Prior to serving as our State Representative, Barbara worked with elder services as a case manager. This experience provided Barbara with an in-depth view of many of the obstacles that seniors encounter – especially when it came to senior housing, employment, healthcare and income.
As a state representative, Barbara was one of their most vocal advocates in the Legislature. She served many years as Co-Chair of the Legislative Caucus on Older Citizen’s Concerns, alongside Republican Richard Ross.
She successfully worked with legislators of both parties to pass the elder choices program, pre-admission counseling and the Caring Homes program – all designed to serve elders in the community at half the cost of nursing home placement.
She also regularly advocated for Council on Aging and Home Care funding.
Barbara worked with her local Senior Centers to inform seniors about tax relief programs, fuel assistance and prescription drug coverage and personally signed people up to receive needed assistance.
Bills Passed in 2009-2010
Silver Alert Program (Chapter 300 of the Acts of 2010)
- Provides for a coordinated approach to locating an individual with dementia
- Directs law enforcement and other key response resources to focus in a geographic area consistent with the missing person’s last know location
- Requires training for law enforcement and key responders which will be incorporated into emergency personnel training that is currently in practice
Prescription Drug Discounts (Chapter 283 of the Acts of 2010)
- Allows consumers to take advantage of prescription drug discounts in an effort to lower medical costs
- Allows consumers cost savings while reducing some of the barriers that prevent patients from taking their medications as prescribed
- Savings can reduce co-payments by $10 to $20 or more every month
- These discounts do not allow consumers to choose a medicine but would give them the option to save money once their treatment has been prescribed by their doctor and approved by their insurer
- Obtaining prescription medicine still requires coordination with a medical professional, and a provision included in the bill allows insurance companies to opt out if they choose to do so.
- Massachusetts’ has a generic substitution law in place intended to curb the use of brand name drugs through the use of generic-first formularies. However, when generic drugs are not available or a physician determines a name brand drug is necessary for treatment, this legislation would allow patients to save money on needed drugs.
Pre-Admission Counseling (FY10 Budget)
- $2.5 million allocated
- Provides for counseling at hospital discharge to ensure that community options are fully explored as a first recourse (rather than nursing home placement)