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FY09 House 2 Budget Recommendation:
Issues in Brief
Deval L. Patrick, Governor
Timothy P. Murray, Lt. Governor
Governor Patrick and his administration are committed to ensuring that everyone in Massachusetts is able to enjoy the same benefits and opportunities. Although progress has been made, disparities continue in health care and the work place. To address these ongoing problems, the Governor has proposed strengthening existing programs and creating new ones to make certain that everyone in the Commonwealth is able to succeed.
Eliminating Health Disparities
The Governor's Budget invests $1 million to establish the Office of Health Equity. Minorities in the Massachusetts along with the rest of the country, have worse health outcomes than their fellow citizens. In 2007, a report released by Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) found that among other things, minorities in the Commonwealth face higher infant mortality rates and have worse health outcomes for major diseases as diabetes and heart disease.
The Patrick Administration is committed to eliminating health disparities and combating this disturbing trend. In 2007, The Department of Public Health delivered $1million in grants to diversify the health care workforce and provide resources for programs targeting health disparities.
In 2008, the Governor proposes to create The Office of Health Equity to coordinate policy development across EOHHS and all of state government. The initiative will lead to a better understanding of the social and health care related factors that contribute to health disparities. The new office will support the Health Disparities Council and develop an annual Massachusetts health disparities report card. The Office of Health Equity will also coordinate with HealthyMass to grant awards to organizations to develop community based solutions, evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, and replicate successful programs.
Improving Job Opportunities in the Public Sector
The Governor's Budget invests $620K in a comprehensive diversity strategy to be led by the Human Resources Division (HRD). Compared to entry level management positions, minorities in state government are under represented in mid to upper level management. The Governor has proposed a program that creates equal career opportunities for all Commonwealth employees and ensures that the state is able to compete with the private and non-profit sector for qualified minority managers. To support current employees, HRD will enhance its career development opportunities for minority managers. The program will also escalate the recruitment of minority managers and establish a two year management internship program modeled after the Presidential Management Fellowship program.
The Governor's Budget invests in staff and resources for the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD). Additional staff will allow MCAD to more effectively investigate alleged cases of discrimination. MCAD estimates that it will be able to reduce the average investigators cases load by nearly 60 percent.
The increase in staff will allow MCAD to expand its anti - discrimination training and dedicate more resources to proactively identifying discrimination in employment, housing, credit, and education. Furthermore, MCAD will expand its Train-the- Trainer Program, which trains human resource professionals on how to avoid discriminatory practices in the work place. The Commission will also strengthen its presences outside of Boston by fully staffing their new Worcester and New Bedford Offices.
Prepared by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance • Rooms 373 & 272 • State House
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