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Budget Summary FY2017

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Outside Section 175
Data Current as of:  8/9/2016

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Health Advice Phone Line Feasibility Study

SECTION 175.   The secretary of health and human services, in consultation with the commissioner of public health, the assistant secretary of Medicaid and the commissioner of insurance, shall conduct a study on the feasibility of implementing a 24-hour health advice phone line within the department of public health, through a public-private partnership, staffed by registered nurses and other health care providers as recommended by the secretary to advise callers on health matters and ways to access health care services, including behavioral health, in the appropriate setting. The study shall examine the feasibility of establishing a phone line to: (i) provide 24-hour universal access for residents; (ii) advise callers on health matters and recommend services or treatment; (iii) provide simultaneous interpreter services for callers who do not speak English; (iv) collaborate with the alcohol and drug helpline established in section 18 of chapter 17 of the General Laws and other helplines administered by the department of public health to refer or transfer callers to relevant helplines; and (v) collaborate with public and private insurers to assist callers in locating covered services or providers. The secretary shall solicit feedback from private insurers and other interested stakeholders.

The secretary shall submit the report, including a detailed cost estimate, to the house and senate committees on ways and means not later than March 1, 2017.

Veto Explanation:
I am vetoing this section because, while I support the goal of increasing access to health care information, state agencies are already exploring more updated and effective methods of providing this information to the public.