BOSTON – Dr. Matilde “Mattie” Castiel, MD, the Worcester Commissioner of Health and Human Services, testified at the Massachusetts State House before the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing in support of “An Act to Advance Health Equity.” The House of Representatives version of the bill is H. 1250, while the senate version is S. 799.
During her three minute testimony, Castiel stated the following:
- Worcester has the highest opioid mortality in the state, with the highest increases among Black, Latino and Indigenous people
- Worcester has the second lowest vacancy rate in the country
- Worcester has the number one most competitive housing market in the country
SEE CASTIEL’S FULL TESTIMONY, BELOW
The Health Equity Compact, which describes itself as “a group of over 80 leaders of color who aim to advance health equity together in Massachusetts,” supports the legislation.” It says its members are “high-level executives and experts from a diverse set of health, business, philanthropic and labor organizations, including hospitals, health centers, payers, academic institutions, and public health.” Castiel is a member of the group.
The major provisions of the bill would:
- Create an Executive Office of Equity, led by a Secretary of Equity
- Diversify leaders of state agencies, boards and commissions are diverse and represent the communities they serve
- Make comprehensive health equity data metrics more accessible to the public
- Address increasing cost burden of medications for chronic conditions that disproportionately aﬀect communities of color and low-income communities
- Create career pathways into the health system for diverse workers who reflect the communities they serve
- Advance culturally and linguistically responsive health services