported. And I also know we have arrived where we get congressional inquiries about why a particular performance measure is not in our set of eighteen.
And congressman Waxman continues to write letters about why we do not have this performance measure and why we do not have that performance measure in our set of eighteen national ones. And there is also proposed legislation to add a couple performance measures to the national set that congress is anticipating. When those things happen, at least people are taking notice and all of you in this room who work in states and who work with us, certainly deserve a lot of praise and appreciation for the partnership which you have with us in working on this. I have really been impressed by the work you do over the years, all of you. You are all getting better and better at what you do. The date is getting better. The articles are getting better. And we are in the bureau committed to train and sponsor courses and to provide support for all of your activities because a good solid epidemiological base in MCH is extremely important as we all know. So welcome from the bureau, I am glad to be here, I am going to talk to you a little bit later in this session and have a good meeting.