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This month’s meeting of the Public Health Council featured an informational presentation for Council members on current Department activities, a briefing on pending proposed amendments to existing regulations, and final votes on revisions to two existing regulation as well as the creation of a new regulation.

First, Alfred DeMaria, Medical Director for the Bureau of Infectious Disease gave a presentation to update the Council on the current Ebola situation in Massachusetts.  While the risk of a case occurring in the Commonwealth remains extremely low, DPH Programs including the Bureau of Infectious Disease and the Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management are closely monitoring the situation and working in close collaboration with key stakeholders to education, information and prepare them for the possibility.

Next, Associate Commissioner Madeleine Biondolillo provided an informational briefing on proposed amendments to Hospital, Clinic and Long-Term Care Facilities that would require health care personnel who decline an annual vaccination against influenza to wear a mask in order to protect patients.  Next steps will include outreach to key stakeholders and a public comment hearing before a final vote scheduled for January 2015.

Following that, Lea Susan Ojamaa, Director of the Division of Prevention & Wellness provided an update on proposed regulations to Nutritional Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages in Public Schools that would bring Massachusetts into closer alignment with the USDA.  The presentation included a summary of public comments received on the proposed amendments, the DPH response, 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.

Next, Ron Benham, Director of the Bureau of Family Health and Nutrition provided an update on proposed regulations on Postpartum Depression Screening and Reporting.  The presentation included a summary of public comments received on the proposed regulation, the DPH response to those comments, and final recommendations for the proposed regulation based on feedback received during the public comment period. Following a discussion, the Council voted to approve the regulation.

Finally, the Council was briefed about the proposed amendments Related to the Use of the Prescription Monitoring Program.  The presentation included a summary of public comments received on the proposed amendments, the DPH response to those comments, and final recommendations for the proposed regulations based on feedback received during the public comment period. Following a discussion, the Council voted to approve the regulation.

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