Archive for the ‘Health Care’ Category

Advocate: Legalizing pot would help economy and users’ health

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

By Neal J. Riley, The Lowell Sun

BOSTON — Legalizing marijuana would be good for the state’s bottom line and would protect the health of those who use the drug, supporters told the Joint Committee on the Judiciary yesterday, even as the bill’s sponsor conceded it has almost no chance of becoming law.

“The state needs to make money,” sponsor Rep. Ellen Story, D-Amherst, testified. “This would allow the state to benefit from marijuana by regulating it.”

Story’s bill would legalize marijuana and “establish a tax on the cannabis industry.” But Story offered no details in her testimony on the tax rate or what revenue such a tax would bring to the state.
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Assisted-suicide bill draws impassioned Statehouse debate

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

By Neal J. Riley, The Lowell Sun

BOSTON — A proposed bill allowing physician-assisted suicide brought emotional testimony from both supporters and opponents at a standing-room-only hearing in front of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary yesterday.

“I know this is an extremely troubling subject for most people,” said Rep. Cory Atkins, D-Concord, who testified in support of the bill sponsored by Rep. Louis Kafka, D-Stoughton. “We are used to being in charge of our lives so it’s not unusual that we’d also want to be in charge of the circumstances of our death.”

The Death with Dignity Act, which mirrors legislation passed in Oregon and Washington state, would allow terminally ill individuals given less than six months to live to self-administer a lethal dose of medication if they have clearance from two doctors.
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Insurance changes will put even more cash in Lowell-area communities’ coffers

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

By Neal J. Riley, The Lowell Sun

Legislative leaders may have been modest when they claimed Massachusetts cities and towns would save $100 million under new health-insurance bargaining rules. A budget watchdog group says the state is on pace to far exceed that figure.

A report released by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation said the pace of savings by more than 91 communities will exceed the expected $100 million figure mentioned by House Speaker Robert DeLeo and others.

The foundation said 21 cities and towns have already saved $60 million in health-insurance costs.
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More than 200 people protest planned closing of Taunton State Hospital

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

By Corey KanePatriot Ledger

BOSTON — More than 200 people, many of them chanting “Stop and study,” gathered in a State House auditorium Thursday to demand that Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration delay the closing of Taunton State Hospital until a thorough study is made of the state’s mental health system.

“We should stop any further cuts including the cuts to Taunton State Hospital,” an angry Sen. Marc Pacheco of Taunton told a mix of union members and patient families.

A number of state lawmakers and the Taunton and Worcester mayors also attended.
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State Senate approves ban of synthetic drug ‘bath salts’

Friday, April 13th, 2012

By Corey KanePatriot Ledger

BOSTON — A synthetic drug known as “bath salts” sold over the counter in retail stores would become illegal in Massachusetts under a bill approved by state senators Thursday.

“This is creating havoc at all ages,” Sen. John Keenan, D-Quincy, told his colleagues Thursday. “We want to ban people getting what seems to be an innocuous substance at the corner store.”

The ban was tacked on to another Senate bill co-authored by Keenan to monitor prescriptions for opiate painkillers.
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Prescription bill would require doctors to register with state monitoring board

Friday, April 13th, 2012

By Corey KanePatriot Ledger

BOSTON – A prescription drug bill written by state Sen. John Keenan, D-Quincy, would require doctors who prescribe opiate painkillers to register with the state prescription monitoring program.

Participation in the program was voluntary under a law approved in 2010, but only about 1,700 out of 40,000 doctors in Massachusetts have registered.

Lawmakers and drug rehab experts gathered at the State House yesterday in support of a bill they say would help combat the rising abuse of prescription painkillers and their pathway to street drugs.
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A MetroWest lawmaker pushes for greater medical training

Friday, April 6th, 2012

By Mounira Al Hmoud, The MetroWest Daily News

BOSTON – A MetroWest lawmaker wants to require more training for those working with developmentally disabled patients following a report found health car professionals don’t know enough about the best treatment for their conditions.

“We need to improve training for medical practitioners,” said Rep. Carolyn Dykema, D-Holliston, said after testifying before the Joint Committee on Public Health on Tuesday. “Disabled people need a much greater level of care and it is important to improve the recognition of their needs.”

Dykema has taken up a bill filed last year by former Rep. Peter J. Koutoujian, before he was named Middlesex County sheriff, that would require continuing education for doctors and licensed health care providers on the problems and treatments of the physically and mentally disabled.
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DPH Report shows decline in health care associated infections

Friday, April 6th, 2012

By Mounira Al Hmoud, The MetroWest Daily News

BOSTON – Although incidents of serious hospital-borne infections have declined in Massachusetts, health officials and state lawmakers are pushing for better transparency and standardization of hospital treatment to further reduce the deadly and expensive cases.

“Patient safety, when it is a priority for the entire health care team as well as the patients they serve, will reduce the need for expensive drugs, extended hospitals stays, and excessive readmissions,” Sen. Richard Moore, D-Uxbridge, said at Tuesday’s Department of Public Health’s presentation on health care associated infections.

According to the health department report, the rate of serious infections among hospital patients decreased by 24 percent from fiscal year 2010 to 2011.
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Senate passes prescription drug bill

Friday, April 6th, 2012

By Rick SobeyMilford Daily News

Local lawmakers say a Senate bill that would increase monitoring of prescription pain killers is an important step needed to counter an increase in deaths and drug abuse due to the overuse of OxyContin and Vicodin.

“Passage of this bill goes a long way in creating more tools to battle the over-prescription and over-usage of prescription drugs,” Sen. Richard Ross, R-Wrentham, said after the Senate voted 36-0 in favor of the bill last week. “Prescription drug abuse is such a ubiquitous problem. It is so important that we have systems in place to control this rising problem.”

This legislation calls for reducing the excess supply of pills around the state and requires physicians to register in the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program.
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Local legislator advocates to prevent infections

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

By Rick SobeyMilford Daily News

BOSTON – Although the rate of serious infections among Massachusetts hospital patients has dropped, an area lawmaker says more steps are needed to prevent incidents that endanger patients and raise the cost of health care.

“Patient safety, when it is a priority for the entire health care team as well as the patients they serve, will reduce the need for expensive drugs, extended hospital stays, and excessive re-admissions,” state Sen. Richard Moore, D-Uxbridge, told those who came to Tuesday’s Department of Public Health presentation on serious, reportable events and health care-associated infections.

Moore, the co-chairman of the Joint Health Care Financing Committee, sponsored the event, which coincided with Patient Safety Awareness Week at the State House.
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