A Healthy Blog

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

Oral Health

As I See It: Flying to Asia to see a dentist?

Anh Vu Sawyer, Executive Director of the Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts and Health Care For All's supporter authored an op-ed that was published today on the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. In this piece, she shares her struggle to access dental care and her take on why oral health integration is crucial to improve access to preventive care especially for the immigrant community in the state. As I See It: Flying to Asia to see a dentist? As a director for the Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts, I am quite concerned about the health care disparities my... Read more »

Budget Now: Amendments being debated today

Yesterday, the full House began the FY 2018 budget deliberation process on Beacon Hill. As the amendment process moves forward, we at HCFA are working with lawmakers, advocates, providers, faith groups, consumers, and other health stakeholders to protect funding for consumer based health care programs in the state budget and to protect MassHealth and other critical pieces of the Commonwealth’s health infrastructure. [See our complete budget amendment fact sheet here] HCFA Supports: Read more »

HCFA’s 2018-2019 Priority Legislation

With the launch of a new legislative session, we at HCFA are excited to announce a new legislative agenda that advocates for a more effective and consumer friendly health care system here in the Bay State. HCFA worked with a diverse group of legislators in both the House and Senate to file a broad package of legislation. The proposed legislation includes the following proposals:   Read more »

Health Policy Commission report: 35,000 avoidable dental ED visits cost us millions

Reducing the number of preventable emergency department (ED) visits has been an important measure of health care quality. According to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, avoidable ED visits are not only costly, but may indicate poor care management and/or inadequate access to care, among other system failures in inefficient health care delivery and prevention. Read more »

HCFA Organizes Comments To MassHealth on Waiver Proposal

In mid-June, MassHealth took another step towards payment and care delivery systems reforms with the release of their 1115 waiver proposal (background: section 1115 of the Social Security Act allows the federal government to authorize state demonstration projects to improve Medicaid). Through the 1115 waiver, MassHealth is requesting authority from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to restructure MassHealth care delivery through implementation of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and expand substance use disorders services. Read more »

State House Rally for Dental Hygiene Practioners

On Wednesday, HCFA was excited to join with over 60 others gathered in Nurses Hall at the State House to advocate for the creation of a mid-level dental provider in Massachusetts, the Dental Hygiene Practitioner (DHP). The event was attended by people representing those with disabilities, seniors, immigrants, and dental providers. A provision to authorize DHPs is before the House-Senate conference committee debating the final state budget for fiscal year 2017. Read more »

Dental Hygiene Practitioner Debate Heats Up - Take Action Now

The debate over authorizing “dental hygiene practitioners,” to improve access to good oral health, just heated up a lot more this week. Background: Dental Hygiene Practitioners (DHPs) are dental hygienists who – after completing additional training – are able to deliver basic but critically necessary care to underserved populations in the state. DHPs work under the supervision of a dentist, and can bring care directly to people in schools, nursing homes, and other community settings. Access to oral health care is a particularly difficult for older adults, for people with disabilities, for... Read more »

Senate Approves Dental Hygiene Practitioner Amendment

In a stunning 39-0 unanimous roll call vote, the State Senate today voted to add Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler's amendment authorizing a new type of dental professional to serve our most vulnerable populations. Read more »

Senate Budget Process Starting - Call Your Senator on these Key Amendments

The Massachusetts State Senate will vote on its version of the state budget starting on Tuesday, May 24. Massachusetts uses a fiscal year that starts on July 1, so this budget starts in just a few weeks. The budget allocates funds for state programs, such as MassHealth and the Department of Public Health, and sets state policies in many areas. You can read a detailed summary of the budget from the Mass Budget and Policy Center here. Read more »

HCFA Statement on Senate Budget proposal

The Massachusetts State Senate released its proposed state budget on May 17. The budget's theme is "Investing for a resilient Commonwealth," and there are a number of bold, creative initiatives, particularly around children's programs,  In response, HCFA released the statement below. The budget debate begins in the Senate on Tuesday, May 24. HCFA will be working with Senators on a number of amendments to strengthen health care for Massachusetts.   Read more »

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