Statement From Stephen Rosenfeld, Interim Executive Director For Health Care For All On 9C Budget Cuts

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

BOSTON -- “Health Care For All (HCFA) understands the need to balance the state budget to address tight tax revenues. However, we believe strongly that those cuts should not be made on the backs of those most vulnerable.

“HCFA, alongside the Oral Health Advocacy Taskforce, asks the Baker administration to reconsider its slashing of critical funding for the Forsyth kids program, which provides preventive oral health services for almost 2,500 underserved kids across the Commonwealth. ForsythKids keeps our children healthy by providing oral health care in school-based settings, reaching children where they are. The state allocation of $300,000 keeps the program running in 57 locations in cities with high need, such as Boston, Cambridge, Lynn, Chelsea, Randolph and Holyoke.

“HCFA and OHAT are also advocating for restoration of the funding for the Tufts Dental Facilities, where more than 7,000 individuals living with disabilities in Massachusetts get dental care designed to meet their individual needs. Cutting the $250,000 allocated to the program will disrupt a program that provides comprehensive preventive, restorative and surgical oral health services for adults with many medical and behavioral issues who rely uniquely on these clinics for their care.

“Additionally, HCFA is appalled by the latest attempt by the Baker administration to eliminate the “Academic Detailing” program. The program trains independent experts to meet with doctors to provide scientific information about cost-effective prescription drugs, counteracting the marketing practices by paid pharma sales representatives who solely push specific brand name drugs. Evidence shows that this approach betters patient outcomes and reduces costs. This project is now more important than ever, as it focused on training doctors in how to best prescribe pain killers to avoid the over-prescribing of opioids. The elimination of the already limited funding for this work ($150,000) takes us step back in the fight against the opioid crisis.

“As consumer advocates we urge the Baker administration to reassess the return on investments of these specific cuts and the impact on those residents of Massachusetts who need those services the most. We also encourage the legislature to include these important items if a supplemental budget is approved in the new year.

 

Note: The Oral Health Advocacy Task Force (OHAT) consists of 43 organizations throughout Massachusetts working as a coalition to protect oral health for everyone in Massachusetts