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Newsroom - September 2022

Report: Health care costs in Mass. are barrelling toward unaffordability

Boston.com, September 29, 2022
For the first time in years, health care spending fell in Massachusetts in 2020. But the drop may only be a temporary change driven by the pandemic, and there is still cause for concern in the state's health system, a new report says. Without intervention, the commonwealth's health system is likely destined for a future that is "increasingly unaffordable" for residents and businesses, and rife with growing inequalities, the Health Policy Commission's most recent report says. Improved state oversight and accountability in limiting spending benchmark growth; constraining excessive provider and pharmaceutical prices; and limiting increases in insurance premiums and cost sharing are just three of the things the Health Policy Commission says the legislature should focus on this year. Read more »

Hospitals have many disease specialists, but often not for addiction. Now, that's changing

wgbh.org, September 14, 2022
At many hospitals in Massachusetts and across the country, Marie, while in the pain of withdrawal, would likely have been discharged. A hospital might send Marie on her way with referrals to a detox programs or places she could call for help. Hospitals typically employ heart, lung, kidney and other specialists. But if your illness is an addiction or a condition related to drug or alcohol use, there are few hospitals where patients can see anyone who specializes in addiction medicine - even as overdose deaths reach record highs. And research shows the impact: an increased risk of fatal overdose within days or weeks after a hospital visit like Marie's. Read more »

State distributing 5-million COVID tests

WBUR.org, September 8, 2022
Massachusetts municipalities and food banks will collectively receive 5 million at-home COVID-19 rapid tests to distribute to Bay Staters this fall, the Baker administration announced Wednesday. State government will steer 3.5 million tests to cities and towns, who will then be able to make the tests available to residents, and food banks will also gain access to 1.5 million tests intended for the vulnerable populations they serve. Cities and towns can also seek personal protective equipment such as KN95 and surgical masks from the state, Baker administration officials said. Read more »

Biden administration says the 'once-a-year' shot phase of the COVID-19 pandemic has arrived

bostonglobe.com, September 07, 2022
Biden administration officials are hailing the approval of updated booster shots that target the two most prevalent Omicron subvariants, and saying the country is entering a new pandemic phase when most people will only need to get annual vaccinations, as they do with the flu. President Biden, in a statement Tuesday evening, described the new shot as a "once-a-year shot" that could "reduce your risk of getting COVID-19, reduce your chance of spreading it to others, and dramatically reduce your risk of severe COVID-19." Read more »

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