MA State Legislative Agenda 2019-2020

This state legislative agenda has been assembled with feedback and support from internal experts, external stakeholders, as well as patients, families, and child advocates. These top-priority bills reflect Boston Children’s Hospital’s commitment to ensuring the health and well-being of the Commonwealth’s children.

Health Care Access & Social Determinants of Health

H.991 & S.612 – An Act advancing and expanding access to telemedicine services – Rep. Golden & Sen. Lewis 

Telemedicine improves care by giving patients the option of more convenient and timely access to primary care providers and specialists. This bill would expand access to telemedicine services in the Commonwealth by requiring insurance coverage of telemedicine services in the same manner as in-person visits.

H.1153 & S.679 – An Act relative to newborn enrollment in MassHealth – Rep. Garballey & Sen. DiDomenico

Newborns born to mothers enrolled in MassHealth are often automatically assigned to the mother’s health plan, which may not include the baby’s pediatrician.  This creates confusion for new parents, as they bring their newborns to their first well child visits shortly after birth. This bill would ensure that newborn well child visits happen in timely fashion with the parent’s preferred provider, during the first 45 days of life.

H.1141 & S.680 – An Act relative to children with medical complexity – Rep. Cronin & Sen. DiDomenico

Children with medical complexity (CMC) are one of the smallest, yet fastest growing populations of children. Innovations in health care and technology ensure that the population of CMC in the Commonwealth will continue to increase, as children are now surviving previously fatal conditions. This bill would direct a comprehensive statewide study of children with medical complexity and provide valuable data on this special population.

For more information on these issues please email Kate Audette, MSW, Director of State Government Relations.

Behavioral Health

H.910 & S.588 – An Act relative to mental health parity implementation – Rep. Balser & Sen. Friedman

Massachusetts and federal law require that mental health conditions and substance use disorders are treated on par with physical health conditions by insurance plans, but children and their families continue to have difficulty accessing behavioral health care when they need it. This bill creates additional requirements to address these gaps.

H.913 & S.610 – An Act to increase consumer transparency about insurance provider networks – Rep. Barber & Sen. Lewis

Proposed legislation would require insurers to meet reporting and transparency standards for provider networks, give the Division of Insurance recourse in the case of violating such requirements, and provide access to out-of-network care.

H.1736 & S.1154 – An Act to protect children’s mental health services – Rep. Malia &. Sen. Keenan

Establishes the position of Children’s Mental Health Ombudsman in the Office of the Child Advocate. The role of the ombudsman will be to monitor and ensure compliance with relevant child mental health statutes, regulations, rules, and policies and receive, investigate, and resolve complaints filed on behalf of a child.

For more information on these issues please email Kate Ginnis, MSW, MPH, MS Director of Behavioral Health, Advocacy and Policy.

Public Health & Prevention

H.1173 & S.678- An Act improving public health through a common application for core food, health and safety-net programs – Rep. Livingstone & Sen. DiDomenicos

Estimates show that over 700,000 Mass Health recipients are likely eligible for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), but aren’t receiving benefits. MassHealth and SNAP have separate application processes requiring the same basic information, resulting in duplicate efforts and more work for the state and beneficiaries. This legislation would create a joint application, allowing low income households to apply for MassHealth and SNAP at the same time.

S.2120- An Act to prevent driver distraction and motor vehicle fatalities – Sen. Montigny

Research shows that a third of teens admit to texting or emailing while driving. This distraction has proven to be deadly. This legislation would prohibit the use of cell phones and other mobile electronic devices while driving, unless in hands free mode. A hands free law would also ease enforcement of the current ban on texting while driving.

H.1870 & S.1337- An Act relative to requiring trauma kits in public buildings – Rep. Dooley & Sen. Rush

Uncontrolled bleeding is a major cause of preventable deaths. No matter how rapid the arrival of professional emergency responders, bystanders are typically first on the scene. This bill would require all public buildings and any building required to have an automated external defibrillator (AED) in Massachusetts to house at least one bleeding control kit and have a staff member trained to use it at all times. A bleeding control kit is a basic, inexpensive kit containing easy-to-use tools such as a tourniquet, gauze, wound packing, and gloves that allow bystanders to an accident to help stem serious bleeds before the arrival of first responder.

For more information on these issues please email Jamie Gaynes, MPH, Manager of State Government Relations.