Sen. Eric P. Lesser today joined the Senate in passing a bill known as the PATCH Act, which ensures confidential healthcare information is not shared with anyone other than the patient when multiple people are on the same insurance plan.
“This bill ensures patient confidentiality, thereby breaking down a significant barrier for those who might not otherwise seek care,” Sen. Lesser said. “Doing so will benefit young adults remaining on their parents’ health insurance plans, along with victims of domestic abuse and others who may wish for the services they receive to be kept confidential.”
The PATCH Act requires that when multiple people are on the same insurance plan, confidential and/or sensitive healthcare information is not shared with anyone other than the patient.
This information could include notice of STI testing or treatment related to substance abuse or domestic violence, as found on the common summary of payments form received by patients.
By providing greater privacy, the legislation will break down barriers to treatment, allowing people with medical concerns to seek medical help without fear of negative repercussions.
Sen. Eric P. Lesser visited Valley Venture Mentors, a tech entrepreneurial accelerator, to share ideas on how to make Springfield a world-class technological hub.
“The tech and startup scene in Springfield has a lot of momentum right now,” Sen. Lesser said. “Sessions like this help convert that momentum into the economic transformation Springfield must and can achieve.”
The “Future Cities” session used focus groups to develop plans for how to make Springfield a world-class technology accelerator. Ideas shared included slogans and development proposals like the creation of a dining district, which is already in progress.
Sen. Lesser also spoke about the new Millennial Engagement Initiative he is leading in the Massachusetts Senate, which aims to create a dialogue between state government and young people across Massachusetts.
SPRINGFIELD, MASS. ‒ Sen. Eric P. Lesser toured Baystate Medical Center’s Emergency Department this week to see the effects of the opioid crisis firsthand.
“Opioid overdoses are flooding emergency rooms across Massachusetts, notably right here in Springfield,” Sen. Lesser said. “This visit was an important opportunity to learn what our medical practitioners are doing to save as many lives as possible, and how we can work together to help reverse the opioid crisis,” Sen. Lesser said.
The tour was led by Dr. Niels Rathlev, Chair of Baystate’s Emergency Medicine department, and was attended by several Baystate Medical Center officials, including Baystate Health President and CEO Mark Keroack and Baystate Medical Center President Nancy Shendell-Falik. In addition to opioid overdoses, officials discussed the need for improved mental health services and continued efforts to fight stigma against those with mental health conditions.
“We had a very productive meeting with Sen. Lesser, it was an opportunity to discuss our new and innovative methods of managing the opioid crisis here in Western Mass. Our physicians in the Emergency Department are on the front lines of this public health crisis and working tirelessly every day to save lives, while facilitating the accessibility of substance abuse treatment. We so appreciate the Senator’s time and interest,” Dr. Rathlev said.
Suspected cases of heroin overdose emergency room admissions tripled at Baystate during the period of Fall 2014 to Fall 2015, according to hospital officials.
The Massachusetts Senate passed a substance abuse treatment and prevention bill last fall, and the House passed its own bill earlier this month. The two bills are now in a House-Senate negotiating team, who will develop a final bill to send to Gov. Charlie Baker.
Opioid-related deaths in Massachusetts rose 228 percent from 2000 to 2014. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed 791 opioid-related deaths from January to September 2015.