Community Resources & Policy Updates

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Boston Children’s Hospital is committed to providing the highest quality of care under any circumstance. The COVID-19 outbreak has made it more important than ever for us to serve our communities through this unprecedented health crisis together.

The Offices of Government Relations and Community Health at Boston Children's are vigilantly monitoring the current COVID-19 outbreak. As the situation continues to evolve, our offices are tracking legislative and regulatory actions related to health care access, behavioral health, and community health. We also are in close contact with all of our partners including city agencies, community health centers, community-based organizations, and the Boston Public Schools to assess the needs, resources, and gaps in services so that Boston Children's can best assist and support our community as needed.

If you have questions or concerns about evolving government policies, please reach out to the Office of Government Relations at CAN@childrens.harvard.edu and sign up for updates through the Children's Advocacy Network.

If you have any questions about resources in the community, please contact the Office of Community Health at TalkToUs@childrens.harvard.edu.


Federal policy update

Congress passed, and the President signed into law, a sweeping $2 trillion coronavirus response bill, known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This was the third emergency COVID-19 relief bill enacted within three weeks. The bills provide relief for hospitals and supportive provisions for patients and families, but there is more to do — especially in the area of protecting Medicaid for the families who rely on it.

The Office of Government Relations is in regular contact with the New England congressional delegation and their staff around these matters.

If you have questions or would like additional federal-level updates, please contact Amy DeLong, Manager of Federal Government Relations at amy.delong@childrens.harvard.edu.

State policy update

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is currently in a state of emergency due to COVID-19.

State legislative priorities have shifted to unemployment expansions, protections for at-risk populations, and ensuring health care services are maintained as the governor’s office enacts emergency measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The State Government Relations team will continue to advocate for priorities that reflect our commitment to the health and well-being of the Commonwealth’s children.

Executive order highlights
Legislative highlights

If you have questions or would like additional state-level updates, please contact Shannon Moore, Director of State Government Relations at shannon.moore@childrens.harvard.edu.

City of Boston updates

On March 15, Mayor Walsh announced that the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) declared a public health emergency in the City of Boston. Classifying the situation this way gives BPHC the authority to increase the availability of staff and resources to meet emergency needs and enhance reporting and resource-sharing across Boston's health and medical communities.

  • On May 22nd, Boston Mayor Walsh convened a 27-member advisory board to help Boston reopen its economy; Boston Children's CEO, Sandra Fenwick, serves on the board
  • On June 12th, Mayor Walsh declared racism a public health crisis in the City of Boston, stating that the impacts of historic and systemic racism are clear in Boston’s COVID-19 case numbers.
  • The Mayor followed this declaration with an announced that he has revised the City's proposed FY2021 budget by reallocating 20%, or $12 million, from the Boston Police Department’s overtime budget to efforts that address racism as a public health issue.

If you have questions or would like additional city-level updates, please contact John Riordan, Director of Community Relations and Partnerships at john.riordan@childrens.harvard.edu.

Behavioral health highlights

In order to avoid delays in admission of minors, the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) issued guidance asking DMH-licensed facilities to accept electronic authorizations from legal guardians instead of requiring in-person authorizations.

DMH has accelerated its Expedited Psychiatric Inpatient Admissions Policy (EPIA) to allow emergency departments, along with MassHealth and commercial insurers, to escalate a referral to DMH if a behavioral health patient has spent two or more days in the ED awaiting inpatient psychiatric placement.

If you have questions or would like additional behavioral health updates, please contact Amara Azubuike, Director of Behavioral Health Policy and Advocacy at Amara.Azubuike@childrens.harvard.edu.


COVID-19 financial resources

As COVID-19 continues to impact business in Massachusetts, many families are feeling the economic effects. The Office of Government Relations has compiled this list of community resources for those in need of financial support during this time.

Massachusetts state resources
Resources for immigrant and refugee families
Housing and homelessness
Renters and eviction
Utilities
Transportation resources
Domestic violence resources
Suffolk County resources
Western Massachusetts resources

COVID-19 food resources

As COVID-19 continues to impact business in Massachusetts, many families are struggling to feed their families. The Office of Government Relations has compiled this list of community resources for food access.

Massachusetts state resources
Greater Boston resources
Resources in Western Massachusetts

Learning Resources

The Boston Public Library offers a variety of movies, music, ebooks, comics, and other digital resources for kids to help keep them engaged while schools are closed. These resources are free to anyone with Boston Public Library card. If you live, own property in, or work anywhere in Massachusetts, you can sign up for a Boston Public Library eCard online.