A Healthy Blog

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

Children's Health

MassHealth dental expansion for Family Assistance

Thursday is an important day for oral health in the Commonwealth. On October 1, 2009 MassHealth dental benefits will be extended to cover children under the age of 19 who receive Family Assistance premium assistance, in order to comply with CHIPRA regulations. A copy of the announcement can be downloaded here (.pdf). Regular readers know that oral health is an important part of overall health. Left untreated, dental disease can interfere with a child’s ability to eat, sleep, speak and learn. As we age, the implications of this disease become more severe. Decades of research have confirmed the... Read more »

National Health Reform – What About the Kids?

With all the noise surrounding the national health reform debate over the last several months, one group that was at risk of being lost in the shuffle was children. At one point, advocates were concerned that kids would be forgotten and that they would be lumped in with adults when it came time to design coverage plans. Thanks in large part to our friends at Community Catalyst and the New England Alliance For Children’s Health, it looks like this won’t happen. Children are not little adults – they have unique health care needs that need to be accounted for. One thing that the Children’s... Read more »

Committee Hears Childrens, Oral Health Bills

The Health Care Financing Committee held its last scheduled hearing on primary jurisdiction bills today. Included were key HCFA priority bills on children's health and oral health (see our photos here). Kids: The success of Massachusetts in extending health coverage to virtually all children is laudable, but an insurance card alone is not enough to guarantee care. Nearly 16,000 children in the Commonwealth access care through the Children’s Medical Security Plan (CMSP), but the scope of services offered under this program are frequently insufficient to fully address their health needs. CMSP... Read more »

Joint Committee on Health Care Financing hearing - Insurance Partnership program, medical malpractice and the health care workforce

The Joint Committee on Health Care Financing held a public hearing on Wednesday May 27th. Several bills were heard relating to insurance, the Insurance Partnership program, medical malpractice and the health care workforce. Read more »

Children’s Mental Health Legislation Heard

When the omnibus Act Relative To Children’s Mental Health (Chapter 321 of the Acts of 2008) was signed into law last year, there was one provision that was not included: reimbursement for collateral contacts by commercial insurance. Read more »

House Budget - Amendments Strengthen Health Programs

The House started the week with a budget with appropriations at $27.44 billion, with $19.53 billion from taxes. On Monday, the House voted to increase the sales tax from 5% to 6.25%, bringing in an additional $900 million. They voted to allocate $205 million of those additional funds towards local aid. The left over amount has been used throughout the week for consolidated line item amendments. HCFA’s coalitions continued to advocate for vital state funded programs. The week had both good and bad news. On Tuesday, the House recognized the importance of children’s mental health by... Read more »

Children’s Health Care Summit

The New England Alliance for Children’s Health (NEACH) will be hosting their 3rd annual Children’s Health Care Summit on Friday, April 24th from 9:30-4:30PM. The FREE event will take place at the Doubletree Hotel in Lowell, Massachusetts. For an updated list of the day's events and speakers, please see the Children's Health Summit Agenda (.pdf). The last day to register is Tuesday, April 21st. Click here to register for the Summit. Read more »

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee Oversight Hearing on Mental Health Cuts: An Opening for Children’s Mental Health

This afternoon, the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee held a long, and sometimes intense, oversight hearing into the impact of budget cuts on mental health services. Committee members closely questioned EOHHS Secretary JudyAnn Bigby about how choices of what programs to cut were made. In particular, Rep. Angelo Scaccia (D-Boston) raised concern about the disproportionate burden of the 9c and House 1 cuts on individuals and families served by the Department of Mental Health. Scaccia said that he was troubled by the danger of cuts to such a vulnerable population. “We never want... Read more »

Kids Hurt the Most during Budget Cuts

Last Thursday, the Children’s League of Massachusetts hosted a State House briefing on the effects of the state’s recent budget cuts on vulnerable children. The Children’s League is a non-profit statewide network of over 60 organizations, advocates, and consumers whose mission is to promote the well-being of children and their families through the effective use of the public policy system. Read more »

Dental Coverage Critical to Decreasing ER Visits

A recent report on data from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) found that people without dental coverage were significantly more likely to use the emergency department (ED) for preventable dental conditions such as untreated cavities, dental abscesses, and periodontal disease. Click here for the full report (.pdf). Among the findings: People without private insurance are at least seven times more likely to visit the ED, controlling for other demographic characteristics People living in rural areas are more likely to visit the ED. Statewide, the ED... Read more »

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