Mass Health and Human Services Blog

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Category Archives: Health care

LGBT Health Awareness Week Posted on Mar 31

LGBT Health Awareness Week

This past week marked the 11th Annual LGBT Health Awareness Week, a nationwide event that promotes the unique health and wellness needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. This week, we highlight the progress our Commonwealth and the country has made to   …Continue Reading LGBT Health Awareness Week

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

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

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.

Happy Birthday, Affordable Care Act! Posted on Mar 22

Happy Birthday, Affordable Care Act!

By Ann Hwang, Director of Health Care Policy and Strategy Happy Third Birthday, ACA!   Three years ago, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). In its first three years, the ACA has already improved the lives of many.  About   …Continue Reading Happy Birthday, Affordable Care Act!

September is Healthy Aging Month: Time to Stretch and Smile Posted on Sep 18

September is Healthy Aging Month: Time to Stretch and Smile

By Executive Office of Elder Affairs Secretary Ann L. Hartstein Two years ago, the Executive Office of Elder Affairs developed an “Aging Agenda,” underscoring the fact that aging begins at birth and is a lifelong process. Based on nine principles for improving the quality of   …Continue Reading September is Healthy Aging Month: Time to Stretch and Smile

Community partnership addresses important barriers for DYS youth Posted on Sep 18

Community partnership addresses important barriers for DYS youth

By Daisy Gomez-Hugenberger, communications coordinator for the Department of Youth Services Through an enduring government and nonprofit partnership, youth engaged with the Department of Youth Services (DYS) are receiving leadership and employment training from social enterprise More Than Words (MTW). Since 2006, More Than Words (MTW) has   …Continue Reading Community partnership addresses important barriers for DYS youth

Childcare for Refugee Populations: Partnerships for Increased Access Posted on Aug 30

By: Diane M. Randolph, Director, Community Building Unit/ Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants (ORI) There is a well-known African adage: It takes a village to raise a child. Seemingly this phrase hasn’t lost its accuracy. The United States has consistently received an influx of   …Continue Reading Childcare for Refugee Populations: Partnerships for Increased Access

Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital opens today: New facility reflects new frontier for mental health Posted on Aug 16

Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital opens today: New facility reflects new frontier for mental health

By DMH Commissioner Marcia Fowler Today marks the official opening of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital (WRCH). The new, state-of-the-art facility represents an evolution in modern public psychiatric care and treatment and reflects a remarkable collaboration among scores   …Continue Reading Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital opens today: New facility reflects new frontier for mental health