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Innovative outreach: California Healthy Food Financing Initiative – California Healthy Food Financing Initiative is a legislation to ensure access to fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy food options. Governor Brown signed AB 581 into law during the week of October 10, 2011. The State Department of Public Health must comply with the legislation by developing a “Healthy Food Purchase” pilot program to increase the buying and selling of fresh produce in low-income communities. For more information on this legislation, please click here.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Health Discrimination Awareness – The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community is exempt from sexual discrimination for any health program or activity. This includes financial assistance from the government, insurance, and other benefits.  Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18116) provides that an individual “shall not be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination on the grounds prohibited under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 1681 et seq. (sex), the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, 42 U.S.C. 6101 et seq (age), or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. 794 (disability)…” For more information on this legislation, please see page 166 of PPACA here.

EHR Interim Final Rule with Comment Period –  The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an interim final rule with comment period to replace the Data Element Catalog (DEC) standard and the Quality Reporting Document Architecture (QRDA) Category III standard adopted in the final rule published on September 4, 2012 in the Federal Register with updated versions of those standards. Public comment is allowed for this interim final rule until 5 p.m. February 5, 2013. Please visit this Federal Register link for more information.

Consolidation of Massachusetts Housing Authorities – Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick filed legislation on January 10, 2013 to consolidate the state’s 240 housing authorities into six regional housing authorities and builds on the steps the Patrick-Murray Administration has taken to increase “transparency, accountability, performance, efficiency, innovation and cost savings in the state’s public housing system.” His office states that this move will “professionalize, modernize and regionalize the operations and financial management of the Commonwealth’s housing authorities.”  The proposal is designed to change the “governance structure of the housing authority system in order to protect the safety net that public housing provides for the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable families, seniors and persons with disabilities.”  The new system will take effect in July 2014.