Home 2005 November
Opinion
Springfield Mayor Charles Ryan was asked to gauge the still very preliminary plans for development of Springfield’s riverfront. He was cautious in his response, which is understandable given how little is actually known about the plans and the people behind them.

But he told BusinessWest that, at the very least, it’s good to have some actual competition — and from the private sector, no less — for sites such as the old Basketball Hall of Fame. And we couldn’t agree more.

Nearly everything that has been developed in Springfield over the past several years — including the new Hall, the MassMutual Center, and the new federal courthouse now under construction, have been built with mostly public dollars. What Springfield needs is private investment, and it’s finally starting to see the potential for some on its long underutilized riverfront.

At the moment, there are at least two proposals still under consideration for the old Hall of Fame. One is for a sports and fitness center, and the other for a mixed use concept that includes a public market and restaurant.

Meanwhile, two partners who are now part of the public market complex, and who together formed the Connecticut River Development Corp., are gauging the feasibility of locating a hotel on the Riverfront Park site just south of the Memorial Bridge.

These are positive developments for Springfield, but we urge caution as the city mulls its options for the riverfront. This is an important piece of the economic development puzzle in Springfield and everyone is anxious for something to happen. But we think it’s far more important for things to be done right than for them to be done quickly.

Take the proposed hotel, for example. CRDC’s principals say the hotel-building entity they’re working with fell in love with the Riverfront Park site and wants to develop there.

That’s fine, but there are a number of logistical hurdles to be cleared before a hotel can even be considered; the biggest of which would be the railroad tracks that sit between the site and West Columbus Avenue.

And even if that access problem can be solved, does the city want to put another hotel on the riverfront when all indications are that downtown, specifically the area near the recently opened MassMutual Center, would make far more sense?

As for the public market concept, we’ve said before that it looks good on paper, but we’re not convinced that it can draw the high volume of traffic needed to make such a venture viable. The Springfield Riverfront Development Corp. (SRDC), the real estate arm of the Hall of Fame, has been weighing the public market concept for more than a year now, carefully considering whether or not it will work.

We encourage more of this due diligence because the old Hall of Fame is an asset that shouldn’t be developed (or torn down, as is now likely) merely for the sake of development.

The same is true of the old York Street Jail, which has sat idle for many years now, making the imaginative ‘Jail for Sale’ sign on its east wing a seemingly permanent part of the downtown Springfield landscape.

Like the old Hall, the jail seems destined for the wrecker’s ball, because its quirky design does not lend itself to easy redevelopment.

Razing the structure should open the door to a number of opportunities, but the city must carefully weigh what the next use will be.

Indeed, if Springfield’s riverfront is to become the destination everyone hopes it will be, it must draw people from across Columbus Avenue — and across the region. Ideally, locations like Springfield’s riverfront work best when people can work, play, eat, shop, and live there — and we believe this is the multi-faceted course the city should pursue.

Above all, patience must dictate the overall development process. People in Springfield talk about how long the old Hall of Fame has been vacant — three years — and they express frustration. Then they consider how long the jail has been rotting (more than a decade) and they really get frustrated.

But the task at hand is not to merely develop the riverfront, but to develop it properly. Thus, the city must proceed with caution.?

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Health Care Providers Wait “ and Prepare ” for Avian Flu
Dr. Richard Brown

Dr. Richard Brown says the medical community is better prepared avian flu than it has been for other major health risks.

Avian flu is nothing new. The last three major flu pandemics, in fact, were caused by influenza viruses that stemmed from fowl and migratory bird populations. Those outbreaks were in 1968, 1957, and 1918 (the Spanish flu), and all originated in Asia, not unlike the current bird flu being monitored. “Usually, there are about three pandemics a century,” said Dr. Richard Brown, chief of infectious diseases at Baystate Medical Center. “So we’re sort of due. The question is: is this it?”

The term ‘pandemic’ refers to any outbreak that crosses borders as it spreads; i.e., a regional pandemic or global pandemic. The term does not refer to the actual severity of the illness that spreads, but the swift response on the part of various countries across the globe to the current avian flu ’ type H5N1, to be exact ’ is an effort to avoid the worst case scenario: a lethal, wide-spread public health issue.

Winging It

Carol Wojnarowski, RN, manager of Infection Control at Holyoke Medical Center, said there’s no way to tell if the danger associated with the flu virus currently on the global radar screen will increase, but said there is certainly cause for concern.

A strain of bird flu can exhibit either high or low pathogenicity, she explained, meaning it either exhibits a quick onset and the ability to kill an organism, or a slow onset and less likelihood to result in death.

The birds carrying the H5N1 virus in Asia and some parts of Eastern Europe have been exhibiting high pathogenicity, although only a handful of human cases have been recorded in remote areas of Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam to date.

“Those humans who have contracted the flu are those who are coming in very close contact with these birds,” Wojnarowski said.

“We would be incredibly concerned if we started to see it spreading in the urban centers of those countries, because that would mean it was probably being passed from human to human.”

In short, it’s the ease of spread coupled with a high pathogenicity that has government officials, including those in the U.S., on high alert.

“The common flu viruses we have here now kill 36,000 people in the U.S. each year,” she said. “90% of those people are over the age of 65, and usually die from pneumonia, which sets in after a prolonged illness.

“With a flu that has a high pathogenicity (for humans), people don’t have time to get to the pneumonia stage ’ they get sick very quickly and die from their flu symptoms. There’s also the danger of younger, healthier people getting the disease and dying from it ’ that’s what happened during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, and that’s what has people worried.”

Further, since migratory birds are carrying the virus as much as fowl relegated to farms or contained areas, the virus has been seen creeping across the Asian continent steadily, another warning sign of an approaching pandemic.

“There’s no question that these birds are moving,” Brown said. “The spread is directly related to their flight patterns.”

Shot in the Dark

To address those concerns, a vaccine is currently in development for avian flu, although scientists are working with a moving target ’ flu viruses tend to mutate easily, making vaccines ineffective.

“If a flu virus mutates in a major way, it essentially becomes a new virus to which populations are susceptible,” Brown explained.

So in addition to vaccine development, contingency plans are being put in place on various plateaus, from the federal level to the state level and within hospitals and communities across the country.

Some policies being drafted are simple and resemble those often recommended for dealing with traditional flu viruses ’ avoiding the workplace when ill and constant hand-washing, for instance.

Hospitals are also working to stock greater numbers of masks, and create isolation wings or rooms and quarantine plans for the facilities, as well as for entire communities. They are also developing ‘surge plans,’ designed to help facilities handle the sudden onset of a number of patients that exceeds normal levels.

Wojnarowski added that all hospitals work closely with the Centers for Disease Control to report instances of flu hospitalizations and other instances of infectious disease.

If any patterns begin to develop, that ‘fish-net approach’ catches them early. In addition, she said the nation is also surveying poultry and migratory bird populations, in order to identify potential carriers of the virus.

“Once the birds are sick, it’s too late ’ the virus is already doing its damage,” she said. “The country is taking the monitoring and evaluation of these birds very seriously.”

Referring not only to his own organization but the country as a whole, Brown added that he’s seeing a greater response to this health issue than others in recent memory, such as SARS.

“I think we’re responding better to this issue than we have in the past,” he said. “This flu has the potential to attack healthier populations than we are used to; it’s more virulent, and people could be more prone to respiratory failure. That prompts a lot of questions, from the availability of ventilators to staffing, and the discussions to answer those questions are happening.”

It’s important to note, Wojnarowski and Brown agreed, that the U.S. does not anticipate imminent danger from the avian flu, although the plans being put in place now are not being considered pre-emptive or kneejerk reactions; rather, they are examples of proactive measures.

“They’re a good test,” said Brown. “In regard to the vaccinations, as we develop vaccines we’re also developing better ways to make them. There has been a lot of collaboration with hospitals and the state. Disaster plans are becoming more streamlined, and any weaknesses are being pointed out and fixed.

“There are also medications available that are likely to have some impact on this flu, he continued. “People should remember to live their lives ’ there are no restrictions on travel at this time, and people should feel free to eat chicken and other poultry. “This flu may not be on its way this year,” he concluded, “but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen next year.”

And he hopes it won’t be news to anyone.

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Go FIT Foundation Provides Youths, Women with An Exercise in Healthy Lifestyles
Susan Jaye-Kaplan

Susan Jaye-Kaplan

Susan Jaye-Kaplan knows all the statistics about obesity in America, especially among young people. She doesn’t need numbers, however: she can see the problem as she conducts programs in conjunction with the foundation she has created called Go FIT. Designed to provide life-long lessons in good health and nutrition, the program stresses that children have to walk before they can run.

Susan Jaye-Kaplan knows what it’s like to be underprivileged. Orphaned at an early age, she lived with various relatives in Boston, and was on her own‘ and on the streets‘ before graduating from high school.

“I knew what it was like to not have a roof over my head and not know where the next meal was going to come from,” she told BusinessWest, adding that she was essentially going nowhere, and fast, until a mentor stepped into her life.

His name was Lippman Hart Geronimus. He was a bacteriologist at Beth Israel Hospital, and he came across Jaye-Kaplan as she walked around various offices and labs looking for a summer job.“He found something for me to do,” she said, adding that his help went well beyond a paycheck.

“He made me say the same thing every day‘ that I can do anything and be anything I want to be as long as I remain focused, hard-working, challenged, and honest.”

Inspired by her own good fortune and how it was shaped by someone who gave her guidance and direction and helped her believe in herself, Jaye-Kaplan has dedicated much of her adult life to providing similar opportunities for others. A year ago, she and her husband founded the Go FIT Foundation, which provides health and fitness opportunities to economically underprivileged and underserved youth and women in inner city and rural settings.

The foundation conducts six-week programs designed to stress the benefits of walking and running. But its overall mission is to go much further.

Indeed, Go FIT is about more than helping an increasingly overweight population of young people and women learn about diet and exercise, said Jaye-Kaplan.

It also exists to provide guidance, show children that others care about them, and convince these young people that they should care about (and take care of) themselves.

The foundation has conducted 12 programs to date, at sites ranging from YMCAs to area inner-city schools to the Mass. Career Development Institute, and has received requests for dozens more. The early success of programs conducted in the Pioneer Valley, coupled with exposure in publications such as New England Runner and Runners World, has prompted requests for programs from across the state and, more recently, other areas of the country.

Taking Go FIT from a local to a regional and then national (and perhaps international) initiative is inevitable, said Jaye- Kaplan, noting quickly that she and the group’s board of directors will move carefully as they consider expansion.

Like the young people involved in the Go FIT programs, the group’s leaders will walk before they run.

Step by Step

Jaye-Kaplan doesn’t hide her frustration as she talks about the overall fitness and athletic abilities of the youths she sees at Go FIT programs‘ or the distinct lack thereof.

When they start the six-week programs, she said, participants do 30 minutes of walking and running‘ in repetitions involving four minutes of walking followed by one minute of running‘ and more than half simply are not up to it.

The poor conditioning is attributable to a number of factors, she said, including everything from improper diet to the influence of video games to the fact that parents living in many inner-city neighborhoods will not let their children out to play because the streets and parks (what few exist) are too dangerous.

Participation in a Go FIT program will not change a child’s physique, weight, or endurance level, said Jaye-Kaplan. “Six weeks will not change who they are today, but the hope is that their perception of who they are for themselves will change.

“We’re hopeful that we can change the way young people perceive what they can and can’t do for wellness and life,” she continued.

“If they can look at one less day of television and one less day of fast food … if we can change the perception of what they’re capable of doing in their own minds, that’s truly the beginning of what can happen for the rest of their lives.”

This was Jaye-Kaplan’s vision when she and other members of the Pioneer Valley Women’s Running Club, which she formed, started a ‘Walk to Run’ program that engaged area youths in programs stressing exercise and nutrition.

Conducted in conjunction with groups such as Girls Inc. in Holyoke and area YMCAs, the ‘Walk to Run’ programs used running as a way to get young people thinking about the long-term benefits of exercise and healthy eating habits‘ for both the body and mind, she explained.

The running club was not in a position to expand ‘Walk to Run’, said Jaye- Kaplan, so she and her husband created the Go FIT Foundation to carry on the mission and take it to a higher level.

The group received more than 80 requests for programs in its first year, she said, and it conducted as many as time and resources would allow. The sessions are carefully prepared, she explained, adding that there is a lengthy training regimen for mentors prior to each program. Each day’s session begins with a meeting in a “friendship circle,” she said, adding that there are speakers on subjects ranging from nutrition to dental hygiene, as well as exercise routines. Participants log their activities‘ and their thoughts about them‘ in Go FIT journals.

Students are given sneakers and Tshirts, said Jaye-Kaplan, but, ultimately, they take something more valuable with them come program’s end‘ appreciation of the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

Programs generally cost about $5,000, which covers clothing and footwear for participants and other expenses, said Kaplan, noting that corporate sponsors have helped offset those costs.

Incorporated last January, Go FIT has exploded onto the local health and education scene, picking up major corporate sponsors, energetic and community-minded board members, and considerable momentum along the way.

Carol Leary, president of Bay Path College and one of those board members, told BusinessWest that she became involved because she believes in Go FIT’s mission of both educating and mentoring young people and women.

The college has taken part in a number of the group’s initiatives, she said, including a program for students of Springfield’s Beal School that took part on the campus, and a nutrition program designed to help Bay Path students make smart nutrition decisions.

“These students are enjoying real independence, usually for the first time in their lives,” she said. “They can eat whatever they want; we want them to make smart, informed decisions about nutrition.”

Leary said she has been inspired not only by GoFIT’s mission, but by Jaye- Kaplan’s energetic, imaginative approach to carrying it out.

By that, she meant the creation of what she called ‘concentric circles.’ “Touch one person, and they are educated in a new way of thinking or a new way of behaving,” he explained, “then they will touch another person. And that’s the brilliance of this program.

“Those individuals who go through the program … their lives will be changed forever; they will always think about what they eat and about the value of exercise,” she continued. “And they will hopefully then touch another person‘ their own child, a brother, a sister, a mother, a father‘ who will hopefully be touched by the Go FIT philosophy.”

Other area colleges and businesses have been similarly inspired. The list of sponsors and supporters includes Springfield College and Western New England College, Big Y, Reebok, Lenox American Saw, Health New England, Baystate Health, Spalding, and others.

Looking forward, Jaye-Kaplan said Go FIT’s early success and its strong base of support should enable it to expand its reach well beyond the Pioneer Valley. Already, the Boston Parks & Recreation Dept. has made inquiries about scheduling programs for dozens of sites, and Jaye-Kaplan anticipates handling that assignment in 2007.

“We’re getting calls from Wisconsin, Kansas, Tennessee, all over,” she said. “It’s gratifying but also a little overwhelming. We’re going to expand at a workable pace; we want to get all our ducks in a row.”

The Finish Line

Jaye-Kaplan told Business West that many young people cry when their sixweek Go FIT programs end‘ and she often gets teary eyed herself. That’s because she views those final sessions not as the end of something, but rather a continuation (hopefully) of a new and different outlook on health, fitness‘ and life.

As she said, she can’t take an obese child and make her fit and trim in a month and a half. But she can lay the foundation for a healthier life, and that is her ultimate mission. And she’s going to take it take one child, and one step, at a time.

George O’Brien can be reached at[email protected]

Departments

The following business incorporations were recorded in Hampden and Hampshire counties, and are the latest available. They are listed by community.

AGAWAM

Proden Enterprises of America Inc.,
630 Silver St.,Agawam 01001.
Daniel Luquette, 2665 Marcel St.,
St. Laurent, Quebec, H4R 1A6 Canada.
National Corporate Research, Ltd., 630 Silver St.,
Agawam 01001, registered agent.
(Foreign corp; DE) Sales of steel rule dies.

CHICOPEE

Andre Marcoux Enterprises Inc.,
86 Catherine St., Chicopee 01013.
Andre Marcoux, same.
Auto body repair.

C.S.D. Inc.,
1860 Westover Road, Chicopee 01020.
Stephan Krugsman, same.
(Foreign corp; DE) Software development and sales.

JCE Textile Corp.,
15 DeJordy Lane, Chicopee 01020.
Edward F. Mrozinski, 138 Slate Road,
Chicopee 01020. To manufacture textiles.

Royal Regal Entertainment Production Inc.,
36 Savory Dr., Chicopee 01020.
Winchell P.C. Woo, same. Entertainment production.

Royal Regal International Inc.,
36 Savory Dr., Chicopee 01020.
Winchell P.C. Woo, same. International trade.

EASTHAMPTON

Jai Shree Ram, Corp.,
24 Kingsberry Way, Easthampton 01027.
Yogesh C. Patel, same.
To conduct the business of a package store.

EAST LONGMEADOW

Admiral Roofing Inc.,
444 A North Main St., No. 136,
East Longmeadow 01028.
Yana Abramovich, 84 Fairviedw Ave.,
Chicopee 01013. Home improvements — roofing, siding, etc.

Che Pecat Inc.,
83 Harkness Ave., East Longmeadow 01028.
Maria Cardinale Joyce, same.
To manufacture, create, distribute and
otherwise transfer any and all goods.

GRANBY

Granby Community Access and Media Inc.,
257 State St., Granby 01033.
Teresa Lajoie, 160 School St.,
Granby 01033. (Nonprofit) To operate a public,
educational, and governmental access
programming television studio, etc.

MONSON

L.I.G.H.T. Ministries Inc.,
14 King St., Monson 01057.
Joseph Wilson, same. (Nonprofit)
Recording and promoting music ministries
geared around local talents and churches of New England.

PALMER

KATC Corp.,
1465 North Main St., Palmer 01069.
Anthony Ventura, 1007 Woonsocket
Hill Road, North Smithfield, RI 02896.
Kristopher Ventura, 1465 North Main St.,
Palmer 01069, registered agent. Restaurant operations.

SOUTH HADLEY

Yankee Onsite Wastewater Association Inc.,
68 Fairview St., South Hadley 01705.
John J. Higgins, same. (Nonprofit)
To improve the onsite management of wastewater in New England, etc.

SOUTHWICK

Whitfield Enterprises Inc.,
17 Charles Johnson Road, Southwick 01077.
Karen G. Whitfield, same.
To operate a boarding kennel for dogs, cats and other household animals.

SPRINGFIELD

Cortes School Services Inc.,
611 Union St., Springfield 01109.
Nancy Cortes, same.
To transport school children from pick-up
locations to school and from school to drop-off locations.

LKM Modeling Inc.,
38 Angelica Dr., Springfield 01129.
Elizabeth J. Mitchell, same. Modeling.

Masosaw Management Inc.,
340 Cooley St., Unit 278, Springfield 01128.
Samuel A. Forde, 30 Grove St.,
Springfield 01107. To deal in real estate and ancillary services.

McKnight District Improvement Association Inc.,
The, 21 Clarendon St., Springfield 01109.
Hazel L. H. Adams, 47 Forest Park Ave.,
Springfield 01108. (Nonprofit)
To preserve and enhance the McKnight District of Springfield.

R&D Development Inc.,
93- 95 High St., Springfield 01105.
Lynden Greaves, same. To deal in real estate.

Springfield Titans Baseball Club Inc.,
65 Palo Alto Road, Springfield 01128.
Alphonse DeMaio Jr., same. (Nonprofit)
To provide the opportunity of youths under 19 to participate in organized competitive baseball and softball programs. etc.

ZDB-CAB Corp.,
501 St. James Ave., Springfield 01109.
Daniel Bean, same.
To own and operate a used vehicle sales business.

WESTFIELD

A-One Realty Inc.,
11 Knox Circle, Westfield 01085.
Robert J. Corcoran, same. Real estate sales, development and management.

WEST SPRINGFIELD

Bernardas Bucas Inc.,
166 River St., Apt. 6, West Springfield 01089.
Bernardas Bucas, same. Cable installation service .

Time Design International Inc.,
150 Front St., West Springfield 01089.
Jonathan Haverly, same. Daily planner manufacture and sales.

Departments

Bank Named Philanthropic Corporation

EASTHAMPTON — Easthampton Savings Bank was recently recognized by the Western Mass. Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals as the 2005 Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation of Western Mass. In other company news, the bank continued to experience steady growth in assets, deposits, loans, and capital during the third quarter, according to William S. Hogan, Jr., President and CEO. The bank’s total assets increased $28 million from a year ago, and an increase of $8 million over the last quarter. Also, total assets now stand at $656 million. The loan portfolio totaled $482 million at the end of September, an increase of $7.7 million or 6% for the quarter and $23.1 million or a 5% increase since the end of September last year. The bank also experienced a deposit gain of $13.1 million from a year ago.

Advertising Club Sports New Logo

SPRINGFIELD — The Advertising Club of Western Mass. has a new logo, created by Lilly Pereira of Bidwell ID in Florence. The logo was selected from more than 40 submissions sent to the Ad Club in response to a design contest last February. The Ad Club, celebrating its 90th anniversary, called for designs that would update as well as reflect the image and mission statement of the club. As the contest winner, Pereira will receive a one-year Ad Club membership and her logo will be entered into the 2006 Ad Club awards competition.

Fair Trade Coffee Served At UMass

AMHERST — UMass Amherst has joined the Fair Trade coffee movement by adopting Pura Vida, a fair trade coffee provider, as one of its coffee suppliers in the dining commons and other retail outlets on campus. Pura Vida Coffee sells Fair Trade, organic coffee throughout the United States. It was founded by John Sage and Chris Dearnley, and is based in Seattle, Wash. The partners actively promote a business model based on more humane capitalism built on economic fairness, environmental sustainability, and philanthropy. The mission of Pura Vida is to use capitalism to empower producers, motivate consumers, inspire business leaders, and ultimately serve the poor. The Dining services Department completed extensive market research that indicated that 59% of students agreed they would like to see Fair Trade coffee provided on campus. In addition to Pura Vida, dining services will still provide coffee from other suppliers, including local coffee from Rao’s, an Amherst coffee shop, New England Coffee and Starbucks.

MassMutual To Pay $1.2B Dividend

SPRINGFIELD — MassMutual Financial Group recently announced the distribution of nearly $1.2 billion to eligible participating policyholders under the dividend payout for 2006 – a double-digit increase over the 2005 dividend payout. Nearly all traditional life insurance policyholders will receive a 2006 dividend larger than or equal to the dividend they received in 2005. More specifically, more than 89% of traditional life insurance policyholders will receive a 2006 dividend at least 10% larger than they received in 2005, and 54% will receive a 2006 dividend at least 20% larger than they received in 2005. Dividends for a given policy are influenced by factors including policy series, issue age, policy duration, policy loan rate and changes in experience. For more information, visit www.massmutual.com.

WNEC Named Employer of the Year; College of Distinction

SPRINGFIELD — Western New England College (WNEC) has been honored as “Employer of the Year” by the Employers Assoc. of the Northeast in the nonprofit/over 100 employees category. Awards are based on several criteria, including effective communication, fostering employee input and feedback, encouraging professional development, fostering work/life balance, and promoting a positive, professional culture while valuing diversity and individuality. In presenting the award, the Employers Association saluted WNEC as an organization that values and respects its employees’ commitment to the organization. In other campus news, WNEC will be featured in Colleges of Distinction, a new college guide and Web site profiling some of America’s best bets in higher education. Based on the opinions of guidance counselors, educators and admissions professionals, Colleges of Distinction honors colleges that excel in key areas of educational quality. In order to qualify for inclusion, WNEC was evaluated for its performance in the Four Distinctions: “Engaged Students,” “Great Teaching,” “Vibrant Communities” and “Successful Outcomes.” Guidance counselors and admissions professionals around the country recommended WNEC in every category. WNEC was also noted for its active student body, devoted faculty, and academic programs based on developing collaboration, communication, and problem-solving skills. WNEC will also be profiled in the forthcoming book, Colleges of Distinction, which will be published in 2006.

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Beacon Hill Pushes for A Consensus on Health Care Reform
Dr. Charles Cavagnaro

Dr. Charles Cavagnaro said the quick pace at which lawmakers are approaching heath care reform is necessary to securing federal funds.

The fast track. That’s where the Commonwealth’s health care reform efforts currently sit, only temporarily stalled after speeding toward the point at which the House and Senate must hammer out a compromise between rival plans. While it’s true that the proposals have some similarities, they also have some major differences, especially when it comes to their effect on the business community.

When reached, that compromise will go to Gov. Mitt Romney, who has forwarded his own health care reform proposal, giving lawmakers three measures from which to craft a response.

It remains to be seen what the final draft of this, the most recent attempt at reform legislation in Massachusetts will look like. But legislators hope to have a plan in place by early January ‘ an ambitious goal, given that the House and Senate approved their respective bills on Nov. 3 and 9. But time is of the essence — and it’s a big part of the story.

A plan must be in place soon if the state is to qualify for $335 million in federal funding used as both the carrot and the stick in an effort to compel states to provide health insurance for more of their residents. According to Eileen McAnneny, vice president for Government Affairs for the Associated Industries of Mass. (A.I.M.), an original deadline of March 1 was set by the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Studies (CMS), however the center recently requested that Massachusetts file its proposal by Jan. 15.

“The state and federal governments have a binding agreement that all proposals are submitted at the absolute latest by March 1,” she said, “but since that agreement was made, CMS has requested that the work be done by Jan. 15. Some would argue that the request is not legally binding, but there are millions of dollars riding on this and it is probably best to honor that request.” All states are currently working under the same federal guidelines that require health care reform packages be approved at the state level and later at the federal level, in order to receive federal dollars that have been earmarked for state health care programs by CMS. It’s also money that is necessary for most states, including Massachusetts, to put new programs into place for the coming year.

Jeffrey Ciuffreda, vice president for Government Affairs with the Western Mass. Economic Development Council, echoed McAnneny’s comments in regard to the importance of chasing those dollars. “We’re talking about matching funds for health care for all of the states,” said “It’s roughly 50 cents on the dollar that came into the picture a few years ago when the feds said the states needed to start better controlling their costs and revamping their health care systems.

“There’s some debate as to where that deadline will finally fall, but it has to be soon,” he said. “The original date was last year, but a waiver was granted to all states, so that’s why there is such a push on now.” The speed at which Massachusetts legislators have moved to craft their respective measures — not to mention individual provisions — has been cause for concern for some, who fear that a hastily drafted plan could lead to problems in the future, such as health insurance plans with high deductibles or penalization systems. In a statement issued on Nov. 1, Richard Lord, president of A.I.M., criticized the House for rushing its proposal.

“A hasty process lends itself to errors, omissions, and unnecessary confusion, particularly when we are analyzing, reviewing, and digesting a proposal of this magnitude,” he said. Later, on Nov. 9, Lord targeted the Senate, saying that A.I.M. was “disappointed that this far along in deliberations, the current Senate bill has serious shortcomings.” He went on to list several bullet points the organization had previously cited as important to a complete reform package, including a vehicle or entity to facilitate use of pre-tax dollars by individuals to purchase health insurance. Still, many, A.I.M. officials included, contend that garnering that $335 million is necessary in order to foster change in the health care system, and therefore the quick turnaround of the House and Senate bills is also essential, especially as the deadline approaches. “We recognize the pressures,” said McAnneny.

“We understand the importance of submitting these proposals soon, so we’re certainly not asking the Legislature to take its time.” Dr. Charles Cavagnaro, chief executive officer for Wing Memorial Hospital, and also a practicing physician, also underscored the importance of those federal dollars by pointing out that without them, health care reform will be delayed substantially in the future. “It is not the plan that is important now, but the funding behind it,” he said. “Without it, we can’t implement anything. That federal funding is important to the state and the legislators, and they don’t want to lose it.”

The Power of Three

The three rival health care reform initiatives have similar goals: increasing coverage to the uninsured — thus shrinking or eliminating the Uncompensated Care Pool — and streamlining the state’s health care system. All three plans, however, differ in several respects. Both the House and Senate bills followed an early, more global health care reform proposal set forth earlier in the year by the governor. That proposal included a mandate that all Massachusetts residents obtain coverage, either on their own, through a state-controlled program such as MassHealth, or through a low-cost-policy program.

It also advised improvement of the malpractice system and consumer access to health care provider quality and cost information, and increases in Medicaid reimbursement rates for providers. Both the House and Senate bills include some provisions similar to Romney’s, however they also approach several issues, particularly the uninsured population, in different ways The House bill requires that people who can afford insurance purchase it, and would increase the number of people covered by Medicaid by tapping the tobacco settlement fund (in its entirety) ‘ a figure of about $255 million a year. The House bill also mandates that busi-ness owners provide insurance for their employees or pay into an insurance fund ‘ essentially, a tax is levied on employers with 11 or more employees ‘ employers with 10 or fewer employees are exempt.
This controversial provision has drawn fire from state business groups including A.I.M. “Proponents of the new tax are characterizing it as a ‘fair-share assessment’ designed to require businesses that don’t offer health insurance to pay into our health care system. This description is patently false,” said Lord. “By providing a carve-out to really small businesses (10 or fewer employees), the bill would exempt 95% of employers that do not currently provide health insurance to their workers from this new tax, estimated to cost $700 million annually. This bill is really about asking employers of Massachusetts that already provide insurance to foot the bill for health care expansion.” Currently, only Hawaii uses a system similar to that contained in the House version, and Lord believes that such a move would hurt the Commonwealth’s already fragile economy. “Simply shifting the burden to pay for an inefficient system is not reform,” he said. “Controlling costs is the linchpin for addressing access and accountability. We must examine the way that health care is delivered in this state and begin to reshape our delivery system into a more efficient, financially viable system that can be sustained over time without sizeable new contributions from the paying public each and every year.” The Senate bill does not include such a mandate, but it does stipulate that employers who don’t pay for health insurance cover the health care costs of those workers who receive health care services.

Romney opposes the employer mandate set forth by the House, but has said he wants legislators to move quickly to reach a compromise, in order to tap $335 million in federal money to fund the finalized plan. Ciuffreda said that Romney got the ball rolling with an early set of health care reform proposals, in part to meet the deadline for acquiring those federal funds, but stepped back while the House and Senate drafted their bills. “He deserves the credit for getting this started by using the bully pulpit and fueling the fire,” said Ciuffreda. “There were three pieces to this debate and there are still many, many moving parts, but now it comes down to the House and the Senate, and the plan they’re going to decide on between them.” While Romney has steered clear of threatening a veto of any legislation that proposes mandated health insurance for employers, or penalties for those who do not provide it, Ciuffreda added that the governor is likely to enter the ring again if the provision shows up on the draft of the bill that emerges from conference committee sessions. “He’s firmly against that employer mandate, and if needed, that’s where we’re going to see him weigh in,” he said.

Drawing Distinctions

Arguably, Romney’s proposal and the Senate bill are most similar in their approach to reform. The Senate measure is considered more cautious than that of the House; Ciuffreda explained that the Senate bill lays out a plan to cover about half of the state’s uninsured over the next two years, whereas the House bill proposes that 95% of that population’s insurance needs be immediately addressed through the mandated insurance requirements.

“The Senate’s bill could be considered conservative, while the House bill is more aggressive,” said Ciuffreda. “The House is trying to take 95% of a problem and solve it, but the Senate is trying to help 50% or 60% of the uninsured population and provide assistance, then look at how the plan is working in a couple of years.

“That might mean that we have a better handle on who those people are in two or three years,” he continued, “and at that time it’s possible that an even better bill can be drafted.” Not unlike the bills themselves, the impressions of professionals in health care of the current trifecta of legislation are varied.

Cavagnaro said hospital administrators support the general concept of reform as a step in the right direction. “It’s safe to say that all hospitals are united in believing that this is something that needs to be done, but we are not as united in how that should be done,” he said. Cavagnaro noted, however, that most hospitals agree that the impetus behind each piece of legislation is a good faith effort to improve health care in Massachusetts. “In general, all three versions have merit,” he told BusinessWest. “I’m hopeful that all three parties will come to a compromise without trying to get each other’s goat. “The bottom line is the health care system is broken across the country,” he added, “and it is particularly broken in Massachusetts, so it’s clear that something needs to be done.”

Cavagnaro said the uncompensated care pool has become the crux of the issue for many of the Commonwealth’s hospitals. “For some, it is a huge burden,” he said. “It’s behind all of this legislation. Even a compromised bill would begin to address the needs of the free care pool.”

Proceeding With Caution

And, he added that the speed at which the proposals have been drafted on Beacon Hill will likely contribute to a plan that will prove to have some holes. However, Cavagnaro said it could also be a necessary risk. “It has definitely moved the discussion to a new level,” he said. “And it has put greater importance on it than has ever been there before. The attention to the matter alone is a step forward.”?

Departments

The following bankruptcy petitions were recently filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Readers should confirm all information with the court.

Adon, Sergio E.
17 Leyfred Terrace Springfield,
MA 01108 Chapter: 7 Filing
Date: 10/16/05

Alderman, Laura B.
6 Meadow Glen Dr. Granby,
MA 01033 Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 11/10/05

Alderman, William N.
6 Meadow Glen Dr. Granby,
MA 01033 Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 11/10/05

Almodovar, Rosemary
45 West Court Holyoke,
MA 01040 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Attanasio, David Paul
28 Jennings St. Springfield,
MA 01119 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/17/05

Attanasio, Pamela Jean
28 Jennings St. Springfield,
MA 01119 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/17/05

Barabolkin, Dmitriy
Alexander 447 Page Boulevard,
Apart Springfield, MA 01104 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Barabolkin, Marie Ellen
447 Page Boulevard, Apart Springfield,
MA 01104 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Bashaw, Gerald. J.
126 Main St. Agawam,
MA 01001 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Bauer, Karen L.
20 Taylor Ave. Westfield,
MA 01085 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Beauchene, Meghan M.
36 Peterson Circle Feeding Hills,
MA 01030 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Beyer, Jill
50 Calumet Road Holyoke,
MA 01040 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Boothby, Mary Ann
70 Ottawa St. Agawam,
MA 01001 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Boucher, Sandra A.
77 Highland View St. Westfield,
MA 01085 Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 11/02/05

Brow, Elizabeth M.
41 Everett Ave 29A Belchertown,
MA 01007 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Buoniconti, Theresa
430-432 South Westfield S Feeding Hills,
MA 01030 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Cannamela, Audrey J.
35 McKinley Ave. Ludlow,
MA 01056 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Capaccio, Mary E.
45 Fremont St. Springfield,
MA 01105 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Capaccio, Pasquale
45 Fremont St. Springfield,
MA 01105 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Cardona, Willy J.
32 Acushnet Ave. Springfield,
MA 01105 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Carosello, Richard
85 Sessions Dr. Hampden,
MA 01036 Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 11/08/05

Cayon, James M.
322 Main Street, Apt. B Easthampton,
MA 01027 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Ceccarini, Bridget Lynn
22 Princeton St. Westfield,
MA 01085 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Conley, Kenneth George
99 Falley Dr. Westfield,
MA 01085 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Cyranowski-Grimaldi, Jane C.
567 Dickenson St. Springfield,
MA 01108 Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 10/27/05

Dana, Scott D.
123 Hamilton St. Belchertown,
MA 01007 Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 11/14/05

Dana, Stephanie B.
123 Hamilton St. Belchertown,
MA 01007 Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 11/14/05

Davieu, Charles R.
35 Oconnor Ave. Holyoke,
MA 01040 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Doyle-Workman, John Charles
44 Park St P.O. BOX 1027 Belchertown,
MA 01007 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Ducharme, Esther
164 Hubbard St. Ludlow,
MA 01056 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Figueroa, Wanda I.
747 Hampden St. Holyoke,
MA 01040 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Flowers, Daniel
21 Flynt Ave. Monson,
MA 01057 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Fogarty, Kelly Nicole
25 Depote St. Belchertown,
MA 01007 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Ford, Gary T.
198 East Allen Ridge Road Springfield,
MA 01118 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Ford, Gary T.
198 East Allen Ridge Road Springfield,
MA 01118 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/21/05

Frenier, Margaret
21 Summer St. Northampton,
MA 01060 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/17/05

Gordon, Richard E.
3 Hidden Place Southwick,
MA 01077 Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Gouvin, Bernice R.
31 State Street Apt. 302B Monson,
MA 01057 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Griggs, Jeffrey L.
50 Church Street, Apartme Westfield,
MA 01085 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Gubula, Matthew P.
6 Cherry Hill Road Holyoke,
MA 01040 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Gubula, Shana A.
6 Cherry Hill Road Holyoke,
MA 01040 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Hamre, Elizabeth A.
50 Manor Court Springfield,
MA 01118 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/17/05

Harris, Isaiah L.
29 Claremont St. Springfield,
MA 01108 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/03/05

Heimsath, Steven M.
129 Sumner Ave., Apt. 4 Springfield,
MA 01108 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Howland, Pamela J.
27 Ireland St. Worthington,
MA 01098 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Keller, Joan
144 Cabot St. Chicopee,
MA 01013 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Kolosewicz, Loretta Jean
41 South Street, Unit 45 Easthampton,
MA 01027 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Larkin, Thomas Francis
13 Fred Jackson Road Southwick,
MA 01077 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Le, Hong Thi
580 White St. Springfield,
MA 01108 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Le, Viet The
1135 Shoemaker Lane Feeding Hills,
MA 01030 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Lee, Patricia A
229 Hillside Rd. Southwick,
MA 01077 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/01/05

Lee, Xiong Chue
16 Lucretia Ave. Chicopee,
MA 01013 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Leigh, Denise A
87 Marion St. Chicopee,
MA 01013 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Lewis, Jason E
81 Blanford Road Granville,
MA 01034 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Littlejohn, Mark
80 Craiwell Ave. West Springfield,
MA 01089 Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 11/02/05

Maguire, Edward J.
135 LaPlante Cirecle Easthampton,
MA 01027 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Messenger, Susan Diane
38 Berkshire Ave. Southwick,
MA 01077 Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 11/15/05

Miller-Baker, Maryanne
397 Centenial Way Springfield,
MA 01118 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Morgan, Gordon Samuel
86 Lakevilla Ave. Springfield,
MA 01109 Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 10/26/05

Mularski, Peter J.
85 Pomeroy Meadow Southampton,
MA 01073 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Murphy, Ellen M.
542 White St. Springfield,
MA 01108 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Nestor, Melissa
45 Garden St. South Hadley,
MA 01075 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Nevue, Thomas M.
132 Comins Pond Road Warren,
MA 01083 Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 11/15/05

Newsky, Victoria B.
489 Skyline Trail Chester,
MA 01011 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

O’Keefe, Edward F.
PO Box 1108 Belchertown,
MA 01007 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Ortiz, Janet
45 North Bridge St. Holyoke,
MA 01040 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Otis, Lisette J.
281 Chauncey Walker Road Ave. B, Lot 78 Belchertown,
MA 01007 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Paton, Christopher L.
14 Honeysuckle Dr. Chicopee,
MA 01022 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Paton, Katherine W.
14 Honeysuckle Dr. Chicopee,
MA 01022 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Perry, Russell D.
196 King St. Springfield,
MA 01109 Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Pixley, Sandra J.
14 1/2 Park Ave. Monson,
MA 01057 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Provost, Anelda A.
61 Greene St. Springfield,
MA 01109 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Punderson, Todd Breck
140 Union St. #77 Westfield,
MA 01085 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/17/05

Racine, Lori-Ann
253 WARE ST., #B Palmer,
MA 01069 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Renaud, Richard E.
32 Bliss Street Apartment West Springfield,
MA 01089 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Renaud, Rosemary
32 Bliss Street Apartment West Springfield,
MA 01089 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Rivera, Josue
1340-1342 Dwight St. Holyoke,
MA 01040 Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Robbins, Lori Jean
44 Martin Farm Rd. Hampden,
MA 01036 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Robbins, Mattie B.
32 Westford Ave. Springfield,
MA 01109 Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 11/01/05

Rosado, Hector L.
35 Wolcott St. Holyoke,
MA 01040 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Rzonca, Daniel M.
PO Box 204 Westfield,
MA 01086 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Sanchez, Betsy
67 Leslie St. Springfield,
MA 01104 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Santiago, Enrique
1068 Main Street, 2nd Flo Holyoke,
MA 01040 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Santiago, Rose M.
1068 Main Street, 2nd Flo Holyoke,
MA 01040 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Sargis, Thelma Celeste
11 4th Ave. Westfield,
MA 01085 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/17/05

Sayers, Robin L.
Post Offfice Box 134 Worthington,
MA 01098 Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Schell, Yong S.
17 Barton St. Granby,
MA 01033 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Snyder, Lisa M.
86 Kowal Dr. Chicopee,
MA 01020 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Sollecito, Andrew P.
42 Virginia St. Springfield,
MA 01108 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Stevenson-Mitchell,
Christina Ann 92 Riverboat Village Rd. South Hadley,
MA 01075 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/25/05

Sullivan, David W.
253 C Ware St. Palmer,
MA 01069 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Sullivan, Robert A.
4 3rd Ave. Westfield,
MA 01085 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Taylor, Earlene V.
94 Genesee St. Springfield,
MA 01104 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Thomas, Karen A.
P.O. Box 51406 Indian Orchard,
MA 01151 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Tucker, Catrese Shubrick
6 Alsace St Springfield,
MA 01108 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Vega, Onelia
101 Oakwood Ter. Springfield,
MA 01109 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Veloz, Rene
22 Hadley Court Springfield,
MA 01119 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Vicki, LaBonte
83 Sheridan St. Chicopee,
MA 01020 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Wallace, Joanne
1343 East Mountain Road Westfield,
MA 01085 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Wallace, LeRoy
1343 East Mountain Road Westfield,
MA 01085 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Wallis, Guy C
20 Taylor Ave. Westfield,
MA 01085 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Walz, Dawn Marie
244 Granville Road Westfield,
MA 01085 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Walz, Glen Richard
244 Granville Road Westfield,
MA 01085 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Wilkinson, Melissa Anne
162 Russell Road Westfield,
MA 01085 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Young, Grace A.
P.O. Box 33 East Longmeadow,
MA 01028 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Morin, George C.
2210 Main St. West Warren,
MA 01092 Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/05

Opinion
On Beacon Hill, legislators are debating ways to increase the number of people with health insurance coverage. The outcome of that debate will reshape the health insurance landscape, protect the health of more of your friends and neighbors, and affect your medical costs.

Change is coming, and it is needed. Though they differ on specifics, the governor, the Senate president and the speaker of the House all agree on that point. For the wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents, we must seize this once-in-a-generation moment.

Health insurance enables patients to access the preventative care that saves lives, so it is time to set ourselves on a path to affordable, meaningful coverage for everyone. It is at the heart of what hospitals stand for in this debate.

Coverage should take the form of expanded Medicaid for the needy and new, more affordable private health insurance.These options should truly meet peoples’ medical needs. Reform that offers benefits that are low and co-pays and deductibles that are high will not work.

There must also be a recognition that no matter how generous the benefits, no matter how broad the coverage, there will still be those who will fall between the cracks.There must be a safety net for them and for those who provide their care. The form of such a safety net can be debated, but there should be no disagreement about its necessity.It’s not realistic to assume that we won’t need a safety net once health reform becomes law. That will put vulnerable people in harm’s way.

As lawmakers focus on reform, one of the great challenges confronting them is affordability to consumers, businesses and taxpayers. As you might expect, in the current system, all sides try to reduce costs.But if a business chooses to cut expenses by dropping coverage for employees, we all end up paying for that choice as those employees become state-subsidized ‘free care’ patients. At the vast majority of good businesses that offer health benefits, some employees who are financially capable of enrolling sometimes gamble by opting out. And these aren’t the only “free riders.” The state has a track record of consuming services through Medicaid and paying for far less than the cost of those services.

That is why coverage for all requires ‘shared responsibility’ by all. Without it, the cost of caring for the uninsured will still be unfairly carried, in the form of higher premiums, by responsible citizens and companies. For state government, shared responsibility means stepping up with fair Medicaid payments.

For individuals, it means living up to the personal responsibility to purchase insurance.Reform can help make insurance more affordable, and it is fair to offer public subsidies to help those who find that insurance is just beyond their financial grasp.

Employers – including hospitals – that provide coverage to their workers should not have to bear the cost for those who do not. Businesses that are struggling to offer health benefits should not be put at a competitive disadvantage against those that are not making the same effort. It may also require assistance to small businesses that want to step up and do the right thing on health benefits.

Hospitals have a critical role to play in the affordability challenge. We support efforts to reduce administrative costs, to manage costs more effectively, and to be publicly accountable for the care we provide.Better information technology is a key component. We also know that, depending on the needs of a patient, care should be delivered in lower cost settings. All patients deserve the right care, at the right place, at the right time.

These lofty goals can be realized. But, it will take more revenue, whether it comes from tobacco money, gaming revenue, assessments on employers who do not provide coverage, or increased Medicaid reimbursements.

This is Massachusetts and this is the moment. With commitment, collaboration and, most importantly, leadership, we can make coverage for all a reality. Let’s do it.

Ronald M. Hollander is President and CEO of the Massachusetts Hospital Association. (781) 272-8000.