A Healthy Blog

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

Oral Health

House Budget An Opportunity To Improve Health in Massachusetts

Last week, the state House of Representatives unveiled their draft proposed budget for fiscal year 2017 (which begins this July 1). Like the Governor's proposal, the House budget proposes spending just under $40 billion, with about $15.4 billion going to MassHealth, a increase of below 5% (note that in figuring the cost to the state for MassHealth, one needs to subtract from the $15.4 million appropriation the some $7 billion in federal Medicaid revenue that we receive as a result of our MassHealth program). The budget proposes no major cuts in eligibility or benefits for MassHealth, though... Read more »

Sobering Report Points To Challenges in Access and Affordability

This. The headline above topped the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation's annoucement of the latest results from the Massachusetts Health Reform Survey. The sobering report has some good news - overall, coverage is still very strong in Massachusetts, with 95.7 percent of nonelderly adults reporting having insurance. But the report is newsworthy for the challenges it lays bare. Just having an insurance card is not nearly enough. Read more »

Dentists and opioid addiction: where the mouth and the opioid epidemic intersect

Highlighting the undeniable connection of dental services and medical care, three major dental schools in Massachusetts launched an initiative to combat the opioid crisis by teaching dental students skills in pain management and use of prescription pain killers. Notably, the program also trains and encourages dentists to collaborate with other health professionals in identifying and treating addiction. Governor Baker announced the agreement: Read more »

Family Physicians Endorse Oral Health Integration

At Health Care For All, we believe that oral health is integral to overall health. This belief is gaining more and more traction as mainstream organizations begin embracing it. Late last year, it gained even more support as the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) endorsed a medical-dental integration framework. Read more »

ACOs are an "opportunity to accelerate progress toward genuine patient-centered care delivery"

Earlier this month, Health Care for All actively contributed to the Health Policy Commission’s public hearing concerning their ACO (Accountable Care Organization) certification standards. ACOs provide coordinated care through their doctors, hospitals and other clinical and non-clinical staff, working together to improve the quality and affordability of care. HCFA representatives Steve Slaten, Valerie Spain, Brian Rosman, Alyssa Vangeli, and Helen Hendrickson testified at the hearing, offering consumer viewpoints on how to strengthen the proposed standards. Read more »

Dental hygiene practitioner bill reported favorably out of Public Health Committee

On Monday, the bill to authorize dental hygiene practitioners was reported favorably out of the Joint Committee on Public Health. The bill (reported as a new draft, S. 2076), sponsored by Sen. Majority Leader Harriette Chandler and Rep. Smitty Pignatelli, establishes a new mid-level dental provider that would help increase access to needed dental care across the Commonwealth. Read more »

Boston Globe Op Ed Supports Bill to Allow for Dental Hygiene Practitioners

Last Friday (Nov 25) the Boston Globe published an Op Ed by Harvard University Dentist Lisa Simon supporting legislation, introduced by state Senator Harriette Chandler and Representative Smitty Pignatelli, that would create a new mid-level dental provider: Dental Hygiene Practitioners.  Dr. Simon describes the overwhelming need for dental services she has seen in her years treating vulnerable populations, explaining “Dental clinics in Massachusetts are tremendously overburdened” with long wait times for dental care. Many find it difficult to locate a dentist at all.  “The suffering is... Read more »

Happy Denture Day

  Today marks a milestone in the 5-year effort to restore full oral health and dental benefits for adults on the MassHealth program. Today, MassHealth is restoring coverage for dentures (here's the official notice), another step along the road we hope leads to full coverage of all dental care. In 2010, the Governor eliminated almost all dental benefits for adults on the MassHealth program - over 700,000 people, including 120,000 very low-income seniors. The cut reversed a legislative directive to include all dental services for MassHealth members, included as part of the Romneycare law,... Read more »

HCFA's 2015-2016 PRIORITY LEGISLATION

With the new legislative session comes a host of new legislative ideas. HCFA worked with a diverse group of legislators in both the House and Senate to file a broad package of legislation. You can see a 2-page brief summary of each of our priority bills here. The proposed legislation include the following proposals: Read more »

Thanks, Senator Moore

In January, Massachusetts Senator Richard Moore, one of the strongest and most expert health care leaders in the Legislature, will be leaving the State House.  Read more »

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