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Newsroom - May

US measles cases reach highest number in nearly three decades, CDC says

CNN, May 31, 2019
There have been 971 cases of measles reported in the United States this year, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. This means 2019, which is not quite half over, now has the greatest number of cases in a single year in nearly three decades. Read more »

New President and CEO announced for Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center

Framingham Source, May 31, 2019
Community Health Center announces that Stephen J. Kerrigan has been selected as the organization’s new President and CEO, effective July 2, 2019. Kerrigan will succeed Antonia G. McGuire, who joined the organization in 2008. Read more »

Report: High-priced doctors are making even more money

Boston Business Journal, May 31, 2019
The most expensive doctors in Massachusetts are receiving more money than in the past, a recent state report has found, an indication that efforts to divert patients to less expensive providers aren't making meaningful progress. Read more »

Is systemic racism a public health crisis? Milwaukee says 'yes'

WBUR, May 30, 2019
Milwaukee County declares racism a public health crisis and wants to push the plan nationwide. Read more »

HIV cases on the rise among Boston's homeless drug users, health center says, May 30, 2019
A second person from a Boston neighborhood tested positive for HIV, which one Boston health center believes is cause for concern for the city’s homeless individuals who use drugs. Read more »

Massachusetts hospital to close in 2020

Becker Review, May 29, 2019
Union Hospital in Lynn, Mass., will close by May 2020, about eight months later than its expected closure in October 2019, according to CBS Boston. After the closure, the city of Lynn - which is about a 30-minute drive from Boston - will no longer have a hospital. Read more »

MGH finalizes deal to acquire second New Hampshire hospital

Boston Business Journal, May 29, 2019
Massachusetts General Hospital has signed a definitive affiliation agreement to acquire a second New Hampshire health system, launching a new regional system under the Partners HealthCare umbrella. Read more »

Baystate Health plans ICU closures at Noble in Westfield, Wing in Palmer, as Massachusetts lawmakers mull making such shutdowns harder, May 29, 2019
Baystate Health plans to close underutilized intensive care units in Westfield and Palmer and convert the six beds at each hospital to regular medical-surgical use with a lower level of care. Read more »

Mass. health officials warn Of measles exposure In Quincy And Weymouth

WBUR, May 25, 2019
Health officials in Massachusetts say a child has tested positive for measles after visiting a number of locations in the Boston area that could have resulted in exposure to other people. Read more »

Poverty line proposal would cut Medicaid, Medicare, and Premium Tax Credits, causing millions to lose or see reduced benefits over time

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, May 22, 2019
A proposal the Trump Administration is considering to use a lower inflation measure to calculate annual adjustments to the federal poverty line ultimately would cut billions of dollars from federal health programs and cause millions of people to lose their eligibility for, or receive less help from, these programs. Many such programs use the poverty line to determine eligibility and benefits, and the cuts to these programs — and the numbers of people losing assistance altogether or receiving less help - would increase with each passing year. Read more »

Most opioid deaths in MA involve other drugs

US News & World Report, May 22, 2019
Most opioid overdose deaths in Massachusetts involve other drugs, a new study suggests. Researchers from Boston Medical Center's Grayken Center for Addiction analyzed poisoning death data from the state's Public Health Data Warehouse between Jan. 1, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2015, to determine which other drugs may be involved in overdose deaths and who may be more likely to overdose from using multiple drugs in combination with opioids. Read more »

Milwaukee County declares racism a public health crisis. Will more cities follow suit?

The Root, May 21, 2019
In what's being touted as an important first step in addressing decades of race-based inequality, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele signed a resolution Monday declaring racism a public health crisis. Read more »

Boston health center confirms continued increase in HIV cases Among city's homeless drug users

PRN Newswire, May 21, 2019
A second individual has tested positive for HIV in the past two months in the area between Melnea Cass Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue, on the border of the city's Roxbury and South End neighborhoods. The diagnosis was recently discovered by members of the Whittier Street Health Center's mobile outreach van, who visit the area regularly in an effort to connect unhoused and addicted people with health care services. Read more »

Community health centers in Mass. operating on slim margins

Worcester Telegram, May 15, 2019
BOSTON - Some Massachusetts community health centers are “essentially one snowstorm away from having challenges making payroll,” an expert on the industry’s finances said Wednesday. Read more »

Gilead will donate Truvada to U.S. for H.I.V. prevention

New York Times, May 9, 2019
The manufacturer will provide enough of the drug to supply 200,000 patients annually for more than a decade. Critics said it would not be enough to end the AIDS epidemic and questioned the company’s motives. Read more »

Trump Administration secures historic donation of billions of dollars in HIV prevention drugs

HHS Newsroom, May 9, 2019
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II announced today that, as a result of discussions between the Trump Administration and Gilead Sciences, Inc., the pharmaceutical company has agreed to donate pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication for up to 200,000 individuals each year for up to 11 years. PrEP is used to reduce the risk of HIV infection in individuals who are at higher risk for HIV. It has been shown to reduce the risk of new infection by up to 97 percent when taken consistently. Read more »

July 1, 2019 deadline looms for employers Under Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act

National Law Review, May 8, 2019
The Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFML) provides eligible workers with paid medical and family leave benefits effective Jan. 1, 2021. See July 2018 GT Alert here. Specifically, individuals will be entitled to up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave and 12 weeks of paid family leave per year. Read more »

AmeriCorps grant for community health center's drug abuse programs

Waterbury Observer, May 4, 2019
Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC) today announced it has been awarded $243,072 in AmeriCorps funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency responsible for AmeriCorps and other national service programs. This award will leverage an additional $514,765 from the private sector, foundations, and other sources, in accordance with the unique AmeriCorps model. The grant will support a multi-state collaborative, including CHC and health centers in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and New York, aiming to reduce and prevent prescription drug and opioid abuse. Read more »

Expert: Community Health Centers operating on slim margins

South Coast Today, May 2, 2019
Boston - Some Massachusetts community health centers are “essentially one snowstorm away from having challenges making payroll,” an expert on the industry’s finances said. Leaders from community health centers seeking more financial support from lawmakers converged on the Statehouse Wednesday, where Capital Link CEO Allison Coleman told them Massachusetts community health centers had enough cash on hand to last a median 34 days, while those at or below the 25th percentile had 18 days of cash or less. Read more »