A Healthy Blog

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

Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

HCFA Announces 2008 Community Leader Awardees

HCFA is pleased to announce this year’s recipients of our Community Leader Awards. These awards honor leaders make a difference in improving health and health care in their communities through outstanding advocacy, organizing and other means. The awards will be presented at this year’s Policy and Organizing Conference -- click here for info and registration. This year’s Community Leader Award recipients are… Lisa Vinikoor, Community Organizer for the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, for her tireless advocacy and organizing, constantly traveling the state to help individuals and... Read more »

Sect. Bigby Testifies on FY09 EOHHS Budget and a Lot More

Lots and lots of interesting details from this State House News Service account of MA Health & Human Services Sect. JudyAnn Bigby's testimony this past Friday on the Adminstration's FY09 budget proposal for Health & Human Services: FRANKLIN, FEB. 15, 2008…..Reprising Gov. Deval Patrick’s warning to lawmakers of the “cost of inaction,” Health and Human Service Secretary JudyAnn Bigby said on Friday the governor’s budget is a mix of cuts, reforms, efficiencies and targeted investments that lay the groundwork for economic growth. “Failing to make these targeted investments will weaken... Read more »

Legislative Hearing on Status of Black Men

Yesterday, Sen. Dianne Wilkerson sponsored a hearing on legislation to create a permanent commission on the status of black men in Massachusetts. The legislation (Senate 2182) was heard by the Joint Committee on Children, Families and persons with Disabilities, with a packed hearing room of advocates, providers, and academics concerned with the issue. Testimony was delivered by Harvard Law Prof. Charles Ogletree and Schott Foundation Pres. John Jackson, who highlighted disparities in education by race and gender that lead to higher rates of incarceration and violence among young black men.... Read more »

Disparities Action Network Hosts Legislative Briefing

The Disparities Action Network and Representative Byron Rushing hosted a health disparities briefing today in the State House. More than 75 persons packed the Member’s Lounge to view video clips following two diverse patients through their difficult experiences with the medical care system, and discussed the issue with an expert panel. Experts included Dr. Joseph Betancourt of the MGH Disparities Solution Centers, Meghan Patterson of the Boston Public Health Commission, Dr. Howard Koh of the Harvard School of Public Health, and Dr. Michele David of the Boston Medical Center. Rep. Rushing and... Read more »

HCFA's Camille Watson and the DAN Get National Recognition

So a good-sized contingent of HCFA folks have been down in DC for a large chunk of this week at the annual conference of Families USA, the national consumer advocacy organization. On Friday, they gave out their annual awards and recognitions to community activists across the nation. This year, one of their three awardees was HCFA's Camille Watson, coordinator of the Disparities Action Network, the Massachusetts policy coalition dedicated to promoting public action to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities. Timing was great because on Wednesday, Gov. Patrick unveiled his budget plan... Read more »

Patrick Budget -- Good News on Health

Governor Deval Patrick issued his budget proposal today, with lots of good news for health care access, disparities, and other health concerns. The budget is online here, with more public details and more transparency than any other budget in state history. A summary of the health reform-related initiatives is here. The Mass Budget and Policy Center produced a thoughtful rapid analysis of the overall budget (see it here). Here are a few of the key points: Read more »

AG Coakley Names New Community Benefits Task Force

Attorney General Martha Coakley has set up a new Advisory Task Force on Community Benefits to review the AG Community Benefits Program. The task force held its first meeting yesterday and will consider ways to advance issues such as racial and ethnic health disparities and recommendations to streamline reporting requirements. “The new health reform law presents a unique opportunity to evaluate how our non-profit heath care institutions are responding to the needs of the underserved,” said Coakley. “Our Office has asked key stakeholders and public health experts from across the Commonwealth... Read more »

Disparities Council to Meet 1/15/08 at SH -- Oops/Cancelled

The next (second) meeting of the Council on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities is scheduled for Tuesday, January 15, 11am to 1pm, in the Members Lounge, State House. The meeting is public, and observers are welcome. Contact Matthew Martin in Senator Dianne Wilkerson’s office (617-722-1673), to rsvp. This just in -- 2:30pm: Dear Colleagues: The Health Disparities Council meeting originally scheduled for January 15, 2008 in at 11:00AM has been canceled until further notice. We will be in touch shortly with a new date, time and place. Read more »

Health Insurance and Cancer Survival

A new study shows that uninsured persons are more likely to die from cancer within the first five years after diagnosis than their privately insured counterparts. Click here for information on the study provided by the American Cancer Society which is doing first rate work making universal health insurance their top priority issue. The results of this study more than justify their prioritization of this issue -- and ACS has taken more than their share of knocks for doing this. Read more »

State Disparities Council Meets for First Time

The first meeting of the Council on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities established under Chapter 58, took place yesterday, on December 18th. Convened by Senator Dianne Wilkerson, the meeting was the first gathering of the 36 members appointed to the council, for ongoing investigation of health disparities in Massachusetts. Members discussed logistics of the council moving forward and established goals for the council of a) implementing the recommendations of the State Commission to End Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities and b) providing a disparities lens to the implementation of the new... Read more »


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