Mass Health and Human Services Blog

Making Massachusetts a better place to live

Category Archives: Health Care Access, Quality and Affordability

American Heart Month and the ACA Posted on Feb 3

American Heart Month and the ACA

While many American’s view the heart as the symbol of love in February, the true celebration of American Heart Month is a call to all American’s to take charge of your heart health. Cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, is   …Continue Reading American Heart Month and the ACA

Next Phase Launch of Mass HIway Posted on Jan 8

Next Phase Launch of Mass HIway

Today, Governor Deval Patrick launched the next phase of the Mass Health Information Exchange, known as the Mass HIway. Joining Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz and health care leaders at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), Holyoke Medical Center, Tufts Medical Center and Atrius Health, the Governor demonstrated   …Continue Reading Next Phase Launch of Mass HIway

Manu Tandon, HHS CIO, Named to Computerworld Premier 100 Posted on Jan 5

Manu Tandon, HHS CIO, Named to Computerworld Premier 100

Manu Tandon, Secretariat Chief Information Officer at the Executive office of Health and Human services, was named one of the Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leaders of the World. The Premier 100 program was created in 2000 to spotlight individuals who have had a positive impact   …Continue Reading Manu Tandon, HHS CIO, Named to Computerworld Premier 100

2nd Annual Stephanie Moulton Symposium a Legacy and a Tribute Posted on Dec 13

2nd Annual Stephanie Moulton Symposium a Legacy and a Tribute

This week the mental health community came together for the 2nd Stephanie Moulton Symposium at the John F. Kennedy Library on Tuesday with a turnout of more than 400 direct care workers, staff and consumers.  We gather for this annual training event to honor Stephanie   …Continue Reading 2nd Annual Stephanie Moulton Symposium a Legacy and a Tribute

A message from Secretary Polanowicz: Happy Thanksgiving! Posted on Nov 28

A message from Secretary Polanowicz: Happy Thanksgiving!

As you prepare to join your friends and families to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, I want to share a great experience from an event yesterday that embodies the spirit of this holiday, and the mission of our secretariat. Yesterday, I was proud to join Boston   …Continue Reading A message from Secretary Polanowicz: Happy Thanksgiving!

Affordable Care Act Grant Improves Access to Community Health Posted on Nov 21

Affordable Care Act Grant Improves Access to Community Health

Recently, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced that $3.5 million in new funding for Massachusetts to improve access to health care in under-served areas, bringing primary care closer to home across the Commonwealth. The new funding will be used at six Community Health Centers serving   …Continue Reading Affordable Care Act Grant Improves Access to Community Health

It’s Time to Talk About Mental Illness Posted on Oct 10

It’s Time to Talk About Mental Illness

Everywhere across the globe today, people are celebrating World Mental Health Day. It’s a day for everyone to come together and talk about mental illness, mental health, and what we can do to acknowledge mental health conditions as diseases that can be treated. For people   …Continue Reading It’s Time to Talk About Mental Illness

Secretary Polanowicz Announces: Posted on Oct 7

Secretary Polanowicz Announces:

A Message from Secretary Polanowicz Today I’m pleased to announce Kristin Thorn as Medicaid Director and Olga Roche as Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Please join me in congratulating Kristin and Olga in their new positions. Medicaid Director – Kristin Thorn   …Continue Reading Secretary Polanowicz Announces:

Top 10 Reasons Why the Affordable Care Act if Good For Massachusetts Posted on Sep 30

Top 10 Reasons Why the Affordable Care Act if Good For Massachusetts

#10: Creates new protections to ensure your insurance plan covers you when you need it. Massachusetts already has strong insurance protections and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) enhances these protections by eliminating limits on the amount of benefits you can receive.
#9: Expands Coverage for Young Adults. Young Adults will be able to stay on their parent’s coverage until age 26.
#8: Strengthens the primary care system, while supporting community health centers. The ACA has already provided more than $130 million to community health centers in Massachusetts to strengthen their programs, while expanding access to primary care for community members.
#7: Reduces childhood obesity and tobacco use. The Department of Public Health is using ACA grants to improve emergency medical services to children, reduce childhood obesity, and encourage tobacco cessation.
#6: Rewards quality of care, rather than quantity. Supports the goals of the Commonwealth’s 2012 cost containment law by promoting the formation of Accountable Care Organizations that reward quality and efficiency of care, rather than the quantity of care.
#5: Makes prescription drug coverage more affordable for seniors. Closes the “donut hole” gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage. Nearly 60,000 seniors in Massachusetts saved an average of $667 each on prescription drugs in 2012, and will save more as the donut hole is closed completely.
#4: Covers preventive health services with no co-pay. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, most health plans must cover a set of preventive services like shots, smoking cessation incentives, and cancer screening tests at no cost to the consumer. This will help increase access to critical preventative care on the short term, and save lives in the long run.
#3: Provides tax credits to small businesses and increased coverage for employees.
Establishes tax credits for certain small employers to make it more affordable to cover their employees, which can be combined with additional wellness rebates through the Health Connector. Very low-income employees who cannot afford their employer’s coverage will become newly eligible for MassHealth, without any penalty for employers.
#2: Ensures affordable coverage for more middle income families. The ACA extends health subsidies to those with incomes from 300% up to 400% of the federal poverty level (approx. $46,000 for an individual) making health insurance affordable for more low-and-middle-income families.
#1: Builds on the success of Massachusetts health reform. The ACA puts into place comprehensive reforms that will improve access to care and establish new protections for patients, while directing billions to Massachusetts to help enhance our already nation-leading coverage. Overall, the Commonwealth will benefit substantially from the ACA.

May is Mental Health Month: Take the Hero of Hope Pledge! Posted on May 10

May is Mental Health Month: Take the Hero of Hope Pledge!

Since 1949, May has been officially recognized as Mental Health Month.  The first Thursday in May is celebrated as Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, to raise awareness about the importance of children's mental health and that positive mental health is essential to a child's healthy   …Continue Reading May is Mental Health Month: Take the Hero of Hope Pledge!