A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Oral Health

Contact Your Representative - HCFA's House Budget Amendments

The state House of Representatives released their draft budget this week. The budget funds the state's MassHealth and other health programs, and includes many provision supported by HCFA. Our friends at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute released an outstanding summary of the provisions affecting low income residents, including MassHealth and other health concerns. House budget debate starts on April 24. Read more »

The Atlantic Shines Light on the Historic Divide Between Medicine & Dentistry

"Dentists still drill and fill teeth and physicians still look at the body from the tonsils south." Julie Beck from The Atlantic just wrote an article that highlights the importance of dentists working alongside physicians. Read the article here. Read more »

Oral Health Forum Makes Case For Integration

Last Thursday the Massachusetts Health Policy Forum hosted a forum entitled “Integrating Oral Health into ACOs.” This event brought together researchers and stakeholders to discuss the importance of oral health integration. Read more »

House Debates Budget Amendments: Here's Our List of Priorities

The state House of Representatives began its budget debate yesterday, for fiscal year 2016, which starts on July 1. Over 1000 amendments have been filed (see the budget and amendments here). As usual in the House, the amendments are being considered in groupings by subject matter. The health care bundle is expected to come up tomorrow or Thursday. Tonight, a group of HCFA citizen activists will fan out across the State House, meeting with Representatives to discuss HCFA's priorities. Here's some of our top amendents for support in the budget - we urge you to contact your Representative today... Read more »

Governor Baker Releases 2016 Budget Proposal; Health Care For All Responds

Governor Baker released is first budget proposal today, for Fiscal Year 2016, which starts this July 1. You can read the budget bill and supporting materials here, and see the video of the press briefing. Like any budget, there's a lot to digest, and we'll have more to say in the coming weeks. Here's our initial statement distributed to the press:   Statement from Health Care For All's Executive Director AMY WHITCOMB SLEMMER REGARDING THE GOVERNOR'S FY 2016 BUDGET PROPOSAL   Read more »

Speak Up to Support Full Oral Health Benefits in MassHealth

Loyal readers of the Healthy Blog know: oral health is health, and dental insurance is health insurance. Cuts to MassHealth adult dental benefits are bad for health, bad for employment, and bad for long-term state spending. Yet in 2010, benefits in the MassHealth adult dental program were significantly cut. Currently, the only oral health services covered for adult MassHealth members are cleanings, extractions, and fillings. The result is damaging to health and quality of life in so many ways, as WGBH documented last year. Take Harriotte Hurie Ranvig, a MassHealth member who is 67, blind, and... Read more »

Budget Now: Amendments being debated today

Yesterday, the full House began the FY 2018 budget deliberation process on Beacon Hill. As the amendment process moves forward, we at HCFA are working with lawmakers, advocates, providers, faith groups, consumers, and other health stakeholders to protect funding for consumer based health care programs in the state budget and to protect MassHealth and other critical pieces of the Commonwealth’s health infrastructure. [See our complete budget amendment fact sheet here] HCFA Supports: Read more »

HCFA’s 2017-2018 Priority Legislation

With the launch of a new legislative session, we at HCFA are excited to announce a new legislative agenda that advocates for a more effective and consumer friendly health care system here in the Bay State. HCFA worked with a diverse group of legislators in both the House and Senate to file a broad package of legislation. You can see a 2-page brief summary of each of our priority bills here.  The proposed legislation includes the following proposals: Reduce Out-Of-Pocket Health Care Costs by eliminating cost-sharing for high-value services and drugs such as insulin, asthma inhalers, and... Read more »

Health Policy Commission report: 35,000 avoidable dental ED visits cost us millions

Reducing the number of preventable emergency department (ED) visits has been an important measure of health care quality. According to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, avoidable ED visits are not only costly, but may indicate poor care management and/or inadequate access to care, among other system failures in inefficient health care delivery and prevention. Read more »

HCFA Organizes Comments To MassHealth on Waiver Proposal

In mid-June, MassHealth took another step towards payment and care delivery systems reforms with the release of their 1115 waiver proposal (background: section 1115 of the Social Security Act allows the federal government to authorize state demonstration projects to improve Medicaid). Through the 1115 waiver, MassHealth is requesting authority from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to restructure MassHealth care delivery through implementation of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and expand substance use disorders services. Read more »

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