Health Justice for Boston ~ Number 17. May 2015
HJB: Representative Fox, could you say a few words about the proposed BU Biolab?
Representative Gloria Fox, Roxbury: Historically, I have challenged the validity of having a Level 4 Biolab in the heart of the community. The issue of public safety is paramount. I have just introduced additional legislation (H.1945) demanding that the Department of Public Health address the legitimate concerns of the community point by point.
HJB: Can you outline some of these concerns?
Representative Fox: Certainly. The Roxbury Safety Net as well as dozens of civic leaders and community organizations have been pushing back for 20 years due to the threat of accidents and major catastrophes inherent in the proposed Level 4 lab. And since there is no feasible evacuation plan - indeed none is possible - we are faced with the likelihood that our neighborhoods will be quarantined, not evacuated. This means that working people, poor people, people of color will be abandoned to sicken and die.
HJB: What can people do who want to get involved?
Representative Fox: Call my office at the State House (617-722-2192) for up-to-the-minute information on hearings. Call your elected representatives, your pastor, members of your community group, relatives and friends, and spread the word! We are not giving up on this vital issue, literally an issue of life and death.
Klare Allen, Roxbury Safety Net:
Just wanted to update folks. The League of United Latin American Citizens has sent their meeting requests to Chief Felix Arroyo (City) and Secretary Marylou Sudders (State). Please feel free to share the letter with others. We still are pushing to ban the BU labs and requesting a moratorium on the CDC permitting process due to the numerous accidents and Congress' involvement. Marc Pelletier, Lynn Klotz and I will be meeting with Councilor Charles Yancey to "word" the Ordinance to curtail potential pandemic pathogens (PPPs) research in Boston. I will send it out to everyone.
When Representative Fox's bill for oversight of the lab, H.1945, was heard by the Joint Committee on Public Health, Laura Maslow-Armand testified on our behalf and submitted the Massachusetts Nurses Association statement, LULAC's letter to the Secretary of HHS and the Lawyer's Committee Letter to the Mayor, with signatures. We need folks who live outside Boston. Vicky is asking folks in Newton to contact Ruth Balser, House Vice Chair. Lynn Klotz has called and sent material to the Secretary of HHS. MNA just revised its statement. Cornelia Sullivan is working on Pax Christi's statement.
I called both Chairs and Vice Chairs on the Senate and House sides to see if they have received any comments. They said "they've received quite a few calls and written comments. Some comments were backdated but pertained to the issue of not wanting a Level 4 lab and stated why.” People in JP should call Representative Liz Malia to put a word in to the Joint Committee. Each Senate and House Chair has a committee to review the comments. To reach the Joint Committee on Public Health, go here or call 617-722-1206 (Senate) and 617-722-2130 (House).
State House Hearing June 3 on Hospital Profit Transparency & Fairness Act
Wednesday, June 3, 2015 @ 11 AM, Room B2, State House, Boston
Join nurses and other healthcare advocates in promoting our bill (S.623/H.979) to require hospitals to be transparent about their financial holdings (including millions of dollars stashed in offshore accounts), and to limit and claw back excessive profits and exorbitant CEO compensation to ensure taxpayer dollars are dedicated exclusively to safe patient care and necessary services for all communities.
Some of the participants in the May 2nd conversation called by Healthcare Justice for Boston in Jamaica Plain. Among the wide range of issues covered were the many recent losses of vital health services throughout the Commonwealth (especially in the City of Boston), initiatives and obstacles to building health providers’ cooperatives. We decided to create a listserv, use the HJB newsletter to share plans, and work to promote health reform legislation. - Quentin Davis
Bridging the Gap in Senior Health
On May 14th the Boston Chapter of Massachusetts Senior Action Council met to plan its work - including its Bridge the Gap to Affordable Healthcare campaign. Constituents are urged to contact Jamaica Plain’s Representative Jeffrey Sánchez, House Chair, Health Care Financing Committee (617-722-2430, email@example.com), to schedule a town meeting on health issues. MSAC is planning a Bridging the Gap lobby day at the State House on Tuesday, June 9th @ 11:00 AM. In preparation, MSAC is offering a workshop on healthcare issues on Thursday, June 4th @ 10:30 AM at its office, 150 Mount Vernon Street, Second Floor, Dorchester. Please call ahead: 617-284-1234, info@MassSeniorAction.org to register or to get more information. And get ready to celebrate Medicare’s Fiftieth! - Sandy Eaton
Save the Prouty Garden!
Health Justice for Boston and a host of concerned families and health professionals are engaged in a last-ditch effort to protect the beautiful, historic healing space that Olive Higgins Prouty gave to Children's Hospital “for as long as there are children and families to enjoy it.” We insist that the hospital save the Prouty Garden: the place that has healed so many; the place families shared with children who have passed away; the space that has soothed countless stressed staff members. Save this beautiful garden that means so much to many thousands of children, families, hospital employees, and supporters the world over. "There will always be a need to expand. There will never be another Prouty Garden.” - Quentin Davis
What is Healthcare Justice?
- Access: Can you get the care you need?
- Affordability: Will you go bankrupt if you do?
- Quality: Will you survive your encounter?
- Equality: Do you meet special barriers to care?
For more information on health care as a right, not a commodity:
To navigate the current system:
Boston Mayor’s HealthLine @ 617-534-5050
Health Care For All - Massachusetts
Consumer Health HelpLine @ 800-272-4232
Massachusetts Health Connector
Customer Support @ 877-623-6765
For more information, contact: