Appropriations Update In December 2001, the Congress passed and the President signed legislation for Fiscal Year 2002 to fund programs under the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (P.L. 107-116). Contained within this $123.1 billion spending bill, the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) received designated funding for FY02 of $1.5 million above the President’s earlier budget request of $805,000, which included support for other injury prevention activities.
The $1.5 million represents the first specific funding for the NVDRS, an initiative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The funds will be used to continue planning and to begin implementation of the system in selected states. Injury control programs of the CDC received overall funding for FY ’02 of $149.767 million, $6 million more than requested by the President and the U.S. House of Representatives and $3 million more than requested by the United States Senate.
Building Support for the NVDRS The NVDRS is a state-based system that will be coordinated and funded by the CDC. By collecting and linking data on all violent deaths (approximately 50,000 per year), the NVDRS will provide answers to critical questions about violence prevention strategies. A fully implemented system, involving every state, will require approximately $20 million every year. The designated funding of $1.5 million approved by Congress in December is an encouraging first step toward implementing the system.
In 2001, many organizations, including those representing medicine, public health, mental health, child welfare, criminal justice, religious faiths and communities, showed support for this system by signing letters that were presented to key Members of Congress. The first letter, presented in June, was signed by 34 organizations. The second, presented in September, was signed by 25 organizations. A third letter was signed by more than 35 organizations in October. A fourth letter supporting the NVDRS was signed by 10 suicide prevention organizations.
In addition to these sign-on letters, several groups wrote original letters of support for the NVDRS. Among these were the American Medical Association, the American Bar Association, the Youth Anti-Violence Coalition, as well as public health departments, research centers, physicians and other health professionals in various states.
Next Steps for 2002 Building on the momentum of the past year, in 2002 the Just the Facts Campaign will increase awareness for the NVDRS at the national and local levels. Information will be provided to state and federal policymakers about the value of data produced from the sites participating in Harvard’s National Violent Injury Statistics System’s pilot project, which is serving as a model for the NVDRS. Outreach will continue to medical and health organizations, as well as child advocacy and domestic violence prevention groups, law enforcement and youth violence prevention coalitions, to assure broad based support for this initiative. Policy strategy this year will focus on continuing to reach out to key Members of Congress to seek support for the NVDRS and to increase funding for Fiscal Year 2003. Members of the coalition promoting the NVDRS will ask members of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees to approve $10 million for CDC’s NVDRS in FY03. This level of funding will permit implementation of NVDRS in approximately 20 additional states. To assist in further educating Congress on the importance of the NVDRS and gaining further support, the group will convene several roundtable discussion forums for key congressional staff. In addition, the strategy will include coalition meetings with Senate and House appropriators as well as strategically-timed letters to the Administration and Congress. These will be designed to effectively advocate for more resources, leading to nationwide implementation of the NVDRS.