A Healthy Blog

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

Children's Health

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 »

Children’s Health: Scattered Thoughts from DC

This past Sunday and Monday, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Georgetown Center for Children and Families gathered advocates from around the country to discuss the recently-passed Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA). The new law will be a major step forward in providing health coverage to millions of children who are currently uninsured. The conference itself was jam-packed with information, but here are some significant take-aways: Read more »

Homeless Children Are Unacceptable

“As far as health condition and medical care are concerned, [homeless] children are prisoners of their socioeconomic and insurance status.”- America’s Youngest Outcasts: State Report Card on Child Homelessness, The National Center on Family Homelessness A recent report (www.homelesschildrenamerica.org) by the Newton-based National Center on Family Homelessness (NCFH) begins with a call to action: “It is unacceptable for one child in the United States to be homeless for even one day.” Still, in the richest country in the world, 1.5 million children go to bed with out a home each year. Just as... Read more »

Oral Health and Homeless Kids

A key issue affecting oral health for kids is homelessness. Last week, The National Center on Family Homelessness released a report called “America’s Youngest Outcasts: State Report Card on Child Homelessness” to provide a comprehensive snapshot of child homelessness in America today. Homelessness puts children at risk for many things- including poor health outcomes. Because oral health is a crucial part of overall health and a successful future, the report contained some new information about homeless children and oral disease. Read more »

If "dropping out is no longer an option" then we need to meet the needs of our students

“And dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country – and this country needs and values the talents of every American.” - President Barak Obama: February 24, 2009 President Barak Obama’s first address to Congress last night featured calls to action on a range of issues: energy, health care, government spending, economic responsibility, and education. Particularly striking was his direct charge to young people, placing the responsibility for remaining in school and graduating directly on their shoulders. Read more »

Education Alone Is Not Enough

“These are not bad people or lazy people suffering in this economy – All people are suffering” - Dr. Deborah Frank, Children’s Sentinel Nutrition Assessment Program (C-SNAP) Education had long been touted as the silver bullet to solve issues of poverty and inequality. But education alone is not enough – if basic needs are not addressed, the best school in the world won’t be enough. A child can’t learn if they are sick. A child can’t learn if they are homeless. A child can’t learn if they are hungry. At the start of the 2009-2010 legislative session, healthcare, housing, and hunger prevention... Read more »

Health, Housing, and Hunger Prevention: The Building Blocks of Childhood Success

Education may be the silver bullet to address the issue of poverty. But a child cannot be expected to learn if they are sick. Or if they are homeless. Or if they don’t have enough to eat. Issues of access to health care, stable housing, and proper and adequate food are not only closely tied, but form the very basis of childhood success. On January 26, Health Care For All, the Children’s Health Access Coalition, and advocates from the housing and hunger world will come together at the State House to hold a legislative briefing on the importance of these issues for children. Read more »

HCFA's 2009 Legislative Agenda - Parts 1 and 2

The 2008 legislative session was a great success for HCFA. In October, we distributed Healthy Victories (pdf), a newsletter detailing our successes. The latest addition to that list is Chapter 530 of the Acts of 2008, the omnibus oral health law signed by the Governor on January 15th. Looking ahead, HCFA and its coalitions have finalized their legislative priorities for the 2009-2010 session. Over the next few days each of our coalitions will highlight their legislative priorities. First up, bills filed on the issues of children's health and health reform. Children's Health Massachusetts has... Read more »

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