A Healthy Blog

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

Public Health

Study: 1 in 10 Suicides Linked to Chronic Illness

Researchers at the British think-tank Demos released an eye-opening study this week, entitled the “Truth About Suicide.” The conclusion: at least 10 percent of suicides in Britain are linked to terminal or chronic illness. Demos wanted to challenge the idea that taking one’s life was strictly about a patient’s mental health rather than physical health. Researchers stated that patients with chronic or terminal illness “should be considered a high risk group for suicide within national policy, and much greater attention should be given to providing better medical, practical, and psychological... Read more »

An Ounce of Prevention IS Worth a Pound of Cure- Health Affairs Study Links Increased Public Health Spending to Measurable Health Improvements

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Yes, it's so cliché, but it intuitively makes sense for health care; if we take care of ourselves today, we’ll save big by avoiding huge medical bills tomorrow. This is the basic premise of public health, whereby investing in widespread prevention efforts will prevent sickness in thousands of people, and save millions of dollars in future medical expenses. Yet our health care system highly rewards the life-saving medical services that treat people once they’re already sick, and invests little in cost-effective public health programs.... Read more »

Women's Preventive Care Gets Support

One of the most well received provisions of the Affordable Care Act has been the requirement that new health plans cover recommended preventive health services at no cost to plan members. Last summer, the US Health and Human Services issued a list of recommended services that includes mammograms, colonoscopies, blood pressure checks, and childhood immunizations which are now fully covered by new health plans. Today, HHS has added to this list, releasing new guidelines that specifically address the unique health needs of women. Read more »

Massachusetts Receives Failing Mark on Public Health Report Card

A report card (pdf) released today delivers some discouraging news about Massachusetts public health. Read more »

The Need for Prevention in Payment Reform: Evidence for Reducing Costs & Improving Health Outcomes

A room full of legislators, researchers, and advocates gathered at the State House on Tuesday, May 3, to discuss the importance of including community-based prevention in any payment reform measure in order to improve the health of children and families and reduce the medical costs that have been crowding out other spending (see pictures). “By putting inexpensive prevention measures in place, Massachusetts can save billions in health care costs over the next decade,” said Urban Institute Fellow Dr. Read more »

Community-Based Prevention Essential Part For Health Care Cost Reform

For payment reform to succeed, it must include a renewed investment in community-based prevention. Please join us tomorrow (Tuesday, May 3), where the Massachusetts Public Health Association, Health Care For All, Boston Public Health Commission, and Health Resources In Action will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. at the State House, Room 437 to discuss how medical costs can be significantly reduced by focusing on community-based prevention (see moredetails here). Read more »

House Budget: Good News/Bad News/Good News

Some items from day 2 of the House budget debate and votes on amendments: Read more »

Legislative Prevention Caucus Unveiled

Community leaders in public health and prevention, including EOHHS Secretary JudyAnn Bigby, doctors at the frontlines of providing care, and public health experts, met at the State House this morning to celebrate the launch of the Prevention for Health Caucus, chaired by Senator Harriette Chandler and Representative Jason Lewis, and to stress the vital need for health promotion and prevention efforts here in Massachusetts. The takeaway message of the event was: Prevention efforts must be included in upcoming health care payment reform. Reiterated by all the speakers this morning was the... Read more »

Packed Room for MPHA Act FRESH Campaign Kickoff

Room 222 was packed shoulder to shoulder with officials, advocates and citizens, as people joined together at the State House with the Act FRESH leadership team on Monday, February 7th to introduce the Act FRESH campaign (website and report (pdf) Dr. Howard Koh, Former DPH Commissioner and now Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Massachusetts EOHHS Secretary JudyAnn Bigby, along with many other officials, spoke about the importance of improving access to affordable, healthy food and safe public space for physical activity. Valerie Bassett,... Read more »

Act FRESH - New Voices for Public health

[Guest blog by MPHA Executive Director Valerie Bassett to introduce their Act FRESH (FResh Environments Support Health campaign, kicking off Monday] Massachusetts spends close to $2 billion a year on obesity-related medical costs, and loses another $17 billion annually on expenses tied to lost productivity due to diet-related illness. The design of our communities and built environments exacerbate the problem. The easy availability of unhealthy food as compared with healthy offerings; the lack of safe spaces in which to be physically active; and radically sedentary lifestyles are all key... Read more »


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