A Healthy Blog

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

Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

Transportation Reform for the Public Health

While not traditionally discussed in health policy circles, transportation is a key determinant of health outcomes. Transportation policies affect more than the just the ways that people travel, but influence the distribution of goods and services, exposures to pollution, opportunities for physical activity, and other health related matters. Communities that lack good transportation systems face many barriers to good health, including: Poor access to health care institutions, pharmacies, and grocery stores; Unsafe conditions for physical activities such as walking and bicycling; Harmful... Read more »

7/27 Health Disparities Council Meeting

The Health Disparities Council will hold its monthly meeting on Monday July 27th from 2pm-4pm ( 21st floor of One Ashburton Place). The meeting agenda is as follows: Approve last month’s minutes Updates: Framework Group Report Card Group Interpreter Services Group Commission Recommendations Status Presentation: Provider Cultural Competency Presentation: Board of Registration in Medicine Announcements : No August meeting Read more »

Temporary Reprieve for Legal Immigrants in CommCare, Budget Saga Continues

Neil Cronin from the Mass Law Reform Institute shares an update on coverage for legal immigrants: “Finally there's some good news to report on the continuing saga of special status legal immigrants. Because the state legislature has thus far failed to act on Gov. Patrick's proposed alternative plan to cover the 30,000 legal immigrants slated to be cut from CommCare, the status quo is maintained. At least for the month of August, the immigrant cut will not take effect. Full CommCare benefits will remain available to the 30,000 legal immigrants who received a warning notice telling them that... Read more »

Disparities Council Meets in Preparation for Grading the Commonwealth

On Monday June 22, the Massachusetts Health Disparities Council held its monthly meeting. The meeting comprised of legislators, providers, and health care groups from across the state was chaired by Senator Susan Fargo and Representative Byron Rushing. Read more »

Health Equity for All

On Tuesday, the legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Health held a hearing for nearly 20 bills relating to access to care and health disparities. In front of a buzzing Gardner Auditorium, over one hundred health care advocates, community members, physicians, and legislators filled the hearing room. Among this crowd were members of the Disparities Action Network (DAN) who stood out wearing “Invest in Equity” stickers as they offered testimony in support of S. 810, An Act to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities in the Commonwealth and S. 811, An Act to Establish Community Based... Read more »

June 9th Public Health Committee Hearing on Health Disparities

On Tuesday June 9, 2009 at 10:00 am, the Joint Committee on Public Health Hearing will consider health disparities bills including the Disparities Action Network's two legislative priorities, SB. 810 and SB. 811. Please join us and advocate for health equity at this important public hearing. Click here to view the Committee Invitation (.pdf) from Senate Chair Susan Fargo and House Chair Representative Sanchez. Read more »

May Health Disparities Council Meeting

Early last week, the Commonwealth’s Health Disparities Council held its monthly meeting to continue their work on creating policies to reduce health disparities among Massachusetts residents. Since the Senate was in the midst of addressing their version of the FY10 budget, the meeting was chaired by Rep. Rushing and Sec. Bigby in the absence of Senator Fargo. The Report Card Group provided an update to the Council on its work thus far and presented a timeline for moving forward. The indicators they presented that are schedule to be included in the first draft of the report card are based on... Read more »

Bookmark This: BCBS MA Foundation Launches Impressive New Website

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation is launching their new website today: BlueCrossFoundation.org. We think it’s great, we want you to take a look at it, too. The website is user-friendly and chock-full of valuable information about the Massachusetts health care world and the Foundation’s work. The site has information about the grants the Foundation funds and helpful FAQ for organizations interested in applying for grants. The site allows viewers to watch stories of real people helped by MA health reform in the “Voices of Reform” section. Viewers can watch interviews with... Read more »

Watch, and then Call: "There's Nothing More Hurtful And Regressive Than A Budget Cut"

First, please watch the video below, highlights from today's inspirational, packed "Stop The Cuts" rally at the State House. The speakers include Harris Gruman of SEIU and the Stop the Cuts Coalition; Lisa Wong, Mayor of Fitchburg; John Bennett of Mass Senior Action; and Lynn Norris of Neighbor to Neighbor. Next, call your State Senator (not sure who that is? look it up here) and urge him or her to support expanded revenues and HCFA's key budget amendments to restore critical health care programs. The Senate will be starting its budget debate on Tuesday. Among the Senate budget amendments... Read more »

House Budget - Amendments Strengthen Health Programs

The House started the week with a budget with appropriations at $27.44 billion, with $19.53 billion from taxes. On Monday, the House voted to increase the sales tax from 5% to 6.25%, bringing in an additional $900 million. They voted to allocate $205 million of those additional funds towards local aid. The left over amount has been used throughout the week for consolidated line item amendments. HCFA’s coalitions continued to advocate for vital state funded programs. The week had both good and bad news. On Tuesday, the House recognized the importance of children’s mental health by... Read more »

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