A Healthy Blog

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

Public Health

DPH Announces Historic Prevention Trust Grants

Huge news. Today the Department of Public Health announced the first grant awards to nine recipientsfrom the $60 million Massachusetts Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund. This marks a historic milestone in Massachusetts health reform, as we expand our focus on preventing disease and keeping people healthy. The awards will focus on combating tobacco use, pediatric asthma, hypertension, and falls among older adults. According to DPH, the nine partnerships will serve a total of 978,000 people, with a focus on reducing health disparities based on race, ethnicity, income, and other factors. Health... Read more »

Congratulations to Rebekah Gewirtz, New MPHA Executive Director

HCFA congratulates Rebekah Gewirtz, who was named yesterday as the head of the Mass Public Health Association. Rebekah has been a long-time friend and ally of HCFA through her work with the state Association of Social Workers. She's been an active leader in the ACT!! Coalition, and she and HCFA have collaborated on many projects over many years. She'll bring a strong strategic vision and commitment to effective action on public health. We look forward to a continued close partnership with MPHA on our many shared priorities. Here's the MPHA announcement, from their board chair Steven Bradley: Read more »

Public Health Council Meets Tomorrow

The Public Health Council is meeting tomorrow (Wednesday 10/16) at the Department of Public Health, 250 Washington Street, 2nd floor. See the agenda here (pdf). Topics to be covered include draft regulations on information for patients about palliative care and end-of-life care options (required under Chapter 224) and final regulations relating to pediatric immunization and BMI reporting on school children. Meetings are open to the public.-Deb Wachenheim Read more »

Tobacco Tax Increased Today: Win - Win - Win - Win .... (how many wins do you want?)

Today Massachusetts increased its tobacco taxes, on both cigarettes and other forms of tobacco. Back when the legislature was debating tobacco taxes in the 1990s, one legislator called it a win-win policy, and another responded that it was a win-win-win proposal. Then Senator Mark Montigny proclaimed it was "win-win-win-win." We agree. How many wins do you want? Read more »

Senate Budget Debate Starts Wednesday - Here's Our Amendment Recommendations

Tomorrow the state Senate will begin debating its version of the state budget for fiscal year 2014, which begins on July 1. Like the House budget did, the Senate Ways and Means version starts out with a strong commitment to building on the state's health coverage reforms through implementation of the ACA, and some substantial deficiencies in funding for health care programs. The best overview of the Senate budget comes, of course, from the Mass Budget and Policy Center. The overview notes the continued decline in support for public health: Read more »

People With Disabilities And Others: Please Fill Out This Survey From Mass DPH

[From Mass DPH:] Help influence health care in Massachusetts. The Health and Disability Program, part of Office of Health Equity at the MA Department of Public Health (DPH) is conducting a health needs survey for people with disabilities in Massachusetts. The Office of Health Equity promotes the health and well being of minority populations, including people with disabilities throughout the Commonwealth. Results from the survey will be used to determine how best to address the current public health needs of the disability community. Read more »

Wellness Plan Tax Break Advances

The Public Health Council at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health today voted in favor of an emergency regulation to enact a tax credit incentive for small businesses which create wellness plans for their employees. In encouraging preventative health measures within the workplace, the initiative promises savings to premiums, overall savings in costs, as well as “softer” savings in areas such as motivation and productivity. Read more »

Elizabeth Warren Named to US Senate Health Committee

Today the US Senate majority Democrats announced their committee assignments for the next Congress. While lots of attention was heaped on the appointment of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to the Banking Committee, we were thrilled to learn that she also was named to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, usually called the HELP Committee. Read more »

MPHA Conference: Celebrating and Moving Ahead

The Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) held its annual conference in Westborough today. Lots of happenings, so I'll just hit the high notes. This was the first major public event for MPHA's new Executive Director, Toby Fisher. Toby is a long-time friend of many of HCFA, having headed NAMI Massachusetts and recently working with SEIU. HCFA is looking forward to continuing our partnership with MPHA under Toby's leadership. Senator Richard Moore and Representative Steven Walsh received MPHA's legislative leadership award for their tireless work on payment reform legislation over... Read more »

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