September 2020

September 29, 2020

In July, Health Care For All completed the summer session of The Health Justice Academy: Building Health Care Power in Our Communities,” a renewed iteration of the Health Care Democracy School. 


The Health Justice Academy is a free advocacy training webinar presented as virtual modules aiming at providing tools to navigate the Massachusetts health care system and to advocate for health care rights and health equity in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. The Academy themes were informed by conversations had with community partners since the onset of the pandemic and to maximize the grassroots impact on political developments. The July training sessions took place via Zoom and were geared towards advocates, health care and social service providers, community leaders, and community members who want to have a better understanding of how to advance health justice and protect access to coverage and care for Massachusetts residents. 

September 24, 2020

Last Wednesday, September 16, Health Care For All (HCFA), in partnership with MassHealth presented the Statewide Investments “Spotlight” Virtual Pop-Up Event on Oral Health Integration. Folks from several MassHealth Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and Community Partners (CPs) as well as health care providers from across Massachusetts chose to spend their morning learning about oral health integration from a panel of experts from the field. 

Dr. Neetu Singh, HCFA’s Oral Health Program Director, provided introductory remarks and spoke on how integrating oral health into the broader health care system can improve a person’s oral health, overall quality of life and reduce the total cost of care. 

The panel was moderated Shannon Wells, MSW from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. The four panelists consisted of Dr. Hugh Silk, MD, MPH from UMass Medical School; Dr. Matt Horan, DMD, MPH, from Harbor Health Services; Dr. Christie Lumsden, PhD, MS, RD, CDN, from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine; and Dr. Lisa Simon, DDS, MD, from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. 

Each panelist had the opportunity to talk about a subtopic of oral health integration, provide relevant case examples as well as answer questions for those in attendance. The conversation covered the following topics: Integrating oral health into primary care and other medical settings; oral health during COVID-19; the spectrum of oral health integration and specific practices that support medical-dental integration; and roles for community healthcare workers in facilitating integration. 

The panel presentation was part of a coordinated effort to inform MassHealth ACOs and CPs about ways they can integrate oral health into their current workflows, clinics and organizations. The event was also designed to provide attendees with resources and examples on best practices and lessons-learned from providers who have successfully implemented medical-dental integration efforts into their practices, community health centers, and hospitals. 

HCFA is committed to leading efforts on oral health integration in Massachusetts by continuing to provide education and resources on the topic for all value-based health care programs in the state, including the MassHealth ACOs and CPs. HCFA would like to thank MassHealth and Abt Associates for the opportunity to collaborate on this special event. We would also like to thank the panelists and moderator for the insightful conversation on innovative practices and strategies that MassHealth ACOs and CPs can readily implement and important steps towards establishing a truly integrated, patient-centered health care system in the Commonwealth.

The information link for the event is still active and will soon be updated with a recording of the event soon.