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The Public Health Council took up a series of discussions on proposed Determination of Need (DoN) requests, status updates on several proposed amendments to public health regulations, and final votes on proposed regulations at their May 14th meeting.

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First, the Council considered a Determination of Need request from Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington to completely replace its emergency department in order to accommodate increased patient traffic. Following consideration of the merits of the proposal, the Council voted to approve the request.

Lahey Health System officials then presented the results of a Lahey-sponsored study of the health needs of Cape Ann residents and plans for the future of Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester. These items were required as a condition of the Council’s previous approval of a DoN for transfer of ownership of Northeast Hospital Association and its affiliation with Lahey Health System.

Following the DoN discussions, Bureau of Environmental Health Director Suzanne Condon presented a summary of public comments received on proposed amendments to public health regulations which govern minimum standards for bathing beaches in Massachusetts. Following the presentation, the Council vote to approve the proposed amendments.

The Council then received an update from Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality Director Deborah Allwes and Office of Emergency Medical Services Director Jamie Pianka on public comments received following the approval of emergency regulations expanding access to the opioid antagonist Naloxone for first responders. The Council then voted to approve the emergency regulations as final.

The Council then heard an informational presentation from Bureau of Community Health and Prevention Director Carlene Pavlos on proposed amendments to regulations to prevent head injuries and concussions in extracurricular athletic activities. The proposed amendments will go out for public comment in June, after which the Department will bring any revised amendments back to the Council for a final vote this summer.

Bureau of Family Health and Nutrition Director Ron Benham then appeared before the Council to outline proposed amendments to regulations in the area of postpartum depression screening and reporting. The next step in the approval process is for the proposed amendments to undergo a public comment period, after which the Council will take them up once more for a final vote.

Finally, the Council heard an informational presentation from Office of Health Planning Director Darrell Villaruz on the status of Limited Services Clinics operating in Massachusetts.

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