The November meeting of the Public Health Council featured a range of discussions and informational briefings.
The Council voted to make permanent a series of emergency amendments to regulations which had been passed at the September PHC meeting. These amended regulations bring Massachusetts into compliance with federal requirements on the external review of the appeals processes of health plans operating in the state. The Council took this action following a public comment hearing in October, at which all testifying parties supported the measure. Here is the background presentation which the Council heard at the September meeting which provides more details on the amendments in question.
PHC members heard an informational briefing from Cheryl Bartlett, Director of the DPH Bureau of Community Health and Prevention, on a series of proposed regulations related to safe driving. The proposed regulations seek to designate, for health care providers and the Registry of Motor Vehicles, which cognitive and functional impairments may affect an individual’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. The proposed regulations were developed by DPH and the Department of Transportation, in consultation with the Medical Advisory Board to the RMV. The proposed regulations now enter into a public comment/hearing period, after which the Council will take them into consideration again.
Finally, the DPH Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS) provided two informational presentations to the Council. BSAS Director Michael Botticelli gave an overview on the status of substance abuse services in the state, after which the Council was provided an update on an innovative pilot program focused on provider Office-Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT) as an alternative for individuals struggling with opiate addiction in Massachusetts.