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  APRIL 2020  
   
 

Dear Members,

I want to take a moment to recognize and thank the innovative Roundtable member companies and health care organizations fighting this pandemic on the front lines for all that you are doing not just for the Commonwealth but for the global community. It is awe-inspiring to watch the ingenuity and selfless sacrifices being made by so many professionals during this crisis, and we are enormously grateful for your service.

Special thanks also to the leaders in both the Baker-Polito Administration and the State Legislature for participating on our weekly “Open Forum” conference calls with members to communicate and share information between public and private sector leaders. Please let us know if there are specific topics you would like covered during future calls.

Best,
JD

Roundtable “Open Forum” Calls Connect Public & Private Sector Leaders on Health, Economic Crisis Response
The Roundtable is hosting a weekly series of “Open Forum” calls with members to  connect public and private sector leaders on the latest strategies and best practices to combat the COVID-19 Pandemic across the Commonwealth.

State officials including Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy and Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta briefed Roundtable members on the state’s latest public health and economic relief actions, as well as the state’s implementation of the Federal CARES Act.  

Roundtable members recently spoke with State Senator Eric Lesser and State Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante, Co-Chairs of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, on the collaboration between government, business and labor to combat the health crisis and ensure that the economic recession is as short in duration as possible. In partnership with the Baker-Polito Administration, the economic development committee is drafting a state economic recovery bill focusing on what is needed in the immediate aftermath of the crisis.

The national Business Roundtable provided briefings and answered questions about the response at the federal level. MBR’s partner organizations in Washington and Michigan briefed Roundtable members on what their business communities’ are doing in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and how their states are anticipating an economic restart. Evan Horowitz from the Center for State Policy Analysis at Tufts University discussed the Center’s recent report projecting the impact of COVID-19 on the state budget. 

If you have ideas for future calls, please reach out to Chris Kealey or Katelyn Hamilton.

MBR Joins Health Insurers, Business Groups Advocating for Federal Premium Relief
In a letter to the U.S. Congresswoman Lori Trahan, the Roundtable joined with members of the business community and health insurers to advocate for federal emergency response packages advancing through Congress to include financial relief earmarked specifically for premium assistance to be distributed through a targeted premium assistance program for small and mid-size businesses, along with individuals. Here is a brief excerpt from the letter:

Collectively, we believe that a federally funded premium assistance program earmarked and targeted to small and mid-size businesses and individuals is our best opportunity to keep people insured and not erode our state’s health insurance coverage gains. Without such an assistance program, we will see unsustainable demand for Medicaid benefits in our state, putting further pressure on our state budget, and we will see many residents become uninsured. A targeted premium assistance program will ensure continuity of health insurance coverage and is our best hope for alleviating further strain on our state budget. It is also the best way to help our nation’s providers stabilize their finances, by ensuring that they continue to be paid at commercial rates rather than substantially lower Medicaid rates that would further impact their budgets.

READ letter

Roundtable Launches COVID-19 Website to Share Best Practices, Highlight Members Strengthening Communities
During this COVID-19 crisis, the Roundtable is committed to working together with various stakeholders to provide accurate, timely information to better serve our members and our communities.

As such, the Roundtable recently launched a new website—maroundtable.com/covid-19—devoted to aggregating resources from state and federal governments and to highlight opportunities for service and philanthropy to strengthen our communities. We plan to utilize our social media (e.g. Twitter, LinkedIn) and email channels to drive traffic to the new website, which will be updated daily with new information from our business leader members and many partners across the country.

Within this new website, we created a page highlighting the creative and resourceful ways that individual Roundtable member companies are stepping up to help their customers and employees, as well as their communities during the crisis. We collected this information from public sources, but we invite you to review the website, share it with your teams and make suggestions for additions or edits. If you have a specific suggestion or a resource you would like us to include, please email it to Chris Kealey or Katelyn Hamilton.

MBR Survey Data on Response to COVID-19 Crisis
MBR member companies completed a survey on their company’s best practices and mitigation efforts to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This survey, which was conducted at the end of March, shows that member companies universally instituted telework policies where possible, however 89% of member companies reported having positions that were not able to telework. Member companies also issued guidance to employees on social distancing and limiting meeting sizes.

In terms of paid time off (PTO), 2/3 of member companies reported giving employees additional paid leave, with most reporting that they were offering an additional two weeks paid leave. One quarter of members suggested that employees who cannot telework should use their paid time off. Comments by members also found that initial PTO policies put in place may be amended over time as the pandemic plays out.

Half of members also reported increasing mental health efforts for employees or reminding employees of already available benefits.

READ the full summary of the survey

Roundtable Supports U.S. Census & Encourages Employers to Promote the Process to Employees
The Roundtable is proud to support the U.S. Census and urges member companies and employers across the state to encourage their employees to fill out the 2020 Census. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, they are extending some deadlines to filling out the form. For the most up-to-date information or to start filling out the census at 2020census.gov.

With the social distancing guidelines in effect, the Roundtable and its many partners are working to motivate a wide range of communities to take the 2020 Census online or over the phone through digital outreach. Here are some resources to support these collective efforts.

RESPOND Online | COMPLETE Census by Phone: call 844-330-2020

Roundtable Partners Advocate for Increased Access to Children’s Mental Health Services
Health Care for All Executive Director Amy Rosenthal reached out to the Roundtable as member of the leadership team of the Children’s Mental Health Campaign (CMHC) to urge the business community to support calls for additional access to mental health treatment across the state. The CMHC is a statewide network that advocates for policy, systems, and practice solutions to ensure all children in Massachusetts have timely access to mental health treatment. CMHC is led by The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC), Boston Children’s Hospital, the Parent/Professional Advocacy LeagueHealth Care For All,  Health Law Advocates, and the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health.

Brief excerpt from the letter: Our purpose in writing to you today is to urge you to join an effort to publicly encourage employers with self-insured plans to work with their insurers to adopt temporary policies that duplicate those being implemented by Governor Bakerand state regulatorsin order to preserve needed access to health care  during the current COVID-19 crisis. Some of these polices implemented thus far include eliminating cost-sharing (copays or deductibles) for testing and treatment for COVID-19, expanding coverage for  telehealth medical and behavioral health services; and flexibility around coverage for prescription medications. Emergency measures to preserve access to health care will likely continue to be developed and we would like to see all insurers and plan sponsors comply with these bulletins. The Roundtable and its members have long supported increasing access and affordability of health care, including mental health care, as a major policy priority for Massachusetts. Please share this letter with human resources and other experts in your organizations focused on health care coverage.

READ letter


Governor Baker, First Lady Lauren Baker, Roundtable Chair Bob Rivers Announce New COVID19 Relief Fund
Governor Charlie Baker, First Lady Lauren Baker, Roundtable Chair Bob Rivers, the One8 Foundation, The Boston Foundation, and the Foundation for Business Equity teamed up to launch the new MA COVID-19 Relief Fund. The Fund is administered by Eastern Bank to support frontline workers and vulnerable populations across the state.

The Fund works with regional non-profit leaders, community foundations, leaders on the ground and at the state level to understand the response and relief landscape locally and statewide to strategically fill in where gaps are pronounced. The mission is to ensure essential needs are understood in real time and provide resources for interventions that are effective and impactful.

 

"These are unprecedented and uncertain times, and the people of Massachusetts are struggling. The Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund will help us connect those who are most acutely impacted by the response to COVID-19 with the resources and services they need to get through this difficult time and stay safe, healthy, and supported."

First Lady of Massachusetts, Lauren Baker

 

DONATE Online | VIEW YouTube Announcement

 

Roundtable Member PwC Launches New Tool to Help Businesses Navigate the COVID-19 Crisis
Roundtable Member PwC launched its new COVID-19 Navigator to help businesses understand the facts about the current and future potential impact of COVID-19. The navigator is an online, interactive tool designed to help leadership teams better understand where they are on the path toward COVID-19 preparedness. An innovative survey focuses on crisis management and response, workforce, operations and supply chain, finance and liquidity, tax and trade, strategy and brand; once completed, organizations will have a customized report with recommendations for a path forward during this COVID-19 crisis. VIEW COVID-19 Navigator


  BRT on Covid-19
  BRT on Purpose of a Corporation
  BRT Reducing Carbon Emissions

Roundtable members @BCBSMA @TuftsHealthPlan @HarvardPilgrim & #mabiz groups work together urging Congress for important healthcare premium support via @jonchesto READ more

Today's COVID-19 Open Forum call also featured speakers Steve Mullin
@waroundtable & Doug Rothwell @BusLeadersforMI who discussed how the business community is responding to COVID-19 in their respective states and how Massachusetts can adopt best practices #mabiz #BusinessIsGood

A special thank you to Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante @RepAMF and Sen. @EricLesser for giving Roundtable members a legislative update on today's COVID-19 Open Forum Call. We are grateful for your hard work and leadership as the legislature responds to this COVID-19 crisis

@massgovernor Baker extends business closures, stay-at-home advisory to May bostonglobe.com/2020/03/31/nation/coronavirus-boston-massachusetts-march-31/?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe READ more

@MassGovernor "touted efforts by private companies, including @newbalance, to help the state... such “creative and imaginative” efforts are “exactly what we would expect to see here in the Commonwealth” Great to see MBR members like @newbalance step up! READ more

 

 

     
 

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