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JohnJacob Posted by John Jacob, a health communications writer and editor at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

The September meeting of the Public Health Council focused on several items related to hospitals and health care plans in Massachusetts.

The Council voted to approve the acquisition by Steward Health System of two hospitals in Massachusetts: Morton Hospital in Taunton and Quincy Medical Center in Quincy.

The Council also heard a request from the DPH Office of Patient Protection (OPP) for the promulgation of emergency amendments related to the external review of the appeals processes of health plans operating in the state. The amendments would bring Massachusetts into compliance with new federal requirements in this area, which are in place following the 2010 federal health care reform law.

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Dr. Madeleine Biondolillo, Director of the DPH Health Care Safety and Quality Bureau, joined Dr. Robert Duncan and Dr. Kenneth Sands (above) in giving an informational presentation on the continuing efforts to promote flu vaccination for health care workers in Massachusetts. It’s an important issue, because high rates of flu vaccination coverage among health care workers has been shown to reduce illness and absenteeism in that work force, protect patients in health care environments, and lead to reduced health care costs overall.  

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