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The state legislative agenda for 2023-24 will focus on the priority topics outlined below and will demonstrate our commitment to policies that advance the health and well-being of our patients and children throughout Massachusetts. The Office of Government Relations remains committed to prioritizing policies that promote health and racial equity and will lend the hospital voice to legislation that will best accomplish our equity goals. This state policy agenda has been assembled with feedback and support from internal experts, external stakeholders, as well as patients, families, and staff. This agenda is not a comprehensive list of all the bills and topics that may come up during the 2023-24 session but rather intended to be a guidepost for upcoming and future advocacy and policy work. This comprehensive health agenda recognizes the intersection across many of these topics for the upcoming session. As such, Boston Children’s Hospital is committed to leading in the four following areas:

Health care access

  • An act relative to telehealth and digital equity for patients | H986/S655 | Rep. Decker & Sen. Gomez: Increases equitable access to telehealth for patients who may be encountering a “digital divide” in services, by establishing new state programs to increase access to technology, internet connectivity, and digital literacy education. In addition it requires that interpretative services for patients with limited English proficiency and for patients who are deaf and hard of hearing be covered by insurance.
  • An act to ensure equitable access to health coverage for children | H1237/S740 | Rep. Rogers & Sen. DiDomenico: Expands MassHealth coverage to children and low-income young adults whose only barrier to coverage is immigration status.

Social determinants of health

  • An act providing affordable and accessible high quality early education and care to promote child development and well-being and support the economy in the Commonwealth | H489/S301 | Rep. Gordon & Sen. Lewis: Provides a structure to deliver more affordable child care options to families, increases pay and benefits for for early educators and stabilizes funding for providers to ensure all children and families can access high quality, affordable education.
  • An act relative to universal school meals | H603/S261 | Rep. Vargas & Sen. DiDomenico: Guarantees quality school meals for all students who need them at no charge to the family by directing schools to leverage federal and state resources to increase access to healthy foods for the 1 in 5 households in MA that are food insecure.

Racial equity and social justice

  • An act to increase family stabilization through the earned income tax credit | H2762/S1792 | Rep. Decker & Sen. DiDomenico: Increases the Earned Income Tax Credit state match from 30% to 50% of the federal credit, expands access to previously excluded groups including ITIN holders and middle-income families, and eliminates the large family penalty by providing an additional 5% for each child beyond the current cap.
  • An act to advance health equity | H1250/S799 | Rep. Williams & Sen. Payano: Omnibus legislation to address healthy equity gaps across the healthcare system including addressing the workforce crisis, supporting efforts to advance social determinants of health, increasing funds to safety net and community-based providers and expanding MassHealth coverage to undocumented immigrants, among much more.

Behavioral Health Care

  • Behavioral Health Care An Act Relative to MassHealth Reimbursement for Schools | S794 | Sen. Moran: Directs MassHealth reimbursement for school-based health services to the local school district providing the care in order to further fund and support access to school-based services, including school-based behavioral health services.
  • An Act Establishing a Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Implementation Coordinating Council | H1979 | Rep. Decker: Establishes a council to guide the statewide implementation of a comprehensive school-based behavioral health system using the Multi-Tiered System of Supports Framework (MTSS). MTSS is a framework that helps educators provide academic and behavioral strategies for students with various needs.
  • An Act Ensuring Access to Behavioral Health Services for Children Involved with State Agencies | H146/S72 | Rep. Decker & Sen. Crighton: Addresses systemic challenges and barriers to accessing behavioral health care faced by children involved with the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Developmental Services, and the Department of Children and Families.

Other issues we care about

In addition to our policy priorities, Boston Children’s Hospital is committed to being a leading voice for children and families in the following areas:

  • MassHealth coverage: Protects MassHealth eligibility, financing and covered benefits throughout the redetermination process.
  • Adolescent health and education: Support policies that provide comprehensive, medically accurate, and age-appropriate health education for adolescents to encourage building safe and healthy relationships, to prevent teen pregnancy, to model safe social media use, and to promote healthy decision making and development.
  • Housing: Support safe, affordable, quality housing, including housing tenancy preservation programs and homelessness prevention resources, pathways to homeownership and first-time homebuyer programs, expanded supportive housing services, and affordable housing production incentives.
  • Environmental justice, climate change, and sustainability: Support legislative efforts to reduce emissions in historically impacted economic justice communities and reduce environmental health exposures where kids live, play, and learn.
  • Youth violence prevention: Support policies to address the root cause of violence, including gun violence and community violence, and advocate for programs to prevent violence in schools and communities, and for supports for victims of and witnesses to violence.
  • Racial inequities in maternal and infant health: Support legislative efforts to reduce racial inequities in maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity, and promote equitable infant health.