A Healthy Blog

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

House Budget Day 2 Recap

House Budget Day 2 Recap

April 30, 2008

Thanks to Representative Ruth Balser, chair of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee, yesterday the House restored funding to the Massachusetts Children's Psychiatric Access Project (MCPAP). MCPAP helps address the shortage of child psychiatrists in Massachusetts by providing phone consultations to pediatricians’ offices. MCPAP has been overwhelmingly successful since its creation. Currently, more than 96% of all pediatricians participate in the program. Representative Balser has been a tireless leader on children’s mental health issues and is the lead sponsor of S. 2518, An Act Relative to Children’s Mental Health.

The House added $34.5 million to the budget in elder affairs and Medicaid consolidated amendments. The Disparities Action Network achieved a major victory when the House agreed to add language creating an Office of Health Equity within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. The language details that "the office may prepare an annual health disparities report card with regional disparities data, evaluate effectiveness of interventions, and replicate successful programs across the state; provided, further, the office shall work with a disparities reduction program with a focus on supporting efforts by community-based health agencies and community health workers to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities, including efforts addressing social factors integral to such disparities.” The DAN would like to thank the 47 co-sponsors for their support of this office and in particular, Representatives Rushing, Fox, St. Fluer and Sanchez.

The House also continued its support of health reform by continuing $3.5 million for the outreach and enrollment grants. These health reform outreach grants go to community organizations and are critical to enrolling people and helping them maintain their coverage.

And for Wednesday, consolidated amendments on public health, veterans and health and human services are being debated. Read yesterday’s blog post for the Oral Health Task Force's priorities. Caucus at 10 am. Roll calls begin at 12:30 pm.