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This month’s meeting of the Public Health Council featured discussions on two Determination of Need (DoN) requests, a final vote on proposed amendments to existing regulations related to prevention and treatment of sports concussions among student athletes, and two informational presentations on current DPH activities and initiatives.

First, the Council took up two Determination of Need requests: one from Lawrence General Hospital which would replace existing surgical and related services through construction of an addition, as well as renovate existing space, on the campus of the main hospital; and a proposed amendment to an existing DoN request from Massachusetts General Hospital which would extend the DoN authorization period for expansion of the MGH proton beam cancer treatment service, and adjust the approved capital expenditure for inflation. Following discussions on the merits of both requests, the Council voted their approval.

Next, the Council received an update from Bureau of Community Health and Prevention Director Carlene Pavlos on proposed amendments to regulations related to the prevention and treatment of Head Injuries and Concussions in Extracurricular Athletic Activities. The presentation included a summary of public comments received on the proposed amendments, the DPH response to those comments, and final revisions to the proposed amendments based on feedback received during the public comment period. Following a discussion, the Council voted to approve the final proposed amendments into statute.

The Council then received an informational presentation from Associate Commissioner Madeleine Biondolillo, MD and State Epidemiologist Dr. Al DeMaria on the results of a study of influenza vaccination rates among health care workers at Massachusetts acute care hospitals during the 2013-2014 flu season.

Lastly, State Veterinarian Dr. Catherine Brown provided an update to the Council on planned response activities for the 2014 arbovirus season in Massachusetts.

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