Archive | April, 2018

New Heating Oil Requirements improve air quality, sulfur emissions

FRCOG’s Fuel Bids for FY19 now dictate Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel instead of #2 Heating Oil.  This phased-in law goes into full effect as of July 1, 2018.  In our state alone, distillate oil contributed nearly 30,000 tons of SO2 emissions in 2008; the new regulation will reduce this amount to less than 1,000 tons in 2018 – reducing the allowable amount of sulfur from 500 parts per million in 2014 to only 15 ppm as of July 1 of this year.   Costs are estimated to be slightly higher – perhaps 2-3 cents per gallon.  The cleaner burning fuel will reduce service/cleaning costs in equipment which should mitigate the overall cost increase.  The reduction of these fine sulfur particles will impact our respiratory and cardiovascular health, especially for the elderly and children, and  significantly improve visibility (haze).   FRCOG Fuel Bids will open on May 14 and there are 23 participants for FY19.  More info on FRCOG Collective bids is at https://frcog.org/bids

MassHealth Accountable Care Organization Info

There is an enormous change in the health care received by many people in Franklin County and the North Quabbin going on, as all MassHealth participants join Accountable Care Organizations. FRCOG, the Opioid Task Force, the Community Health Center and others are working to ensure the best possible outcomes for local residents in this promising but complicated shift in how the state funds health care for some of our most vulnerable residents.  Interested in learning more? Here are some helpful resources:
ACO Policy Brief
Insurance Navigation Help Listing for our region
Primary Care Practice ACO list for our region
MassHealth Enrollment Guide

Franklin County and North Quabbin representatives of primary care practices, human service agencies, hospitals, alternative medicine practitioners, and others meet on 4/27 with representatives of MassHealth.

HMCC Participates in Patient Evacuation Exercise

The Western MA Health & Medical Coordinating Coalition participated in a tabletop exercise on April 25th testing the MA Dept. of Public Health’s new Patient Placement Coordination Plan. Following federal requirements, the Department had to practice moving at least 20% of western Mass’ hospital patients from sending hospitals to receiving hospitals. The scenario involved flooding that required Cooley Dickinson Hospital and Baystate Medical Center evacuating all of their patients and sending them to the remaining eight hospitals in the region.

Staff from the MA Dept. of Public Health Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management test out the State’s new Patient Placement Coordination Plan

Exercise facilitators from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health look on as Mary Clark, former MA Dept. of Public Health’s director of the Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management tests the statewide plan to handle hospital evacuations

A moment of laughter amid the chaos of practicing the movement of over 1,100 patients from two hospitals to the other eight in western MA.

Hmmmm…are you sure about that Michael? Michael Nelson, regional public health coordinator for the MA Dept. of Public Health’s Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management and Montague selectman,helps determine how many beds are available to handle incoming hospital patients.

Draft Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) Released for 21-day Public Review

On April 24, 2018, the FCTPO released a Draft Franklin 2019 UPWP. There will be a 21-day public comment period on the draft UPWP from Friday, April 27 through Friday, May 18, 2018. Comments may be submitted in writing by email to mrhodes@frcog.org or by mail to Franklin Regional Council of Governments, 12 Olive Street, Suite 2, Greenfield MA 01301.

DRAFT Franklin 2019 UPWP

Public Comment Period Open for the Draft 2019-2023 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and Amendment #3 to the 2018-2022 TIP

On April 24, 2018, the FCTPO released a Draft Amendment #3 to the 2018-2022 TIP Highway Project list as well as a Draft 2019-2023 Transportation Improvement Program. There will be a 21-day public comment period on the draft TIP documents from Friday, April 27 through Friday, May 18, 2018. Comments may be submitted in writing by email to lscarbrough@frcog.org or by mail to Franklin Regional Council of Governments, 12 Olive Street, Suite 2, Greenfield MA 01301. Links to the draft TIP documents are below:

Draft 2018-2022 TIP Highway Amendment #3:  Draft 2018-2022 TIP Highway Amendment 3

Draft 2019-2023 TIP Highway Project List:  Draft 2019-2023 TIP Highway Project List

Draft 2019-2023 TIP Transit Project List:  Draft 2019-2023 TIP Transit Project List

Draft 2019-2023 TIP Full Text:  Draft 2019-2023 TIP Full Text