State Representatives Lewis and Gentile vote to pass legislation to establish an efficient and equitable local public health care system


In full disclosure, the following is a press release submitted to SOURCE media by the office of State Representative Jack Parick Lewis. (file photo)


FRAMINGHAM – On Thursday 28 July, representatives from Framingham joined the
Massachusetts House to pass legislation to strengthen local and regional public health and
ensure that every resident has access to basic public health services, no matter where
they live, through the State Action for Excellence in Public Health of the Department of Public Health (DPH)
(SAPHE) program set up by the legislator in 2020.

Across the Commonwealth there are hundreds of local public health boards in varying degrees
of expertise and bandwidth depending on the size and wealth of the community in which they are
located and are responsible for functions as diverse as the inspection of restaurants, the sanitary code
law enforcement, emergency preparedness and disease control. This legislation builds on the 2019 law
recommendations of the Special Territorial Public Health Commission and SAPHE
1.0 legislation passed in early 2020 establishing a statewide standard for these boards and the
the services they provide; allocate public funds; create uniform data collection and
reporting system; provide training and technical assistance to public health professionals to
education and accreditation standards; and the establishment of more effective and efficient methods of
delivery of public health services.

“City Boards of Health, local public health officials and public health departments across our Commonwealth
infrastructure plays a vital role in our everyday lives,” noted Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis
(Frameham). “This legislation empowers these frontline essential workers to respond more
effectively and equitably in the daily and future realities of public health
emergency room. »

Rep. Carmine Gentile (Sudbury) said, “Our local health boards have always
provided invaluable service and guarantees to every resident. This legislation and the millions of
dollars allocated will enable every board of health, regardless of zip code, to succeed
fulfill its mission to proactively preserve and protect the good health of our families.

“Over the past two years, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of public health services, and
the regional and racial inequality that exists within our public health infrastructure,” House said.
Speaker Ronald J. Mariano (Quincy). “I am incredibly proud of the steps taken in this legislation,
in addition to the funding that was previously allocated by the legislature to support the
Commonwealth public health infrastructure, to ensure that every Massachusetts resident has
access to sufficient public health services, regardless of the size or wealth of the community that
where they live. That public health boards inspect restaurants and drinking water, or
in response to an epidemic such as COVID-19, the work they do is of great importance. I want
thank Presidents Lawn, Decker and Garlick, Representative Kane and all my colleagues in the House,
for working diligently to improve and expand public health services in Massachusetts.

« SAPHE 2.0 affirms and extends the commitment of the Chamber under the leadership of President Mariano
to the health of all residents of the Commonwealth,” said Representative John Lawn
(Watertown), House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. “The local councils of
health worked bravely on the front lines of Massachusetts’ response to the COVID-19 public
health emergency. The policy solutions in this bill will strengthen our public health
the infrastructure and workforce to respond effectively, efficiently and equitably to any future
health problems. »

“This is historic legislation that recognizes the vital role local health boards play in our
communities, to develop a rapid response to a pandemic that helps slow the spread with
vaccinations, testing and contact tracing, to make sure our water, restaurants and air
we breathe are safe,” said Rep. Marjorie C. Decker (Cambridge), Speaker of the House
Joint Public Health Committee. “This bill ensures greater fairness for the 351 towns and villages of the
Massachusetts. A robust local public health response is our greatest strength and ensures a
Healthier Commonwealth.

More specifically, the Law on the acceleration of the improvement of the local and regional public health system
system to address disparities in the delivery of public health services seeks to strengthen
regional public health in six main ways:
Establishes minimum public health standards for each community
● Specifies that the SAPHE program must provide each resident with
public health services, including services aimed at improving racial and health equity; support tips
health to adopt practices that improve service delivery; expand statewide
service standards; and provide resources to boards of health, including manpower
accreditation standards and professional development
● Requires boards of health to comply with local public foundation standards
health services, including inspections, epidemiology and communicable diseases
investigation and report; permissions and other local public health responsibilities;
workforce education, training and certification; and provide the required data

● Allows boards of health to comply with standards individually or by
intergovernmental sharing of public health services
● Requires the fundamental standards of public health services developed by SAPHE
program in line with the recommendations of the June 2019 report of the special commission

Provides training and technical assistance to public health professionals to meet educational needs and
accreditation standards
● Mandates that the DPH, together with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP),
provide free public health education and training opportunities and
assistance to municipal and regional public health officials and staff
Dedicate state funding
● Requires DPH to provide funding to boards of health for grants and
assistance to municipalities with limited operational capacity; competitive grants to
increase service delivery in three or more municipalities; non-competitive
funding to ensure that all state residents receive basic public health services that
meet or exceed required standards
Creates a uniform data collection and reporting system
● Mandates the DPH and DEP to develop systems to increase the standardization of
health reports and systems to measure standard health board responsibilities. This
data should be made public where possible under confidentiality requirements
● Authorizes the DPH to coordinate relevant boards of health and share data, if appropriate.
disease outbreak or other public health situation that affects more than one school board

● Requires the DPH and the DEP to report every two years on the impact of the SAPHE program and
the status of local public health systems and their ability to meet the requirements of this
● If the DPH and DEP determine that non-compliance with the standards poses a threat to
public health, they must notify the appropriate board of health and request that the board
take action. DPH may restrict future funding if actions are not sufficient to protect the public
Establishes more effective and efficient delivery methods for public health services
● Requires the DPH to hold public hearings to identify ways to improve the effectiveness and
the effectiveness of the delivery of local public health services and to report to the Legislative Assembly
with an analysis of needs, opportunities, challenges, schedule and cost analysis for the
implementation of the SAPHE program

● Relaunch and extend the local and regional Special Public Health Commission
and requires them to review the changes made by this law to the SAPHE program and
funding available

“Legislators have focused on public health in a comprehensive deliberative process since 2015
with the creation of a special commission,” said Rep. Denise Garlick
(Needham), Chairman of the House Committee on Third Reading Bills and Lead Sponsor of the
invoice. “The 2019 Special Commission report revealed local public health fractures, and the
The Covid public health crisis has only amplified these inequalities. With the work done by SAPHE
1.0 and the substantial investments made by the House and Senate in annual budgets and ARPA,
SAPHE 2.0 provides the tools and guidance needed to advance local and regional public health. The
the passage of this legislation is the result of the extraordinary efforts of front-line public health services
workers, lawyers, experts and the legislative and executive powers working together to
have a positive impact on the life of every resident of our Commonwealth.

“I am grateful to everyone who helped champion this bill and I greatly appreciate the President, the
Minority Leader, Chair Michlewitz, Chair Decker, Chair Lawn and Chair Driscoll for their
commitment and support to move this transformational legislation forward. My legislative
colleague and friend, President Garlick has been a wonderful partner, working together to implement the
unanimous recommendations of the special local and regional public health commission which
significantly strengthen our local public health system, ensuring it is more equitable and efficient
and efficient. SAPHE 2.0 is about good governance – the effective delivery of services, the promotion
health and thereby reducing our health care costs,” said Representative Hannah Kane
(Shrewsbury), main sponsor of the bill.

The 25-member Select Commission on Local and Regional Public Health was established in 2016
and found that many of Massachusetts’ 351 individual health boards are often unable to respond
legal requirements and lack the capacity to meet stringent national public health standards. In
response, the commission developed recommendations, known as the Blueprint for Public Health
Excellence, which served as the basis for SAPHE 1.0 to foster regional collaboration and

In December 2021, the Legislature approved over $200 million in the American Rescue Plan Act and
FY21 surplus funding to support local and regional public health infrastructure. The budget for the financial year 23
signed today includes $15 million for grants to support local and regional health boards,
continue the ongoing efforts of the legislature to build on the success of state action for the
Health Excellence Program (SAPHE).

Law on the acceleration of the improvement of the local and regional public health system to meet
disparities in the delivery of public health services (H.5104) passed by the House of Representatives
153-0. It now goes to the Senate for review.


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