A Healthy Blog

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

Public Health

The Public Health Council Meets Wednesday

The Public Health Council meets on Wednesday at 9 AM. Click here for the agenda. We’re looking forward to the presentation on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS). Come back here to read more about the presentation. Read more »

Act Today To Protect Pharma/Med Device Gift Ban!

The Gift Ban, which prevents drug and device companies from wining-and-dining doctors to get them to prescribe expensive brand-name drugs, is in jeopardy! The House will vote today a provision (section 105 of H. 4820), which would entirely repeal the gift ban and disclosure law by striking Chapter 111N. Please call your Representative today and ask them to support amendment #45, which will strike this provision. The Boston Globe calls the gift ban "one of the smartest steps Massachusetts has taken to get health costs under control." • The gift ban prevents drug and medical devices companies... Read more »

Call Your Senator - Like a Zombie, Smoking in Casinos Issue Coming Back To Life

State House News Service is reporting that some in Senate leadership are looking to reverse the 24-15 vote yesterday to ban smoking in Massachusetts casinos. The Senate paused their gambling debate for the day just before 5 pm Friday without taking a final vote. The Senate will be returning for a rare Saturday session to continue working on the bill. For the Senate to cave to the tobacco lobby and permit smoking in casinos would be a major step backwards in our efforts to advance public health. We urge everyone to call their Senator and ask him or her to oppose allowing smoking in casinos.... Read more »

Public Health Council Accedes to Federal Restaurant Calorie Labeling Requirement

We've always been proud of Massachusetts exceptionalism. As a long-time national leader in public health and health access, we often insist on going first, pushing the boundary to make advances in health policy. Massachusetts acts as a test bed for health policy, with national policy catching up later. Another example of that played out last week, as DPH's Public Health Council met last Wednesday to discuss new regulations pertaining to food establishments, biomedical waste, and collaborative drug therapy management. The Council also heard a presentation on the status and progress of... Read more »

Rally for Substance Abuse Funding; Against Alcohol Tax Repeal

The Campaign for Addiction Prevention, Treatment and Recovery held a rally on Tuesday at the State House. The Campaign celebrated the inclusion of a Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Fund in both the House and Senate FY2011 budget proposals, which would direct revenues from the sales tax on alcohol to the dedicated fund. The additional funding would supplement existing funding for a comprehensive continuum of substance abuse care. The fund would help support critical substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery support services for 100,000 individuals throughout Massachusetts. Read more »

Close the Tobacco “Candy” Loophole

Today's guest blog post is by HCFA partner Russet Morrow Breslau, Executive Director, Tobacco Free Mass: In 2008, the state increased the cigarette tax by $1 per pack, to a total of $2.51. But the tax on kid-friendly, inexpensive other tobacco products (OTP) remained level. And tobacco products like fruit-flavored chew, minty tobacco suckers, and candy-flavored cheap cigars are the latest way kids are getting addicted to nicotine. Is it any wonder that Massachusetts’ youth are now using these products at a higher rate than cigarettes? Read more »

Public Health Council Meeting Wednesday

The Public Health Council will have their May meeting (agenda) this Wednesday at 9 am. Among the topics to be discussed, the Council will look at implementation of a limited ban on Bisphenol-A (BPA) in children’s food and beverage containers, and receive a presentation on “Birth Outcomes in Massachusetts: Trends and DPH Responses.” Tuesday evening, join Chair of the Public Health Council, Commissioner John Auerbach, as he receives one of this year's awards from Health Care For All at their 2010 For the People: A Celebration of Health Care Leaders dinner. Learn more about the event here. Read more »

Our Water's Back - Thanks Gov't

ONE Massachusetts Project Director Yawu Miller has a thoughtful blog post putting the water pipe break in context: "The public systems that ensure that this water is inspected and safe and the public structures that collect, convey and clean the water are invisible to us. Out of sight, out of mind. The water system is the perfect metaphor for the challenges we face in making the case for government." Read more »

We need YOU to combat the obesity epidemic – Act FRESH

[Our guest blogger below is Valerie Bassett from the Massachusetts Public Health Association. We thank Valerie for the work of MPHA and look forward to active participation in their campaign] We’ve all heard the stats: Read more »

House Approves Asthma Global Payment Pilot

Asthma is the leading cause of emergency room visits and hospitalizations for children covered by Medicaid. The majority of these are preventable and now we are one step closer to a substantial reduction in these incidents. On Tuesday the House approved a budget amendment that will help providers and families better manage pediatric asthma. Read more »


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