Hospital administrators are lobbying to remove masks in healthcare, putting Mass residents in danger, according to the Mass Coalition for Health Equity
On April 5, the Boston Globe reported that Massachusetts hospital administrators have been lobbying the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to lift the state requirement for masks in healthcare.
In response, the Massachusetts Coalition for Health Equity has issued a statewide call to action. Removing masks in healthcare will especially endanger the lives of disabled, elderly, children and infants who cannot wear masks, who are seeking safe care.
On Thursday April 20, 1-2 p.m. MACHE will host a phone bank via Zoom: Together participants will call healthcare companies and elected officials, to keep masks in Mass healthcare—with the message that masks are a cornerstone of infection control, and that equitable access to all healthcare settings for all residents must be maintained. Registration is requested at https://linktr.ee/mahealthequity/.
As gloves became the accepted, standard practice as a result of the HIV epidemic, we must keep Masks in Healthcare as Infection Control. We also need the state to continue paying for free fast PCR testing, vaccines and treatment for prevention.
The Public Health Emergency may be ending but the COVID pandemic is far from over. Recently, MACHE kicked off its calls to action with a statewide, virtual press conference asking why the DPH is prioritizing corporate healthcare interests over Mass residents’ health. A wide range of experts—including physicians, public health experts, disability advocates, infectious disease specialists, and residents adversely affected by COVID—testified.
Retaining masks in healthcare is vital, MACHE experts state, as COVID is a harmful airborne virus that continues to kill 200 people or more per day in the US, while over 36 million have been impacted by Long COVID. With COVID-19’s harmful and potentially disabling impacts, the group contends that masks must be a cornerstone of infection control for airborne transmission in Mass healthcare.
Nearly 200,000 Massachusetts residents report being significantly limited by Long COVID. The risk of Long COVID increases with each reinfection. Protecting only ourselves is insufficient. We must protect each other but this will only happen if we all take action.
A summary of MACHE action items is below (also included on April 20) and ongoing:
- Calling Governor Healey at (617) 725-4005 to “tell her to Keep Masks in Healthcare and to Fund Free Fast PCR tests, vaccines and treatment for all Mass residents regardless of insurance.”
- Writing to Governor Healey and Elected Officials to keep masks in healthcare and keep free PCR testing.
- Calling hospital patient advocate line to keep masks in healthcare.
Mary Jirmanus Saba is a member of the Massachusetts Coalition for Health Equity—a growing coalition of physicians, public health advocates, and community leaders united in their demand for a comprehensive and equitable response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, go to https://linktr.ee/mahealthequity.