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HOUSE  .   .   .   .   .   .   .  No. 3888

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
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                               HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, February 3, 2014.                         

 

The committee on Ways and Means, to whom was referred the Bill to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities in the Commonwealth (House, No. 2071), reports recommending that the same ought to pass with an amendment substituting therefor the accompanying bill (House, No. 3888).

 

For the committee,

 

BRIAN S. DEMPSEY.

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOUSE DOCKET, NO.                 FILED ON: 2/3/2014

 

 

 

 

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 3888

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

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In the Year Two Thousand Fourteen

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An Act to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities in the Commonwealth.
 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              SECTION 1.  The second paragraph of section 16 of chapter 6A of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the words “and, (7) the health facilities appeals board ” and inserting in place thereof the following words:-

              (7) the health facilities appeal board; and (8) the office of health equity.

              SECTION 2. Section 16O of said chapter 6A, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word, “recommendations,” in line 3, the following words:- to the director of the office of health equity.

              SECTION 3. Said section 16O of said chapter 6A, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in line 13, the figure “37” and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- 38.

              SECTION 4. Said section 16O of said chapter 6A, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word “ officio ”, in line 19, the following words:- ; the director of the office of health equity, or the director’s designee.

              SECTION 5. Said chapter 6A is hereby amended by inserting after section 16V, as inserted by section 17 of chapter 38 of the acts of 2013, the following section: –

              Section 16W. (a) As used in this section the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings: –

              “Disparities”, differences in the incidence, prevalence, mortality and burden of diseases and other adverse health conditions that exist among specific racial and ethnic groups.

              “Office”, the office of health equity.

              (b) There shall be an office of health equity within the executive office of health and human services. The office shall be in the charge of a director, who shall report directly to the secretary of health and human services. The health disparities council, established in section 16O, shall serve as an advisory board to the office of health equity.

              (c) The office, subject to appropriation, shall coordinate all activities of the commonwealth to eliminate racial and ethnic health and health care disparities. The office shall set goals for the reduction of disparities and prepare an annual plan for the commonwealth to eliminate disparities.

              (d) The office, subject to appropriation, shall collaborate with other state agencies of the commonwealth on disparities reduction initiatives to address the social factors that influence health inequality. The state agencies shall include, but shall not be limited to, the executive office of health and human services, the executive office of housing and economic development, the executive office of public safety and security, the executive office of energy and environmental affairs, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the executive office of labor and workforce development and the executive office of education.The office shall facilitate communication and partnership between these agencies to develop greater understanding of the intersections between agency activities and health outcomes. The office shall facilitate development of interagency initiatives to address the social and economic determinants of health and key health disparities issues including, but not limited to, healthcare access and quality; housing availability and quality; transportation availability, location and cost; community policing and safe spaces; air, water, land usage and quality; employment and workforce development; and education access and quality.

              (e) The office, subject to appropriation, shall evaluate the effectiveness of programs and interventions to eliminate health disparities, identifying best practices and model programs for the state.

              (f)The secretary of health and human services shall annually, on the day assigned for submission of the budget by the governor to the general court pursuant to section 7H of chapter 29, designate major initiatives of the commonwealth affecting the health and health care of residents of the commonwealth. The initiatives may include any activity of the commonwealth including, but not limited to, activities of the executive office of health and human services, the executive office of housing and economic development, the executive office of public safety and security, the executive office of energy and environmental affairs, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the executive office of labor and workforce development and the executive office of education.

              For each major initiative, the office shall prepare a disparities impact statement evaluating the likely positive or negative impact of each initiative on eliminating or reducing racial and ethnic health disparities. The statements shall, to the extent possible, include quantifiable impacts and evaluation benchmarks. The statements shall be posted on the official internet site of the executive office of health and human services and submitted to the clerks of the house of representatives and senate, members of the health disparities council, and the house and senate committees on ways and means.

              (g) The office, subject to appropriation, shall prepare an annual health disparities report card. The report card shall evaluate the progress of the commonwealth toward eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities, using, where possible, quantifiable measures and comparative benchmarks. The report card shall report on progress on a regional basis, based on regions designated by the office. The office shall hold public hearings in several regions of the commonwealth to get public information on the topics of the report card. The report card shall be delivered to the governor, speaker of the house of representatives and president of the senate and the members of the health disparities council, established under section 16O of chapter 6A, before July 1 of each year and shall be posted on the official internet site of the office or executive office of health and human services.

              SECTION 6. Section 5 of chapter 6D, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following sentence:- The council shall establish goals that are intended to reduce health care disparities in racial, ethnic and disabled communities and in doing so shall seek to incorporate the recommendations of the health disparities council and the office of health equity.

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