Despite the dedication of our state’s local health staff and volunteers, the Commonwealth’s decentralized approach to delivering public health services leads to extreme variability in protections across municipalities — and this puts the entire state at risk. Now is the time to move rapidly to transform our local public health system to adequately protect public health and safety during the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis and to meet future threats to public health.
MPHA is currently working with a coalition of public health, municipal, regional, state and academic leaders to urge the Legislature to pass the Statewide Accelerated Public Health for Every Community Act (SAPHE 2.0). This critical legislation would build on the consensus recommendations of the Special Commission on Local and Regional Health by:
- Establishing Minimum Public Health Standards for Every Community,
- Increasing Capacity and Effectiveness by Encouraging Municipalities to Share Services,
- Creating a Uniform Data Collection and Reporting System, and
- Providing Sustainable State Funding.
The time has come to create a public health system that provides ALL Massachusetts residents with high-quality public health protections – regardless of their race, income or ZIP Code. Click here to learn more here.
Passing the State Action for Public Health Excellence (SAPHE) Bill – Signed into Law on 4/29/20!
For many years, our local public health system has faced significant structural and financial challenges, making it difficult for municipalities to meet their regulatory obligations to safeguard our food, water, and air quality; ensure safe and healthy housing conditions; and control communicable diseases. The SAPHE Law, now in statute as Chapter 72 of the Acts of 2020, An Act Relative to Strengthening the Local and Regional Public Health System, creates a voluntary grant-based approach to improving the local public health system. It takes the first steps in implementing the recommendations of the Special Commission on Local & Regional Public Health by increasing training for members of the local public health workforce and providing incentives to cities and towns to encourage the sharing of services across municipal boundaries.
Supporting the Coalition for Local Public Health
The Coalition for Local Public Health is dedicated to promoting healthy communities in Massachusetts through strong Boards of Health and Health Departments. These local agencies provide foundational protections, including food and housing safety, communicable disease control, and protection from harmful lead exposure. Our member organizations are the MA Association of Health Boards, MA Association of Public Health Nurses, MA Environmental Health Association, MA Health Officers Association, and Western MA Public Health Association. Together, we represent over 4,900 citizens and professionals working to support the Commonwealth’s local health infrastructure.
Childhood lead poisoning is a persistent and pervasive problem that affect hundreds of families across the Commonwealth each year. Lead paint is present in the majority of homes in Massachusetts, and drinking water in more than half of public school taps tested since 2016 contains unacceptably high lead levels. Stark racial and economic inequities exist in the prevalence of childhood lead poisoning, and current funding is insufficient to respond to existing cases and prevent future cases. To address this critical need, MPHA has launched a major new initiative.
We are building a coalition to support An Act Modernizing Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention (S1234/H2010), sponsored by Sen. Julian Cyr and Rep. Andy Vargas. This important bill will provide funding for the DPH Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPP) to both eliminate the current backlog of families with lead poisoned children that are awaiting services, and re-institute a proactive prevention program that will work with medical providers, landlords, housing authorities, and others to identify and mitigate hazards before lead poisoning occurs.
In addition, we are working to ensure adequate funding for the Get the Lead Out Loan Program, which provides zero and low interest loans for the removal of lead paint from residences, and endorsing An Act Ensuring Safe Drinking Water at Schools, which will protect children’s health by removing lead from the water at all schools and child care centers. Finally, in partnership with Lawyers for Civil Rights and 40 public health and community organizations, we recently submitted a public letter to Attorney General Maura Healey urging her to file a lawsuit against lead paint companies, which would hold them accountable for the deceptive marketing campaigns that have caused catastrophic harm to children in the Commonwealth.
Click Here to Learn More About An Act Modernizing Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention
Click Here to Read MPHA’s Testimony
Click Here to Learn More About An Act Ensuring Safe Drinking Water at Schools
Click Here to Read the Open Letter to Attorney General Maura Healy
Click Here to Read the Press Release Announcing the Open Letter to the Attorney General
Get the Lead out Loan Program
Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program