Trahan Secures Renewal of Federal Youth Suicide Prevention Act

A youth suicide prevention bill, championed by Congresswoman Lori Trahan was signed into law by President Joe Biden last Friday as part of the year-end omnibus package. Trahan a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee, hailed the passage of the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Reauthorization Act. “As a mom of two young girls, supporting our kids’ mental health has been a top priority for me, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why, alongside a bipartisan coalition of members, I introduced legislation to extend and strengthen key youth suicide prevention programs with a long track record of success,” said Trahan. “With the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act reauthorized, we are ensuring science-backed suicide prevention programs can continue saving lives.”

Renewing the law ensures the continuation and strengthening of community-based youth and young adult suicide prevention efforts that were set to expire this Saturday.

Gomes to Retire This Month From Tufts Medicine Care at Home; Spadoni Becomes Interim President

Karen Gomes, president and CEO of Tufts Medicine Care at Home is retiring at the end of the year. Gomes, who began her career as a bedside nurse, joined the former Home Health Foundation as chief clinical officer and vice president of clinical services in 2012 and was promoted to president and CEO in 2017. “It has been my life’s calling, as well as a tremendous privilege and honor, to dedicate my 30-year career to caring for others. It is gratifying to now look forward to devoting more time to caring for my own growing family,” said Gomes, who recently welcomed her first grandchild. Rey Spadoni, a highly experienced healthcare executive with leadership roles at numerous home health and hospital organizations statewide, was named as interim president of Tufts Medicine Care at Home, effective Jan.

Two Mental Health, Substance Use Centers Launch Next Month in Merrimack Valley Area

Two Community Behavioral Health Centers are slated to begin delivering services next month to help area residents cope with mental health and substance use issues. Eliot Community Human Services has been designated to provide on-site and telehealth services to such area communities as Groveland, Haverhill, Merrimac and West Newbury, while BILH Behavioral Health Services will focus on Andover, Lawrence, Methuen and North Andover. Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration drew attention Thursday to the new statewide service at a ribbon cutting at a newly designated center in East Boston. “Over the past eight years, our administration has collaborated with health care providers, medical professionals and our legislative colleagues to make sure Massachusetts treats behavioral health with the same importance as physical health,” said Baker. “The implementation of the Roadmap for Behavioral Health Reform is the latest step in those efforts, which have included historic investments in clinical programming, the addition of over 3,000 treatment beds and landmark mental health legislation.”

The centers will provide routine appointments, urgent visits and 24/7 community-based crisis intervention as an alternative to hospital emergency departments.

Greater Lawrence Family Health Center’s Climate Change Pledge Receives Recognition at UN

Greater Lawrence Family Health Center received national recognition last Thursday as one of 102 health care organizations in the country pledging to reduce emissions and become more resilient to climate change. The Health Center, with locations in Lawrence, Haverhill and Methuen, was named by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference. While caring for its patients, the Health Center said in a statement, social determinants of health play a major factor in a person’s overall health. Spearheaded by the organization’s Greater Lawrence Family Medicine Residency program, the Health Center “promises ongoing action to curb this major looming factor in the health of individuals and families seeking health care services throughout the Merrimack Valley.”

“Pursuing health equity means that we must each do our part in providing people and patients a fair chance at healthful lives,” said President and CEO Guy L. Fish. “That means examining our practices and eliminating climate impacts we are creating.

Haverhill, Methuen and Lawrence Health Workers Priorities for State Loan Repayment Program

The state is putting $130 million into a loan repayment program to encourage social workers, primary care physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, substance use recovery coaches and case managers to stay in the workforce. Among the state’s priorities are helping those who work or reside in Haverhill, Methuen or Lawrence, which have been designated as COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Initiative communities. The Executive Office of Health and Human Services contracted with the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers to launch a loan repayment program to support and retain the behavioral health and primary care workers. The money comes from the American Rescue Plan Act and the Opioid Recovery and Remediation Trust Fund. “The pandemic has exacerbated workforce shortages across the health care and human services sector in both the public and private markets, placing significant stress on our health care providers, their staff and our Massachusetts residents seeking care,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders.

Haverhill Family Health Center Celebrates Second Anniversary, Outlines Ambitious Plans

Haverhill Family Health Center celebrated its second birthday this week, welcoming members of its Business Leaders Network in Tuesday for an update. The nonprofit Health Center at 755 Main St., near the intersection with Primrose Street, is operated by Greater Lawrence Family Health Center. President and CEO Guy L. Fish told guests how the health center is different. “This is primary care. This is at the most fundamental level of sharing with your provider—your physician, your nurse practitioner—what’s going on in your life.

Haverhill Offers Free COVID-19 Home Tests to Help Avoid Virus Surge Over the Holiday

Haverhill’s Public Health Department hopes to thwart a COVID-19 virus surge during the Thanksgiving holiday as has happened the last two years. The relatively new city department suggests residents take a home test for COVID-19 before gatherings over the holiday. To assist, it offers free test kits to Haverhill residents next Tuesday, Nov. 22, from 2-4 p.m., and Wednesday, Nov. 23, from 9-11 a.m., at Haverhill Citizens Center, 10 Welcome St.  Proof of Haverhill residency is required.

Greater Lawrence Family Health Center Reports ‘In Pink’ Success; Honors Gomez-Ruiz

For 12 years Greater Lawrence Family Health Center’s “In Pink Brunch & Comedy Show” has raised money to support women’s health care. The annual event this year again was called a big success with all proceeds going toward the Health center’s programs that help an underserved population. The Lawrence area has the highest detection of cervical cancer rates in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, said Dr. Guy L. Fish, president and CEO, noting there is a high no-show rate for mammogram appointments. “We have to get serious about taking better care of the women in the Merrimack Valley,” Fish said. In Pink also paid tribute to cancer survivors in attendance and presented attorney Zoila M. Gomez-Ruiz with the 2022 Rosalyn Kempton Wood Award for Inspirational Leadership.