A Healthy Blog

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

Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

House Budget Day 2 Recap

Thanks to Representative Ruth Balser, chair of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee, yesterday the House restored funding to the Massachusetts Children's Psychiatric Access Project (MCPAP). MCPAP helps address the shortage of child psychiatrists in Massachusetts by providing phone consultations to pediatricians’ offices. MCPAP has been overwhelmingly successful since its creation. Currently, more than 96% of all pediatricians participate in the program. Representative Balser has been a tireless leader on children’s mental health issues and is the lead sponsor of S. 2518, An Act... Read more »

Report Looks at Disparities Policy Activities in Five State (including MA)

The Commonwealth Fund, the Opportunity Agenda and Families USA have released a new report, Identifying and Evaluating Equity Provisions in State Health Care Reform. The report identifies state-level policies that promote equitable health care access and quality for all populations, evaluates existing laws, regulations, and reform proposals in five states-Massachusetts, Washington, California, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. Good overview and discussion of Massachusetts initiatives. Read more »

AG Releases '07 Hospital Community Benefit Reports

MA Attorney General Martha Coakley today released the 2007 Community Benefit Hospital Reports. Last year, Massachusetts hospitals provided over $271 million in community benefits programs to Massachusetts residents as part of this voluntary program. All non-profit acute care hospitals are asked to submit their community benefits reports to the Attorney General’s Office annually by February 28th. ... Read more »

Why an Office of Health Equity?

In his FY09 budget plan, Gov. Patrick proposed creation of an Office of Health Equity to be located in the Executive Office of Health & Human Services. The House budget plan released last week did not include this item. We hope the House will reconsider this omission and approve establishment of the Office. Why is this so important? The purpose of the Office is to establish a badly-needed focal point for state efforts to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities. Disparities elimination is recognized as one the major challenges facing our health system. The most prominent recognition... Read more »

House Ways & Means Releases FY09 Budget Plan

The House Committee on Ways and Means released its FY09 budget proposal today. The $27.9B budget includes $100M+ in cost savings. At today’s press conference, Chairman Robert DeLeo said his number one priority was to keep the state’s commitment to cities and towns. DeLeo said his Committee went through the budget line by line to ensure that cuts didn’t “cripple” specific agencies or hurt the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens. DeLeo addressed the need for new revenue, citing the cigarette tax recently passed in the House. DeLeo said this budget will “lay the groundwork for the... Read more »

HCFA's Fifth Policy & Organizing Conference This Friday!

HCFA's 5th Annual Policy and Organizing Conference will be held this Friday! The day will be packed with informative and interesting events, including a keynote address from A&F Secretary (and Connector Board Chair) Leslie Kirwan on cost control, a Community Organizer panel who will address the intersections of policy and organizing, and a ton of workshops on today’s most important healthcare issues. Check out the day’s agenda and a list of conference workshops. Online registration is closed, but you can still register on-site. Read more »

New Chartbook on Racial & Ethnic Health Disparities

The Commonweath Fund has just released a valuable and accessible chartbook on racial and ethnic health disparities in the United States -- Racial and Ethnic Disparities in US Health Care: A Chartbook -- including these sections: The Demographics of America highlights the changes in the United States' population. It presents information on the population by race/ethnicity, income, and language. Disparities in Health Status and Mortality addresses disparities in a number of the focus areas of the Healthy People 2010 Initiative. Disparities in Access to Health Care offers a picture of the... Read more »

Step by Step: Progress on Addressing Health Disparities

Yesterday, the Joint Committee on Public Health favorably reported HB 2234, An Act to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities in the Commonwealth. The omnibus legislation was filed by Rep. Byron Rushing in January 2007 and heard by the Committee in May 2007. Rep. Rushing has been a key leader in the fight to eliminate disparities, working with the Disparities Action Network (DAN) and the Patrick Administration to advance health disparities policy. Massachusetts continues to make real progress on this issue, with several efforts coming together over the last two years. Governor Patrick’... Read more »

Join the Boston Premiere of "Unnatural Causes"

Join Boston Mayor Tom Menino for the Boston premiere of Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? This groundbreaking documentary film explores how social conditions in which we are born, live and work profoundly affect our health. Boston has been selected as one of six national premiere sites to view this forthcoming series and the Boston Public Health Commission is hosting this event in partnership with the MA Department of Public Health, film producers at Vital Pictures, the California Newsreel and WGBH public broadcasting. View the first hour of this groundbreaking series with... Read more »

Why an Office of Health Equity?

As debate begins on the Governor’s FY 09 budget, some have questioned Gov. Patrick’s proposal to create an Office of Health Equity at the Executive Office of Health & Human Services. The Disparities Action Network responds. Read more »


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