MA State Legislative Agenda 2017-2018

MA State Legislative Agenda 2017-2018

This state legislative agenda (PDF) 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

HB.578 & S.549 An Act Advancing and Expanding Access to Telemedicine Services – Rep. Scibak & Sen. Lewis

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

S.613 An Act Relative to Continuity of Care for Families Enrolled in MassHealth – Sen. DiDomenico

Often children in the MassHealth program cycle on and off of coverage. When this happens, they can lose access to their primary care provider (PCP) and get re-assigned. This bill would ensure that children maintain continuity with their PCP and that newborns, newly adopted, or foster children are assigned to the same PCP as their siblings.

HB.2216 & S.32 An Act Improving the Children’s Medical Security Plan – Rep. Malia & Sen. DiDomenico

This budget-neutral bill would improve benefits for children covered through the Children’s Medical Security Plan (CMSP). CMSP covers children who are not eligible for Medicaid, do not have access to insurance through their parents or guardians, and are not eligible for other public programs.

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

Behavioral Health

HB.488 & SD.547 An Act to Increase Access to Children’s Mental Health Services in the Community Rep. Balser & Sen. Lewis

Requires commercial insurance carriers to provide coverage for wraparound services similar to those provided by the state through the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative.

HB.2947 & S.528 An Act to Increase Consumer Transparency About Insurance Provider Networks – Rep. Barber & Sen. Flanagan

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

HB.2403 & S.44 An Act to Protect Children’s Mental Health Services – Rep. Malia& Sen. Flanagan

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

HB.2864 & S.1218 An Act to Protect Youth From the Health Risks of Tobacco and Nicotine Addiction – Rep. McMurty & Sen. Lewis

Lowering rates of youth tobacco use and nicotine addiction will save lives and reduce health care costs. This bill would raise the minimum legal age of purchase for all tobacco products to age 21, prohibit the sale of all tobacco products in health care institutions and require child-resistant packaging.

S.1960 An Act Relative to Child Passenger Safety – Sen. Montigny

Research show that the safest place in a car for young children is in the back seat. This bill helps to strengthen current MA laws by ensuring that all children under the age of 13 are safely seated in the rear passenger seats of motor vehicles unless there is no rear seat or it is otherwise occupied.

HB.624 & S.1164 An Act Relative to Early Child Cavities – Rep. Sciback & Sen. Chandler

Cavities, which are largely preventable, can have a major impact on a child’s health and development as well as high costs for dental treatment throughout life. This bill would take a successful children’s oral health program that was developed by experts at Boston Children’s Hospital and replicate it on a larger scale, creating a cost-effective prevention program for children enrolled in MassHealth.

For more information on these issues please email Jamie Gaynes, MPH, Government Relations Specialist.