Archive for the ‘Health Care’ Category

Report urges more education, reporting and testing for Lyme disease

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Mar 1st, 2013 By Cole Chapman, The Metro West Daily News

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BOSTON — The commission on Lyme disease released its report on the tick-borne illness Thursday, recommending greater efforts to educate the public, improve disease reporting and testing along with mandated insurance coverage for treatment.

“We need to educate members of the medical profession… in recognizing the prevalence of Lyme disease and knowing that there are treatment options out there,” said commission chairman Rep. David Linsky, D-Natick. “You would be amazed at the lack of understanding of a lot of physicians and people in the medical community.”

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by the bite of an infected deer tick. Common symptoms are similar to the flu, with fever, aches and pains. But the disease can cause long-term problems, including a form of arthritis and even heart disease.

Linksy said the report was made “to ensure that the Lyme disease epidemic, and it is an epidemic, is controlled so future infections can be prevented.”

Lawmakers hear differing accounts in Framingham drug company case

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

By Chelsea Sheasley, Metro West Daily News

BOSTON – Legislators investigating the scandal involving a Framingham pharmaceutical compounding company heard varying accounts of a decision to reject stricter disciplinary action against the firm a decade ago, with pharmacy board members testifying the ruling was made by higher ups.

But public health officials said they are still investigating to find out who is responsible for the lenient treatment.

“It was presented as this is the decision that’s been made by people above us,” Karen Ryle, the secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy, told a legislative panel on Wednesday.

Massachusetts Health Council outlines solutions to obesity, drugs

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

By Katie Doyle, The Lowell Sun

The Massachusetts Health Council has released its latest report outlining measures to improve public health in the commonwealth, addressing some of the major challenges dogging Lowell, including drug abuse, obesity and poor access to care.

The council, a nonprofit organization charged with increasing wellness in the state, presented its biennial report Tuesday at the Statehouse, including proposals to secure unused prescription drugs and provide better food supplies to inner-city neighborhoods.

“Communities need to be involved,” said Executive Director Susan Servais, who called on legislators, educators, police, health workers and citizens to work toward the reports goals. “That is how these things will get done.”

House plans hearings on DPH role in drug lab scandal

Monday, November 5th, 2012

By Chelsea Sheasley, Metro West Daily News

BOSTON – House lawmakers have scheduled three public hearings to examine the Department of Public Health’s role in the state drug lab scandal that corrupted thousands of criminal drug cases and a breakdown at a Framingham compounding pharmacy that resulted in 28 meningitis deaths across the country.

“There has been a failure of government that has endangered both the public health and public safety of not only the citizens of Massachusetts, but citizens throughout the United States of America,” said state Rep. David Linksy, D-Natick, at a State House news conference Thursday.

Linsky, who chairs the House Committee on Post Audit and Oversight, was joined by Reps. Jeffrey Sánchez, D-Jamaica Plain, and Harold Naughton, D-Clinton, chairmen of public health and public safety committees.

Local legislators say ‘No on 2′

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

By Monique Scott, Milford Daily News

Two area legislators have joined the ranks of those opposed to Question 2, or the “Death with Dignity” question, which will appear on the Nov. 6 election ballot.

The question, if approved, would allow physician-assisted suicide in the commonwealth.

“Legalizing physician-assisted suicide in Massachusetts would reverse the progress we have made as a state in improving end-of-life care, treatment and options,” state Sen. Richard Moore, D–Uxbridge, said in a press release.

State officials weigh changes in drug compounding laws

Monday, October 15th, 2012

By Chelsea Sheasley, Metro West Daily News

BOSTON – State health officials and legislators are taking steps and considering other changes to prevent a repeat of a national meningitis outbreak linked to a Framingham-based compounding pharmacy.

A first step came Wednesday when state health officials announced all compounding pharmacy companies will be required to file an affidavit swearing compliance with state laws and regulations.

“Today the board of pharmacy issued an alert to all compounding pharmacies in the commonwealth to reinforce for them the rules they must abide by in Massachusetts,” said Madeline Biondolillo, an official with the Department of Public Health at a news conference.

Local hospitals buck study citing dearth of doctors

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

By Katie Doyle, The Lowell Sun

BOSTON – Community hospitals are experiencing a severe doctor shortage, according to a new study, but leaders of local hospitals say they have yet to experience tough times, citing location as a key factor in attracting family practitioners, neurosurgeons and other specialists.

According to the Massachusetts Medical Society survey, the state’s community hospitals are having difficulty attracting doctors. Ninety-four percent of those hospitals are reporting “significant difficulty in filling vacancies,” compared with 7.3 percent of teaching hospitals.

But Angela Strunk, manager of marketing and public relations at Lowell General Hospital, said while the hospital is not immune to problems in recruiting certain kinds of doctors, it has had “solid success” acquiring primary-care physicians.

Framingham Heart Study praised for ongoing health contributions

Monday, October 1st, 2012

By Chelsea Sheasley, Metro West Daily News

BOSTON – The Framingham Heart Study continues to make significant contributions to women’s health research, including Alzheimer’s prevention work, state legislators and medical professionals were told at a Boston University School of Medicine roundtable Tuesday.

“The Framingham Heart Study has been absolutely central to our understanding of what the precursors are for heart disease,” said Emelia Benjamin, a cardiovascular professor at BU and researcher at the Framingham Heart Study. “Framingham has shared more of its data than virtually any other study in the world.”

Praise for the decades-long research came during “Meeting the Needs of Women and Children in our Communities,” a seminar that brought medical practitioners and politicians together to discuss current research and possible medical and policy solutions.

Taunton Rally

Friday, April 27th, 2012

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HIV consent bill may face tougher challenge in House

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

By Tara Jayakar, Cape Cod Times

BOSTON – Physicians and AIDS advocates are debating whether a proposed bill that would allow doctors to test patients for HIV with a simple verbal consent needs other changes that would make it easier for health providers to see such records.

“It’s a good step that it went from written to verbal but it needs to go further,” says Dr. Lynda Young, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society. “The other part to this is that this proposed legislation has separate written informed consent for each release of the information.”

The Senate passed a bill March 2 changing the existing law requiring “written” consent for HIV testing to “spoken” consent.