A Healthy Blog

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

Oral Health

Senate Passes Comprehensive Health Care Bill

Last week, the state Senate considered over 150 amendments proposed to their comprehensive health care cost control package, titled the HEALTH Act, for Health Empowerment and Affordability while Leveraging Transformative Health care (see our initial thoughts on the bill here). After spending two full days discussing and voting on amendments, the Senate approved the bill right at midnight on November 9. The final Senate bill, incorporating all the amendments, is expected to be numbered S. 2211, and so should be available online here. Read more »

Senator Chandler: We can’t wait any longer. We must focus on oral health now

State Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler of Worcester, co-chair of the Massachusetts Legislature’s Oral Health Caucus, is a longtime advocate for oral health and a strong supporter of Health Care For All. Today, she published an op-ed in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. In her article, Senator Chandler highlights the barriers currently preventing many Massachusetts residents from accessing necessary oral health care services, and encourages the state legislature to take action to address these issues. We are deeply grateful to Senator Chandler for her ongoing leadership on all... Read more »

Dental Therapists Provide the Oral Health Benefits Massachusetts Deserves

Oral health matters. Adequate oral health reduces emergency department utilization and enhances health equity. Knowing these benefits, Governor Baker included an amendment in the proposals he sent to the legislature in connection with his budget vetoes that authorizes dental therapists in Massachusetts, a proposal we strongly support. By allowing mid-level dental therapists (DTs) to deliver basic but critically necessary care, this amendment would increase access to dental coverage for underserved Massachusetts residents. Read more »

HPC: Dental Therapists Make Sense

We smiled brightly during the Health Policy Commission’s (HPC) July 5 meeting because the agency highlighted one of our top priorities, the lack of access to oral health care. In their first DataPoint analysis, HPC found 11.5% reduction in oral health-related hospital Emergency Department (ED) visits from 2013 – 2015. Read more »

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 »

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