Back to Blog List

Topics/Previous Posts

  • Sep 21, 2023

CHA CEO Testifies in Support of Health Equity Legislation

Act to Advance Health Equity would establish Massachusetts as an equity leader and tackle disparities faced by vulnerable populations

BOSTON - On Wednesday, September 20, Cambridge Health Alliance CEO Assaad Sayah, MD, joined healthcare leaders from across Massachusetts in support of An Act to advance health equity (H.1250 and S.799) before the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing at the Mass. State House.

Dr. Sayah served as co-chair of the Health Equity Task Force created in 2020 by the Mass. Legislature to study and make recommendations to address health disparities facing diverse and low-income communities during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Task Force, composed of 16 members with health, public health, and legislative backgrounds gathered testimony from hundreds of individuals and issued a report titled "A Blueprint for Health Equity," which made comprehensive policy recommendations to address the root causes to advance equity.

The legislation, which embodies many of the Task Force’s recommendations, will advance health equity in the Commonwealth through prioritizing health equity in state government, standardizing and statewide reporting on health equity data, and improving access to and quality of care. Among other provisions, the bill will:

  • Promote ongoing progress by creating a first-ever Massachusetts Cabinet-level Secretary of Equity to lead equity efforts across state government and in partnership with state agencies
  • Make medications for chronic conditions like asthma, heart disease, and diabetes more affordable
  • Ensure all community members, regardless of immigration status, have access to MassHealth/Medicaid coverage, if otherwise eligible
  • Create healthcare career opportunities toward a diverse workforce reflective of patients and communities
  • Revise licensing requirements for foreign-trained health professionals to increase healthcare access
  • Provide funding to safety net hospitals and community-based providers to advance health equity and address disparities
  • Invest in and empower local efforts called Health Equity Zones to build healthier, stronger communities
  • Preserve payment parity for telehealth services for primary care and chronic disease management.

"We cannot let the hard lessons of the pandemic be forgotten," said Dr. Sayah. "We must seize this opportunity to build a more equitable and resilient future for all."

Dr. Sayah spoke as part of the Health Equity Compact, a group of over 80 leaders of color who aim to advance health equity together in Massachusetts. Learn more here.

Back to Blog List

Affiliated with:
Teaching hospital of: