A Healthy Blog

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

Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

Still More To Do: Blue Cross Foundation Report Shows Public Coverage In Mass Not As Good As Private [Updated]

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation released a report authored by Sharon K. Long and Thomas H. Dimmock of the Urban Institute that analyzes the 2013 Massachusetts Reform Survey by comparing the experience of adults with employer-sponsored insurance coverage (ESI) to adults with public coverage, mostly MassHealth, but some with Connector-sponsored coverage. Read more »

Two Upcoming Meetings: Western Mass Health Equity Summit; and MPHA Annual Meeting

Two wothwhile events coming up: First up, this Thursday, is the Western Massachusetts Health Equity Summit:  Read more »

Will There Be A "The Final Countdown" For Health Care This Year?

The Massachusetts formal legislative session ends every even-numbered year on July 31. So this Thursday is the last chance to pass major legislation before the session ends for the year (of course, there's still opportunities to pass non-controversial matters by unanimous consent in the informal sessions that will continue all year). Read more »

Health Disparities Bill Advancing in House

  The State House News Service reported on Friday that the House Ways and Means Committee is voting on legislation to create a permanent Office of Health Equity within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. 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 »

House Budget Debate: Call Now For MassHealth Dental Coverage and Staffing

This week starts the budget process in the state House of Representatives. For the next 3-4 days, the House will deal with some 888 amendments. The full budget and amendments are here.  You can also download the "Amendment Book" which has the amendments summarized and categorized by topic. I counted 49 in the Health and Human Services category, another 27 in the Mental Health and Disabilities category, and 58 in the Public Health category. That's a lot. 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 »

Congratulations, Sheriff Koutoujian

On Friday, Governor Patrick named State Representative Peter Koutoujian to serve as Middlesex County Sheriff. Koutoujian has been a consistent voice for health care, particularly public health. He is a recognized leader in the state on reducing health disparities. Read more »

43.5 Million Congratulations, Community Health Centers

Following through on its commitment to improve public health and bolster community health care facilities, last Friday the Obama Administration approved $43.5 million in federal grant funding to improve and expand eight community health centers throughout the Commonwealth. Massachusetts received the third largest allocation of funds out of 39 state recipients. The funds are part of a $727 million federal grant program, approved under the Affordable Care Act, which aims to build and renovate existing community health centers across the nation. Over 5 years, the Affordable Care Act provides $... Read more »

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