5 Things You Need to Know Today in Worcester - January 4

 by Tom MarinoJanuary 4, 2022

In today’s daily 5 Things You Need to Know feature, ThisWeekinWorcester.com explores five important items and stories that Worcester and Central Massachusetts residents should keep a close eye on.

These five things can cover a whole range of subjects and issues that we feel are pertinent to understanding what’s going on in the city and the cities and towns surrounding Worcester.

In today’s edition - Tuesday, January 4 - "Patients First" law requirements are now in effect, Worcester Public Library cancels its in-person programming, the Regional Environmental Council launches a series of indoor winter markets, Big Brother Big Sister scheduling donation pick up, and the average cost of a gallon of gas stays the same as last week in Massachusetts.

Requirements for 'Patients Law' Began on January 1

On January 1, 2021, Governor Baker signed An Act Promoting a Resilient Health Care System that Puts Patients First (“Patients First”) into law which makes significant changes to the state’s healthcare laws.

The changes are listed here:

  • Health care providers now must tell patients how much patients will pay for planned hospital stays, medical procedures, health care services, and referrals – based on the patient’s specific health insurance plan.
  • These requirements begin on January 1, 2022.
  • These requirements also authorize the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) to fine providers who fail to comply with a penalty up to $2,500 for each instance of non-compliance. These penalties will take effect July 1, 2022.

Worcester Public Library In-Person Programs Cancelled

The Worcester Public Library announced on Monday, January 3, that all in-person library events and programs will be suspended until further notice.

Virtual programs will continue as planned.

For more information, see the Worcester Public Library online calendar.

Regional Environmental Council Launches Indoor Winter Markets

The Worcester Regional Environmental Council launches a series of indoor winter markets starting on Tuesday, January 11. The series includes eight stops in Worcester and one in Webster providing fresh and local vegies all winter long.

The Worcester stops are:


  • Worcester Youth Center, 326 Chandler Street, 9 AM - 12 PM
  • Green Hill Towers 27 Mt. Vernon Street 2 PM - 3 PM
  • New England Ghanaian Seventh Day Adventist Church, 67 Vernon Street, 4 PM - 5:30 PM


  • Worcester Senior Center 128 Providence Street 9:30 AM-11:30 AM
  • Coes Pond Village 39 1st Street 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM
  • Elm Park Towers 425 Pleasant Street 11:30am-12:30 PM


  • Worcester Youth Center, 326 Chandler Street, 9 AM - Noon

The series also includes a stop in Webster on Wednesdays at Webster Housing Authority, 10 Golden Heights, Building 19, from 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM.

Big Brother Big Sister Picking Up Donations in Worcester

The Big Brother Big Sister Foundation has a truck scheduled for pickups in the Worcester area on Friday, January 7.

Founded in 1904, Big Brother Big Sisters is the nation’s largest donor- and volunteer-supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 5 through young adulthood in communities across the country.

Foundation pickups accept a range of items, including clothing, certain household items, books and other items. See the full list of acceptable items here.

Schedule a home pickup here.

Gas Prices Remain Same in Massachusetts This Week

AAA Northeast reports changes in gas prices across the region on a weekly basis. Massachusetts’s average gas price remained the same as last week, averaging $3.38 per gallon. That price is three cents lower than a month ago and $1.17 higher than January 3, 2020 ($2.21).

Massachusetts’s average gas price is ten cents higher than the national average.

“Prices have been trending downward, which is good news for motorists,” says Mary Maguire, Director of Public/Government Affairs. “Factors such as the continuing impact of COVID and the willingness of OPEC nations to increase oil production will play a role in what prices we see at the pumps throughout the first quarter of the year.”

AAA Northeast’s January 3 survey of fuel prices found the current national average to also be the same as last week, averaging $3.28 a gallon. Today’s national average price is nine cents lower than a month ago ($3.37) and $1.03 higher than this day last year ($2.25).

Comparison to neighboring states, according to AAA Northeast:

Region Current
One Week
One Month
One Year
Massachusetts $3.38 $3.38 $3.41 $2.21
Rhode Island $3.37 $3.37 $3.40 $2.22
Connecticut $3.49 $3.50 $3.54 $2.27
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