Massachusetts Medical Society: Mass. Medical Society asserts health care is a basic human right, adopts policy on ending non-medical vaccine exemption for students

Mass. Medical Society asserts health care is a basic human right, adopts policy on ending non-medical vaccine exemption for students

Waltham – The Massachusetts Medical Society has adopted into organizational policy several resolutions impacting public health and health care delivery in the Commonwealth.

The society’s House of Delegates, comprised of physicians and medical students, attended the organization's Annual Meeting May 2-4 at the World Trade Center Boston and considered a variety of resolutions proposed by members of the organization. Resolutions accepted by the House of Delegates became organizational policy.

Some of the newly adopted policies include:

Health care is a basic human right

The Massachusetts Medical Society asserts that enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, in all its dimensions, including health care, is a basic human right. The provision of health care services, as well as optimizing the social determinants of health is an ethical obligation of a civilized society.

Ending non-medical vaccine exemption for school entrance

The Massachusetts Medical Society opposes non-medical vaccine exemptions for school attendance and will advocate for legislation and regulation that ends non-medical vaccine exemptions for school attendance in Massachusetts.

Modern abortion laws and access

The Massachusetts Medical Society will advocate for legislation and policies that would provide that the only criteria needed to consent to abortion are pregnancy and medical-decision making capacity; expand existing safety-net health coverage for pregnancy-related care to abortion and update pregnancy and abortion-related medical terminology used in legal codes to reflect the most scientific evidence and knowledge.

The Massachusetts Medical Society has longstanding policy that states “abortion is a medical procedure and should be performed only by a duly licensed physician in conformance with standards of good medical practice and the Medical Practice Act of his state.” Additional organizational policy states, “neither physician, hospital, nor hospital personnel shall be required to perform an act violative of good medical judgement or personally held moral principles. In these circumstances, good medical practice requires only that the physician or other professional withdraw from the case, so long as the withdrawal is consistent with good medical practice.” Those policies are unchanged.

Excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages

The Massachusetts Medical Society will advocate in favor of legislation that establishes state and local excise taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages and encourage the application of the resulting revenues toward programs that support food security and improve access to healthy foods.

Flavored tobacco

The Massachusetts Medical Society will advocate to the Massachusetts legislature and regulators to ban the sale or distribution of any flavored (including menthol and mint flavors) tobacco products, to include combustible cigarettes and electronic nicotine delivery devices and systems, by any retailer, retail establishment, or other person or entity to any consumer. The Massachusetts Medical Society advocate, and recommend to the American Medical Association to advocate, that the FDA extend the ban on sale or distribution of any flavored cigarettes to include menthol and mint flavors and electronic nicotine delivery systems.

Promoting physical activity

The MMS recognizes the health benefits of daily physical activity and the health risks of sedentary behavior. The MMS supports the recommendations of the US Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for adults and children, for regular moderate or vigorous-intensity physical activity and strengthening exercise, including those with disabilities or chronic conditions as their age, abilities, and conditions allow. The MMS will advocate for policies and programs that make available regular, safe, physical activity for children and adults including those with disabilities, older adults and those with socioeconomic barriers to activity.

Oversight of home health aides

The Massachusetts Medical Society will advocate for better regulation of the home health aide industry to make it safer for the frail and aged clients.

Prescription monitoring program

The Massachusetts Medical Society will advocate, at the state and national levels, to promote prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP or PMP) integration/access within electronic health record workflows (of all developers/vendors) at no cost to the physician or other authorized health care provider.

Tobacco sales

The Massachusetts Medical Society strongly advocate for statewide licensing to be required of all retail locations that sell any e-cigarettes, nicotine liquids, and personal electronic vaporizers, in a manner that allows local boards of health to impose additional regulation. The Massachusetts Medical Society work with appropriate local and state agencies to adopt regulations to better enforce the current minimum legal sales age and to further limit access to e-nicotine devices, liquid nicotine, and other tobacco products to persons over the minimum legal sales age. The Massachusetts Medical Society strongly advocate for statewide adoption of regulations to limit the sale or the offer for sale of e-cigarettes, nicotine liquids, personal electronic vaporizers, and other tobacco products to age 21+ retail tobacco establishments in order to provide ongoing monitoring of under-age sales.

The Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) is the statewide professional association for physicians and medical students, supporting 25,000 members. We are dedicated to educating and advocating for the physicians of Massachusetts and patients locally and nationally. A leadership voice in health care, the MMS contributes physician and patient perspectives to influence health-related legislation at the state and federal levels, works in support of public health, provides expert advice on physician practice management, and addresses issues of physician well-being. Under the auspices of the NEJM Group, the MMS extends our mission globally by advancing medical knowledge from research to patient care through the New England Journal of Medicine, NEJM Catalyst, and the NEJM Journal Watch family of specialty publications, and through our education products for health care professionals: NEJM Knowledge+, NEJM Resident 360, and our accredited and comprehensive continuing medical education programs.

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