COMMITTEE ACTION: Voted "do pass" by the Committee on Public Health by a vote of 11 to 3.

This substitute establishes the Office on Women's Health within the Department of Health. The duties of the office include:

(1) Assisting in assessing women's health needs in Missouri;

(2) Providing policy analysis and recommendations to the Director of the Department of Health on women's health issues across the life cycle;

(3) Assisting the director in identifying issues, establishing priorities, and presenting recommendations on service delivery issues for the department;

(4) Serving as a central location for information about women's health;

(5) Promoting the coordination of women's health efforts throughout Missouri; and

(6) Increasing the visibility of the many factors affecting the health and well-being of women in Missouri.

The substitute also allows the director to establish an advisory committee which will consist of experts in women's health issues and will reflect the geographic, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity in the state. The advisory committee can provide policy advice to the Chief of the Office on Women's Health and will assist the chief in identifying and analyzing issues concerning women's health.

FISCAL NOTE: No impact on state funds.

PROPONENTS: Supporters say that this office has been established internally by the Department of Health and that this bill would codify the office in state statute. The office would provide medical information on women's health issues to the state. Supporters further state that although 50% of entering medical students are women, there is still a lack of available medical information on women's health issues.

Testifying for the bill were Senator Sims; Department of Health; and March of Dimes.

OPPONENTS: There was no opposition voiced to the committee.

Joseph Deering, Legislative Analyst