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This month’s meeting of the Public Health Council featured a pair of informational presentations on proposed amendments to existing regulations, and the consideration of a Determination of Need (DoN) request from one Massachusetts health care facility.

First, the Council took up the request from Milford Regional Medical Center to construct a two-story addition to its main building which would include a conversion to all private rooms in the Medical/Surge units, a new and expanded Intensive Care Unit (ICU), a new Emergency Department, additional parking and other renovations. Following a discussion, the Council voted to approve the DoN request.

The Council then heard an informational presentation from Carlene Pavlos, Interim Director of the Bureau of Community Health and Prevention, on some proposed amendments to existing regulations to support screening and monitoring of children’s weight in Massachusetts schools through measurement of Body Mass Index (BMI). The proposed amendments would eliminate the requirement for schools to mail parents or guardians their child’s BMI results, while granting local school committees or local boards of health more flexibility to fashion their own reporting policies. Parents and guardians would still have the option to request the BMI data for their child. The next step in the process is for DPH to gather feedback from parents, schools and other stakeholders at a public hearing, which is not yet scheduled. Following that, DPH will incorporate those findings into a final set of proposed amendments which will be presented to the Council for a vote.

DPH staffers at table, presenting to the Council

Lea Susan Ojamaa and Carlene Pavlos present to the Council.

Finally, Bureau of Infectious Disease Director Kevin Cranston and State Medical Director Dr. Alfred DeMaria provided an informational presentation to the Council on proposed amendments to rescind regulations that currently require serological tests for syphilis prior to the issuance of a premarital medical certificate. These regulations are no longer relevant because the Massachusetts General Law (MGL) statute which required the syphilis test has since been repealed. Public hearings will be scheduled to garner feedback from residents and stakeholders on the proposed recission, after which DPH will return to the Council with final amendments on which to vote.

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