With so much attention focused on federal issues, MBR is this week conducting its annual meeting in Washington, DC with the national Business Roundtable, as well as more than a dozen state roundtable executives from around the country. We will address the hot topics of health care reform, federal tax reform and transportation infrastructure, which are top priorities for many of our members. Thank you to all of the MBR companies that have provided us with background about their interests in these and other topics gaining momentum at the federal level. We will also explore ideas for the best ways for business leaders to navigate the changing landscape in Washington during a presentation by Jones Day.
Please let us know if there are specific items for us to advance while working with our partners and colleagues around the country. This is an incredibly valuable network of professionals, and we will provide a full report to members on our progress this spring.
Fair trade, renewable energy, infrastructure development and partnerships with universities were among the topics discussed earlier this month at a special roundtable meeting with the Republic of Georgia Ambassador to the US, the Honorable David Bakradze and Chief Envoy Giorgi Tsikolia. Senior business and educational leaders from Roundtable members including AECOM, Eaton Vance Investment Counsel, Colliers International, Mintz Levin, Becker College and the UMass President’s Office participated in the wide-ranging conversation with Ambassador Bakradze.
The Ambassador highlighted significant investments being made in Georgia to expand access to broadband, develop wind, solar and hydroelectric energy, and increase educational and vocational opportunities for its citizens. The Ambassador spoke with members about many of the Roundtable’s priorities including STEM education, partnerships with universities to produce skilled workers, health care and globalization.
Special thanks to our friends at Haynes & Associates for hosting the discussion, as well as our member companies for participating in the meeting.
State Senator Jason M. Lewis and Representative Paul Brodeur were recently appointed to serve as the new Co-Chairmen of the Joint Committee on Labor & Workforce Development in the Legislature. Roundtable members continue to cite talent and workforce development as a major policy priority and challenge for state’s economic competitiveness. The Chairmen of the Committee, as well as State Representatives Keiko M. Orrall, Christine P. Barber, Joseph D. McKenna and key staff members attended a briefing at MBR’s Tremont Street offices to discuss the state’s workforce system.
MBR is a member of the Workforce Solutions Group, a statewide advocacy coalition working to build an effective training and education system that increases workers' skills, advances families to self-sufficiency and promotes job creation and economic growth. Led by The Strategy Group, the coalition includes the Roundtable, AFL-CIO, EMPath, Workforce Board Association, Workforce Professionals Association and the Mass Communities Action Network funded by SkillWorks at the Boston Foundation.
This was the first of two working sessions with members of the Committee to advance youth pathways and promote a workforce development system that helps employers fill in-demand jobs. The second session will be held soon and will include Secretary of Labor & Workforce Development Ronald Walker to further explore employer needs and how to address barriers to employment for certain populations across the state.
The House Committee on Ways and Means released its FY18 budget recommendations this week, which included a number of Roundtable member priorities. Here are some highlights:
Health Care: The House Ways & Means Committee changed an assessment on employers proposed by Governor Baker to address a shortfall in the state’s MassHealth program. The Roundtable, along with other business groups, opposed this new assessment and has been providing detailed feedback to policy makers. The Committee proposal reflects some of that feedback, creating a process to review the assessment and charging the Baker Administration with holding public hearings and considering specific issues raised by the Roundtable and the larger business community before recommending a subsequent proposal. The Roundtable will continue to work with the legislature and Baker Administration on this issue, bringing the concerns of our member employers to the discussion through the state budget process.
Early Childhood Education: The Roundtable was proud to work with House Speaker Robert DeLeo to unveil a report in February detailing the findings of the Business Advisory Group on Early Education and Care noting that the system is currently “in crisis” as it seeks to attract and retain high quality educators. Through the leadership of Speaker DeLeo and House Ways & Means Chairman Brian Dempsey, the HW&M budget includes strong investments in the early childhood workforce and early childhood mental health.
STEM Education: The House Committee on Ways and Means budget includes important investments in the STEM Starter Academies at Community Colleges, regional STEM networks through the STEM pipeline fund, computer science education, and the activities of the STEM Advisory Council. The Roundtable thanks House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Ways & Means Chairman Brian Dempsey and the members of the Committee for their leadership on this important Roundtable priority.
In a recent news release, Roundtable members detailed how this collaboration will improve the health of their members and lead to reduced premiums when purchasing the products together.
"There are many studies which suggest that there is a link between oral health and chronic medical conditions," saidMarc Spooner, Tufts Health Plan president of commercial products. "This collaboration is unique in the marketplace and is another example of our commitment to finding innovative solutions to increase coordination with our providers while reducing costs for employers. We are confident that this new collaboration will help lower medical and dental expenses over time and improve the health of our members."
Tufts Health Plan and Delta Dental of Massachusetts will work closely to identify opportunities for better care coordination through:
- Information sharing—identify care opportunities for at risk members, including diabetes prevention, through the sharing of data. This information will also identify other populations for focus, including pregnant women and those individuals with heart failure and obstructive pulmonary disease, all of which are impacted by oral health.
- Targeted member engagement—implement broad educational campaigns on the impact of oral health on overall health to encourage healthy practices among members.
- Provider collaboration—work to educate medical and dental providers about the importance of coordinating oral and medical care.
The collaboration began with a pilot program involving a specific subset of members who carry both Tufts Health Plan and Delta Dental of Massachusetts. The pilot identified members with chronic conditions, including diabetes, providing better care coordination and educating providers on the link between oral and overall health.
"We take pride in these important steps to make the people of our state healthier while driving down health care spending," said Delta Dental of Massachusetts president Dennis Leonard. "By leveraging data and engaging people in their own health care, we are delivering a person-centered health care experience to our members that will ultimately help improve the health of our communities."
MBR member Perry Sternberg graciously extended an invitation to the Roundtable members and partners to join the company for its “Rare Spirits” event and reception taking place on Thursday, April 20th from 5pm to 7pm at Shire’s new 650 E. Kendall location in Cambridge. The event coincides with the Cambridge Science Festival and is an opportunity for Shire to introduce itself to the Kendall Square community. As a leading global biotechnology company focused on serving people with rare diseases, Shire will be sharing insights about the people they serve across core therapeutic areas while serving unique beverages, all to help raise awareness about these patients and their families. Join Shire at this special event and learn how common “rare” really is. Please RSVP.
Does your company have news about industry trends, key milestones or other materials you are sharing with the public? We want to include news from our members in this space, so please send any story ideas or links to MBR Deputy Director Chris Kealey.
Thanks to Roundtable member Bill Kennedy @NutterLaw for hosting a terrific & timely discussion this morning with @RepJoeKennedy
Thanks to Swett Group of member @UBS, students will receive a financial #education through #EverFi learning platform
Place your bets: member @AECOMTishman celebrates the topping off of their MGM #Springfield hotel project www.casinocitytimes.com/news/article/mgm-springfield-celebrates-topping-off-of-casino-resort-220863
State revenues in March total $2.28 billion, $81 million below monthly benchmark, $220 million below year-to-date benchmark — @MassRevenue
Development in #Woburn: member Cabot, Cabot & Forbes petition for new 6 story residential complex http://homenewshere.com/daily_times_chronicle/news/woburn/article_3fe2b3b0-1305-11e7-90f6-3b1f2a717bf0.html
Eric Schultz, CEO of @HarvardPilgrim, urges more focus on cost effectiveness and value. #pharmapanel2017
Congrats to Roundtable members @DeltaDentalofMA @TuftsHealthPlan on new collaboration to improve care & reduce cost www.bizjournals.com/boston/prnewswire/press_releases/Georgia/2017/03/28/NE47767?ana=prnews
Congrats to members @generalelectric @BCBSMA @iRobot @easternbank for committing to diversity & equity in workplace
Roundtable members @PartnersNews, @generalelectric @BCBSMA launch RIZE, to fight opioid addiction www.bostonglobe.com/business/2017/03/28/partners-help-launch-rize-opiod-addiction-effort/M11Ot3TMdaZhSdaHaq6BOM/story.html?event=event25 via @jonchesto
Running through #Boston: member @newbalance releases limited edition Fresh Foam Zante V3 to honor #BostonMarathon