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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 16AA: Office of health equity

[Text of section added by 2018, 154, Sec. 7. See also, Section 16AA added by 2018, 208, Sec. 3 and Section 16AA added by 2018, 220, Sec. 1, below.]

Section 16AA. (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 under the supervision and control of a director of health equity who shall be appointed by and shall report 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.

(c) The office 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 shall collaborate with the executive offices and state agencies on disparities reduction initiatives to address the social factors that influence health inequality. The executive offices shall include, but 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 executive offices and agencies to develop greater understanding of the intersections between agency activities and health outcomes. The office shall facilitate the development of interagency initiatives to address the social and economic determinants of health disparity issues including, but not limited to: (i) health care access and quality; (ii) housing availability and quality; (iii) transportation availability, location and cost; (iv) community policing and safe spaces; (v) air, water, and land usage and quality; (vi) employment and workforce development; and (vii) education access and quality.

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

(f) The office shall prepare an annual health disparities report. The report shall evaluate the progress of the commonwealth toward eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities using, where possible, quantifiable measures and comparative benchmarks and, where possible, shall detail such progress on a regional basis. The office shall hold public hearings in several regions of the commonwealth to gather public information on the topics of the report. The report shall be filed with the governor, the clerks of the house of representatives and senate, the members of the health disparities council and the health policy commission not later than July 1. The report shall be posted on the official website of the commonwealth.


Chapter 6A: Section 16AA. Statewide program to provide remote consultations to health care providers providing care for persons experiencing chronic pain

[Text of section added by 2018, 208, Sec. 3. See also Section 16AA added by 2018, 154, Sec. 7, above, and Section 16AA added by 2018, 220, Sec. 1, below.]

Section 16AA. (a) Subject to appropriation, the executive office of health and human services shall develop and implement a statewide program to provide remote consultations not less than 5 days a week to primary care practices, nurse practitioners and other health care providers who are providing care for persons who are over the age of 17 and are experiencing chronic pain; provided, however, that the remote consultations shall include, but not be limited to, support for screening, diagnosis, pain management strategies, pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments and referrals for chronic pain.

(b) Expenditures by the executive office of health and human services that are for the program and related to services provided on behalf of commercially-insured clients may be assessed by the secretary of health and human services on surcharge payors, as defined in section 64 of chapter 118E.


Chapter 6A: Section 16AA. Creation and maintenance of integrated state plan to address and assist in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease; advisory council on Alzheimer's disease research and treatment

[Text of section added by 2018, 220, Sec. 1. See also, Section 16AA added by 2018, 154, Sec. 7 and Section 16AA added by 2018, 208, Sec. 3, above.]

Section 16AA. (a) The executive office of health and human services shall develop and carry out an assessment of all state programs that address Alzheimer's disease, and shall create and maintain an integrated state plan to address and assist in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. The state plan shall include implementation steps and recommendations for priority actions based on the assessment. The purposes of the state plan shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following: (i) accelerating the development of treatments that would prevent, halt or reverse the course of Alzheimer's disease; (ii) coordinating the health care and treatment of individuals with Alzheimer's disease; (iii) ensuring the inclusion of ethnic and racial populations who have a higher risk for Alzheimer's disease or are less likely to receive care in clinical, research and service efforts, with the goal of decreasing health disparities in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease; (iv) coordinating with federal agencies and programs to integrate and inform the fight against Alzheimer's disease; (v) providing information and coordination of Alzheimer's disease research and services across all state agencies; and (vi) implementing a strategy to increase the diagnostic rate for Alzheimer's disease.

(b)(1) There shall be an advisory council on Alzheimer's disease research and treatment. The advisory council shall consist of: the secretary of health and human services, or a designee; the secretary of elder affairs, or a designee; the commissioner of public health, or a designee; the secretary of veterans' services, or a designee; the director of the office of Medicaid, or a designee; the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on elder affairs, or their designees; and 10 persons to be appointed by the governor, including 2 Alzheimer's disease patient advocates, 2 Alzheimer's disease caregivers, 2 health care providers, 2 researchers with Alzheimer's-related expertise in basic, translational, clinical or drug development science and 2 voluntary health association representatives, including 1 representative from a state Alzheimer's disease organization that funds research and has demonstrated experience in care and patient services and 1 representative from a state-based advocacy organization that provides services to families and professionals, including information and referral, support groups, care consultation, education and safety services.

(2) The advisory council shall meet at least quarterly and shall advise the executive office of health and human services and the General Court on the development of Alzheimer's disease policy for the commonwealth. The advisory council shall work with the secretary of health and human services to determine the number of people diagnosed each year with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, regardless of age, and shall identify resources available and services needed for these individuals and associated costs.

(3) Annually, not later than March 1, the advisory council shall provide a report to the executive office of health and human services and the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives which shall include: (i) information and recommendations on Alzheimer's disease policy; (ii) an evaluation of all state-funded efforts in Alzheimer's disease research, clinical care, institutional, home-based and community-based programs; (iii) the outcomes of those efforts; and (iv) any proposed updates to the state plan, which the advisory council shall review annually.