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This month’s meeting of the Public Health Council featured a series of three Determination of Need (DoN) requests, a status update on draft regulations related to immunizations, and two informational presentations on two key Department initiatives.

The Council first took up a Determination of Need application with respect to a change in ownership through which Tufts Medical Center Parent, Inc., the sole corporate member of Tufts Medical Center, Inc., proposes to form a new health care delivery system entity with Circle Health, Inc., the sole corporate member of Lowell General Hospital and its affiliates. The new health care delivery system entity, Tufts Circle Health, Inc., would become the parent corporation of both Tufts and Circle. Following a discussion, the Council voted to approve the request.

Next, the Council considered a Determination of Need application from BRN Corporation d/b/a Whittier Rehabilitation Hospital-Bradford for a transfer of site of 28 out-of-service beds from Tuell Nursing Home, a closed facility formerly located in Melrose, to the Hospital’s Bradford campus . The Council approved the request.

Following the DoN discussions, DPH Bureau of Infectious Disease leadership presented an update for the Council on proposed amendments to regulations related to the Massachusetts Immunization Information System (MIIS). Next steps in the approval process are for the draft regulations to receive a public hearing in October, after which the Department will return a final version of the draft regulations for a vote by the Council.

Next, the Council heard an informational update from the DPH Division of Health Professions Licensure on the Department’s activities in implementing Chapter 159, An Act Relative to Pharmacy Practice in the Commonwealth, intended to improve the delivery and oversight of pharmacy services in Massachusetts.

Finally, the Council received an update from the Bureau of Infectious Disease which included a retrospective look at the 2013-2014 flu season, and the Department’s full range of services and activities related to influenza surveillance, prevention, and response.

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