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

Public Health

A Public Health Conversation in Northeastern Mass.

Last night, 150 people gathered at the Greater Lawrence Technical School for the Northeast Massachusetts Regional Health Dialogue. The Commissioner of Inspectional Services for the City of Lawrence slipped up introducing MA Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach, welcoming the new commissioner from the Romney administration. “After four years it was habit,” he said. As attendees stated repeatedly through a three hour meeting, nothing seemed like old habit. Read more »

DPH to Host "Regional Dialogues" on Public Health Priorities

John Auerbach, the new and dynamic Commissioner of the MA Dept. of Public Health, is hosting a series of "regional dialogues" on public health priorities for the new Administration. Click here for the letter of invitation. Here's the list: CENTRAL Regional Dialogue Wednesday, May 30, 2007, 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM Quinsigamond Community College, Hebert Auditorium 670 West Boylston St., Worcester CAPE & ISLANDS Regional Dialogue Thursday, June 7, 2007, 4:00 to 6:00 PM Barnstable High School, Knight Auditorium, 744 West Main St., Hyannis METROWEST Regional Dialogue Thursday, June 21, 2007, 4:... Read more »

MA Dental Society Urges Members to Become MassHealth Providers

Kudos to the Massachusetts Dental Society. At its Annual House of Delegates meeting on 5/11/07, the Society officially approved a resolution encouraging all its 4,000+ active members to enroll in the MassHealth (Medicaid) dental program. “Today, the Massachusetts Dental Society has taken the important step of approving a resolution encouraging member dentists to participate in the MassHealth dental program,” says Dr. Andrea Richman, president of the MDS. “Reducing some of the barriers in obtaining dental care is critical to the overall health of every citizen. Read more »

Rep. Jim McGovern + Others Living on Food Stamp Budget -- $3 per day

Here's something noteworthy: U.S. Reps Jim McGovern (D-MA), Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Tim Ryan (D-OH) have pledged to live on an average food stamp budget -- just $3 a day -- from May 15-21, 2007 and have invited other Members of Congress to join them in the Food Stamp Challenge. The spouses of Reps. McGovern and Emerson will also be taking the challenge. A number of advocate groups and Congressional staff are also expected to take part. Members of Congress are living on a food stamp budget for one week in order to raise visibility and understanding around the... Read more »

Gov. Patrick Names New Public Health Council Members

For a long time, Sen. Dick Moore was a one-man band banging a drum for a beefed up State Public Health Council, and finally got his way when Gov. Patrick signed legislation in January to re-organize the Council. Today, Gov. Patrick appointed 10 individuals to the Council, and we have to say, we're impressed. Kudos to Dick Moore for setting this in motion. Kudos to Gov. Patrick for a set of stellar appointments. The reconstituted council is set to meet next Wednesday when it will hear a stem cell research presentation from Dr. David Scadden, director of the Mass General Center for... Read more »

A Great Move at the Boston Public Health Commission

While we were thrilled to see John Auerbach named the new MA Commissioner of Public Health, we were concerned about the future leadership of the Boston Public Health Commission which Auerbach led expertly for about nine years. No more. Mayor Thomas M. Menino has asked the board of the Boston Public Health Commission to approve Barbara Ferrer as executive director. Barbara is completing her second year as headmaster at Parkway Academy of Technology and Health in West Roxbury. Prior to that, she served as Auerbach's able deputy. Barbara has a long track record in public health and health... Read more »

John Auerbach Chosen New DPH Commissioner

Gov. Patrick and EOHHS Sect. JudyAnn Bigby have selected John Auerbach to be the new Commissioner of MA Department of Public Health, the Boston Globe's blog reports. Auerbach is the first and only executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission for the past nine years. Prior to that, he ran the AIDS Bureau at Mass. DPH. John is a first rate guy, a solid administrator with vision and guts. This is a first rate appointment, and we congratulate the Patrick Administration and John on this great news. DPH is making a comeback. Read more »

First Look at Patrick’s First Budget

The Governor and his capable Secretary of Administration and Finance, Leslie Kirwan, impressed many political observers by producing a budget that addresses a $1.3 billion budget gap, while largely fulfilling his campaign commitments to local aid relief, education and public safety. Patrick also made great strides over his predecessors by including in his budget explanations of each line item, as well as many spreadsheets detailing the spending history in various funding areas. The Governor, Secretary Kirwan and the agency heads also followed through on the Governor’s commitment to... Read more »

Patrick Budget Plan to Invest in Public Health

Here's smart, good news from the Patrick Administration: Massachusetts public health programs including those focused on children and disease prevention will receive a $72 million boost in the Fiscal Year 2008 state budget Governor Deval L. Patrick will file on Wednesday. The funding represents a 15 percent increase over the Fiscal Year 2007 budget. Under the Patrick/Murray administration's leadership, funding for Early Intervention Services, the Universal Immunization Program, and Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Services at the Department of Public Health will all be expanded. "These... Read more »

Would You Like to Serve on the MA-DPH Public Health Council?

Chapter 1 of the Acts of 2007 reorganizes the Public Health Council of the MA Department of Public Health and gives several non-governmental groups, including HCFA, the obligation to nominate three individuals for PHC membership, from whom the Governor may pick one. We've been informed we need to name our nominees in a big hurry. So we're inviting you to nominate yourself or someone else for our consideration no later than next Monday, 2/12/07. The Council meets monthly for about two hours -- 3rd Tuesday at 10am. It approves new DPH regs, determination of need requests, and other official DPH... Read more »

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