The Senate will start debating their budget and we are asking for their support for critical funding for key prevention programs. We knew it was going to be a tough budget year we feel that it is still important for the Legislature to make investments in public health and access to care. We are asking for support for our priorities:
- Amendment #699 from Senator Rush to increase the funding Department of Public Health Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program funding.
- Amendment #13 from Senator Chandler to minimum packaging requirement for cheap, kid-friendly cigars
- Amendment #595 from Senator Montigny to ensure that stroke patients have access to the highest quality of care
- Amendment #714 from Senator Richard Moore to create an AED Trust Fund to ensure that funds are available to schools, senior centers and other high risk places in the community.
- Amendment #634 from Senator Joyce to create the FMAP Trust Fund to receive enhanced federal Medicaid matching revenues and its funds dedicated to support Medicaid low-income programs.
- Amendment #546 from Senator Jehlen to invest in MassHealth operations and systems improvements to ensure access to care for low-income residents.
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in Massachusetts -- more than 8,000 of our residents lose their lives to tobacco each year while hundreds of thousands more suffer from its health consequences. Tobacco-related health care expenses annually costs Massachusetts $4.3 billion – 10% of all our health care costs. The DPH tobacco control program is underfunded. Next year the State will receive $1 Billion from tobacco related revenue. We need to fund the prevention and cessation program to help people kick this deadly habit and to prevent kids from starting to smoke. We need to protect our kids and not Big Tobacco. There are many products that look like candy, smell like candy, and are cheaper than candy but they are in fact deadly. According to the Department of Public Health, high school students in Massachusetts are now using these cheap cigars more cigarettes. We need to require minimum packaging for cheap, kid-friendly cigars.
Stroke is the nation's No. 3 killer and a leading cause of long-term disability and every year, about 700,000 Americans suffer a stroke, and 160,000 of them die. On average, every 45 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke and someone dies of a stroke every 3 to 4 minutes. Today, 5.7 million Americans are stroke survivors, and as many as 30 percent of them are permanently disabled, requiring extensive and costly care. Death and disability from stroke are projected to nearly double by 2032. The development of stroke systems of care, including the establishment of a primary stroke center, can significantly increase the proportion of patients who receive improved stroke care. Quick and attentive care of a stroke victim is the key to determining the quality of the rest of their life.
Immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and early defibrillation, with an automated external defibrillator (AED), can more than double a victim’s chance of survival. In fact, early defibrillation, along with CPR, is the only way to restore the SCA victim’s heart rhythm to normal. We need to ensure that our communities have comprehensive AED programs that so that we can achieve high survival rates.
We believe these initiatives will provide for a healthier citizenry in Massachusetts and will save health care dollars and