A Healthy Blog

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

Public Health

The Health Case For Why We Should Maintain The Sales Tax on Alcohol

The Campaign for Addiction Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery, a broad coalition of organizations working on substance abuse and related issues, is working hard to urge House members to vote no today on amendment 43, which would repeal last year's statute removing the the sales tax exemption on alcohol. The vote is expected Tuesday morning or early afternoon. Call your Representative now! [UPDATE: The House defeated the amendment on a 67-82 vote. We thank those legislators who supported public health and voted against the amendment.] The campaign has released a detailed fact sheet explaining... Read more »

NAMI Raises Voice For Mental Health

The National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) had their annual lobby day at the State House on Monday. Consumers and advocates from across the state came to show their support for mental health services that are currently being offered in the state. Laurie Martinelli, Executive Director for NAMI, opened the event by sharing six recommendations for the state regarding mental health services. Budget cuts were a top priority at the lobby day, since so many mental health services are in jeopardy. One of focus of the day was Emergency Service Providers (ESP). ESP is a program that offers around... Read more »

Massachusetts Sets the Record for the Number of Flu Shots This Season

A state report released this past week indicated that Massachusetts led the country in the number of vaccinations against the seasonal flu and H1N1. 57% of the state’s population was vaccinated against the seasonal flu with 36% of individuals were inoculated against H1N1. Nationwide, only 37% of the population was immunized against the flu, and a meager 21% against H1N1. Close to two million doses of the H1N1 vaccine was distributed in the state of Massachusetts over the course of this past flu season. HCFA played its role, with our Helpline working with the Department of Health to increase... Read more »

Public Health Council to Look at Drug Store Clinics

The Public Health Council is meeting on Wednesday, March 10 from 9-12 a.m. at their usual location, 250 Washington Street, Boston, 2nd Floor (meeting agenda (pdf)). Included on the agenda are a summary of H1N1 activities and an update on Limited Service Clinics in Massachusetts. When limited service clinics (like CVS’s MinuteClinics) were approved in Massachusetts in 2007, there was much concern about the potential of a lack of coordinated care. The presentation should offer some insight on how the clinics and patients have fared over the past two years. -Mehreen Butt Read more »

DPH Releases Community Health Worker Study

Public health leaders and community health workers gathered yesterday at the State House, in celebration of the new Department of Public Health report on community health workers (CHWs) in Massachusetts (press release). The report highlights the effectiveness of CHW’s in assisting families with obtaining and maintaining health care coverage, engaging in prevention efforts, managing chronic disease, and coordinating health and social services. The report resulted from a study commissioned in the state’s 2006 Health Reform Law. Read more »

Helpline - Now With Flu Info, Too!

Health Care for All’s HelpLine and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health are teaming up to help answer your questions about H1N1 and the seasonal flu. Each of our counselors has been trained by infectious disease experts at DPH to give callers informed up-to-date information in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Mandarin. You may have heard that Massachusetts has recently received more than 3 million doses of the H1N1 flu vaccine. This means that there is plenty of vaccine for anyone who wants to protect themselves against the illness. It’s not too late to get your flu shot. In... Read more »

Public Health Council Meets Next Wednesday

DPH’s Public Health Council will be having their first monthly meeting of the New Year on Wednesday, January 13th, starting at 9:00 AM. There are two important items on the docket (pdf). First, Commissioner Auerbach will present this year’s Betsy Lehman Award for Patient Safety. Second, there will be a presentation on oral health in Massachusetts by the DentaQuest Foundation’s Ralph Fuccillo. Oral health is an essential part of overall health, and an essential part of the health reform conversation after threats to adult dental benefits for MassHealth members in the FY10 budget. Read more »

"Talkin bout the flu" - BPHC's Message You Can Dance To

From the always-cutting-edge Boston Public Health Commission: a way cool music video about flu prevention: The BPHC is also doing Facebook (www.facebook.com/HealthyBoston), a You Tube channel, and Twitter. Read more »

Thank you Nancy Ridley!

Nancy Ridley being congratulated by DPH Commissioner Auerbach The Public Health Council met on Wednesday for its monthly meeting. The Council meeting was the last time Nancy Ridley would present to the group, and as Commissioner Auerbach noted, “probably no person has come before the PHC as many times as Nancy.” Read more »

Great American Healthup

Massachusetts does it again! By thinking outside the box, the state has provided accessible tools for MassHealth adults to quit smoking, and the program has seen unprecedented success. Today, on the eve of the Great American Smokeout, the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program held and event at the State House to release data showing the significant health impact of the MassHealth cessation benefit. Read more »


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