Many readers of Red Mass Group may know that I became a volunteer with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network‘s Boston Affiliate following the death of my father, Norman Cordeiro, from the disease on March 30, 2014. I wanted to give everyone a very important update.
Governor Charlie Baker today signed House Bill 3829 (the Fiscal Year 2015 Supplemental Budget Appropriation Budget Bill) into law today as Chapter 119 of the Acts of 2015. Section 78 established a Special Commission to Study Pancreatic Cancer.
Representative Elizabeth Poirier was the original sponsor of the amendment (and standalone legislation) in the House and Senator Mark Montigny was the lead sponsor in the Senate. The amendment passed recently in the House on a voice vote and the Senate on a unanimous roll call vote.
November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month with the Second Annual World Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day being November 13.
“SECTION 78. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, there shall be a special commission to study pancreatic cancer. The commission shall consist of: the secretary of health and human services or a designee; the commissioner of public health or a designee; the commissioner of insurance or a designee; the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on public health; the house minority leader or a designee; the senate minority leader or designee; 2 members to be appointed by the senate president, 1 of whom shall be a person with pancreatic cancer or a survivor and 1 of whom shall be a medical specialist in pancreatic cancer; 2 members to be appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives, 1 of whom shall be a person with pancreatic cancer or a survivor and 1 of whom shall be a medical specialist in pancreatic cancer; and 4 members to be appointed by the governor, 1 of whom shall be a person with pancreatic cancer or a survivor, 1 of whom shall be a medical specialist in pancreatic cancer, and 2 of whom shall be members of the public with demonstrated expertise in issues relating to the work of the commission. The special commission shall make an investigation and study to:
(1) establish a mechanism in order to ascertain the prevalence of pancreatic cancer in the commonwealth and the unmet needs of persons with pancreatic cancer and those of their families and collect time-of-diagnosis statistics and likely risks for pancreatic cancer;
(2) study pancreatic cancer prevention, screening, education and support programs for in the commonwealth;
(3) provide recommendations for additional legislation, support programs and resources necessary to meet the unmet needs of persons with pancreatic cancer and their families and how to effectuate an early diagnosis and treatment for Pancreatic Cancer patients.
Vacancies in the membership of the commission shall be filled in the same manner provided for the original appointments.
The commission shall organize within 120 days following the appointment of a majority of its members and shall select a chair and vice-chair from among the members. The chairperson shall appoint a secretary who need not be a member of the commission.
The members shall serve without compensation for their duties on the commission but shall be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as provided by section 2A of chapter 4 of the General Laws.
The commission shall be entitled to call to its assistance and avail itself of the services of the employees of any state, county or municipal department, board, bureau, commission or agency as it may require and as may be available to it for its purposes.”