Our State Partners in Massachusetts
Health Care for All (HCFA) is implementing a campaign to ensure that patient-provider confidentiality is upheld by health plans in their state with a particular focus on protecting the safety of individuals seeking oft-stigmatized care, including reproductive and sexual health, or those living in domestic violence situations. HCFA is working closely with the Massachusetts Department of Insurance (DOI) to ensure that insurance companies use best practices for ensuring confidentiality. HCFA is also collaborating with the DOI and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to educate providers and consumers about the protections.
Supported by the National Institute, HCFA and its partners in the Preserving Access to Confidential Health Care Alliance advocated in 2015 for confidentiality protections in health insurance carriers’ summary of payments forms, under development by the Massachusetts Division of Insurance. To secure these essential protections, HCFA worked with lawmakers to introduce Massachusetts Senate Bill 2081, and conducted a robust advocacy campaign to secure support from legislators and stakeholders. The bill passed favorably out of the Health Care Financing Committee before the end of the legislative session. If it is ultimately enacted, strengthened confidentiality measures will be used by all private insurers in Massachusetts, improving access to sensitive health care services for a range of health care consumers.
NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts is building on Massachusetts’ status as a model policy lab for health care by advocating for the ACCESS (Advancing Contraceptive Coverage and Economic Security in our State) bill, which proposes state-level protections for contraceptive access. Among other provisions, this bill would codify coverage of contraception with no copay into state law; require insurance coverage without copay or prescription for over-the counter emergency contraception; and limit medical management techniques that pose barriers to contraceptive access. NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts’ advocacy for the ACCESS bill will include lobby days and implementing a public awareness campaign by creating Reproductive Freedom Scorecards.
In 2013, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts strengthened and grew the Mass Women's Health Coalition (MWHC), which monitored implementation of the ACA and Massachusetts cost containment legislation. The organization also submitted recommendations to the Division of Insurance on protecting confidentiality. In 2009, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts launched a citywide coalition in Boston to provide recommendations to the Boston Public Health Commission on adolescent reproductive health. In the 2012-2013 school year, this Coalition led successful advocacy efforts to implement the Boston Public Schools Wellness Policy, a holistic curriculum that includes K-12 comprehensive sex education.
Incorporating LARC provision into primary care is a core component of improving the delivery of family planning services. Recognizing that not all primary care providers will be able to provide LARCs directly, the Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology at Brigham & Women’s Hospital is working to identify challenges in the referral system for LARCs within the hospital's network and to develop an efficient and effective referral process to ensure timely, patient-centered access. Brigham & Women’s Hospital’s extensive network of affiliated community health centers, private clinics, and hospital-based primary care practices provides an opportunity to work with a variety of governance structures, insurance provider systems, and health care delivery models. By identifying and addressing barriers to high-quality LARC referrals within this large and diverse group of primary care providers, this partner can define the elements of high-quality LARC referrals and determine how to create and implement such a system.
Through this project, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) will offer etonogestrel hormonal implants at the time of mifepristone administration for women undergoing medical abortion. This project builds on PPLM’s participation in a Gynuity Health Projects study that found this procedure was associated with both increased use of highly effective contraceptive methods six months later and increased patient satisfaction. PPLM is also developing strategies to overcome anticipated barriers to providing this service, including education of the patient population, receipt of adequate reimbursement, and operational challenges to integrating the procedure within clinical practice.
In 2015, Prisoners' Legal Services, with the support of the National Institute, worked to monitor implementation of a state law that prohibits the shackling of pregnant incarcerated women through pregnancy, labor, delivery, and recovery and notified prisons and jails of violations. They also engaged in stakeholder education around the law by creating educational materials for defense attorneys and relevant professional organizations. This project was conducted in partnership with Prison Birth Project, also a National Institute partner.