CommonWealth Beacon dives into the present and future of health and wellness in Massachusetts through its coverage of medical breakthroughs, regional disparities, insurance reshuffles, and the nitty-gritty of health policy. 

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Steward to close Stoughton hospital in April

Says long-term care and rehabilitation facility has lost $22 million

Dallas-based Steward, which describes itself as the largest owner of community-based hospitals in Massachusetts and fourth-biggest private employer, plans to close its New England Sinai Acute Long-Term Care and Rehabilitation Hospital (NESH) by early April.

Senate passes menstrual period equity bill 

Legislation would give those in public schools, prisons, and homeless shelters access to menstrual products

IN A STEP toward menstrual equity, the Senate unanimously passed a bill on Wednesday that would make disposable menstrual products available at no cost in prisons, homeless shelters, and public schools.  “I don’t say that very often for bills coming through the Legislature, but this one is simple,” said Senate President Karen Spilka at a press…

Campbell leads legal challenge to Meta’s Facebook, Instagram

AGs in 42 states allege company preyed on young people

ATTORNEY GENERAL Andrea Campbell filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Meta Platforms, alleging that the company’s Facebook and Instagram platforms violated Massachusetts consumer protection laws by knowingly utilizing methods to hook and consequently harm young people.  This lawsuit is part of an effort by attorneys general in 42 states who are filing similar lawsuits in their…

State public health commissioner leans into ‘hard things’ 

Goldstein defends public health approach to Mass. and Cass

WHEN ROBBIE GOLDSTEIN took the reins as the state’s new public health commissioner in April, he brought national experience dealing with the public health crisis of our time. As senior adviser to Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Goldstein was at the center of the country’s public health response to…

House OKs pay range disclosure bill

Information would be required in hiring advertisements

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE THE MASSACHUSETTS Legislature unanimously passed a law in 2016 to address the yawning gap between the wages paid to men and women doing the same work, a law that Rep. Christine Barber on Wednesday called “one of the strongest pay equity laws in the country.” But as she made the case…

The costs of drug pricing middlemen

CVS officer defends role of pharmacy benefit managers in drug pricing

In the fight against ever-rising drug prices, attention is increasingly zeroing in on a little-noticed middleman of the pharmaceutical chain – pharmacy benefit managers.  Pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, are the intermediaries between pharmaceutical manufacturers and insurance providers. They negotiate drug prices, process claims, create lists of prescription drugs covered by insurance plans, and perform…

Court says social worker, school district not liable in student suicide 

Despite heightened attention to mental health, public institutions may be immune from suit

IF SOMETHING IS going wrong in a child’s life – slipping grades, anxiety, depression, injury, or worse – their school community can see warning signs that may not always show up at home. But if a public school employee is made aware of the possibility – or even likelihood – of a student hurting themself,…

Board approves first updated sex ed standards in decades

State education panel gives thumbs up to changes, emphasizing inclusivity and comprehensiveness

IT IS, LITERALLY, not your father’s — or mother’s — sex ed standards. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted unanimously on Tuesday to update the curriculum framework for health and physical education, the first time the state’s sexual health standards have been updated in almost 25 years.  Under the new guidelines, students should…

A food co-op returns to Boston

Dorchester market set to open later this month

IT’S BEEN A LONG and winding 11-year road for the Dorchester Food Co-op, which will be opening its doors to the public this month. It marks the return of community and work-owned food co-ops to Boston, five years after the last local grocery co-op shuttered.  Co-op markets differ from other markets primarily in their ownership…

Is Massachusetts becoming the state of emergency? 

Boston city councilors call comes on heels of Healey declaration 

IN GOVERNMENT, as in life, what gets the most attention is often a matter of priorities. It’s hard to focus on too much at once, so the most important things get pushed to the top of the to-do list.  Sometimes, though, even setting out an agenda of top priorities doesn’t seem to be enough. Lately,…


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