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PRESS RELEASE- Downing Appointed to Special Commission Examining Women's Health Disparity in Western Massachusetts
August 01, 2007

Boston- State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) is pleased to announce that he has been appointed by Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) to the Special Commission to Investigate and Study the Accessibility and Quality of Doctors Who Specialize in Obstetric, Gynecological and Neurosurgical Care of Women in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire Counties.

 

“Top-quality care is the first line of defense towards disease prevention,” stated Downing.  “Understanding the quality of care available to women in western Massachusetts provides a starting point for optimizing care.  These are our grandmothers, our mothers and sisters, our wives and daughters; I am glad to be appointed to this task and look forward to working with the other members of the Commission.”

 

This Special Commission, established by the Legislature in Outside Section 85 of Chapter 61 of the Acts of 2007 (the Commonwealth’s FY 2008 operating budget), is charged with examining the access to  and quality of doctors specializing in obstetric, gynecological and neurosurgical care of women in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire Counties.  The Commission will be chaired by the Commissioner of Public Health and its thirteen members will report their findings and recommendations to the General Court on or before December 1, 2007.

 

Downing will be joined on the Special Commission by his colleague Senator Gale D. Candaras (D – Wilbraham), who was also appointed by President Murray.  Senator Candaras is the chief sponsor of this proposal and secured its inclusion in the FY 2008 budget.

 

This appointment marks the latest in a string of special assignments Downing has received from Senate Leadership since assuming office in January.  To date, he has also been appointed to represent the Massachusetts Senate on the following bodies:

 

  • Governor’s Local Government Advisory Council (LGAC)
  • Agriculture, Environment and Energy Committee for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
  • Massachusetts Board of Higher Education’s Transfer Advisory Group
  • Senate Special Commission to Investigate Automobile Insurance Reform
  • Co-Chair of the Special Legislative Commission to Investigate and Study the Commonwealth’s Liability for Paying Retiree Health Care and Other Non-pension Benefits

 

 

 

 

The Following is the text of Outside Section 85, which establishes the Special Commission:

 

SECTION 85. There shall be a special commission to investigate and study the accessibility and quality of doctors who specialize in obstetric, gynecological and neurosurgical care of women in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties. The commission shall consist of the commissioner of public health, who shall serve as chairperson, the executive director of the board of registration in medicine, the commissioner of insurance, the commissioner of MassHealth, 3 physicians to be appointed by the president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, 2 members to be appointed by the president of the senate, 1 member to be appointed by the minority leader of the senate, 2 members to be appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives and 1 member to be appointed by the minority leader of the house of representatives. The commission shall meet on or before October 1, 2007, and shall report to the general court the results of its investigation and study, and its recommendations, if any, together with drafts of legislation necessary to carry its recommendations into effect by filing the same with the clerks of the senate and house of representatives on or before December 1, 2007.

 

 

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