Posted by John Jacob, a health communications writer and editor at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Today's Public Health Council was the first to be chaired by Lauren Smith, MD, Interim Commissioner at the Department. The Council took up several issues at the meeting, including two Determination of Need (DON) requests from area health care institutions, consideration of two proposed amendments to DPH regulations, and an informational presentation on efforts to control health care costs while implementing health care reform in the Commonwealth.
First, Council members considered a DON application to transfer ownership of a freestanding single specialty ambulatory surgery center on behalf of Boston Endoscopy Center, LLC. The Council voted to approve the application following a discussion with the applicants.
The Council then took up a DON application for establishment of a positron emission tomography (PET) service at Tufts Medical Center. Following a dialogue with representatives of applicants Tufts Medical Center and Shields, LLC, the Council voted to approve the DON application.
The Public Health Council then voted to approve proposed amendments to existing regulations which would allow medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide modest meals and refreshments to health care professionals outside of hospital and office settings. The Council also voted to approve emergency regulations which would allow DPH to issue time-limited waivers to regulations which currently prevent hospitals and hospital pharmacies from dispensing medications to anyone other than hospital patients or staff. These limited waivers will allow these providers to ensure optimal patient care during times of emergency drug shortages.
Finally, the Council heard an informational presentation on the status of efforts to control health care costs while health care reform continues to be implemented in Massachusetts. The presentation was provided by Iyah Romm, Director of Strategic Planning and Policy Development at DPH.