Title: 'Chapter 233 of the Acts of 2012: Pathway to Victory in Massachusetts'
Track: 10 - Policy, Advocacy and Legislative Issues
Keyword(s): legislation, mandated insurance coverage, advocacy, mothers
Learning Objectives:
  1. Describe the steps taken by small advocacy group to successfully pass insurance mandated coverage for pediatric hearing aids in Massachusetts.
  2. Apply proven strategies to states without similar legislation.


In 1998, Massachusetts passed the Universal Newborn Screening Law which required each birth hospital and birth center to have a program that ensures each baby has a hearing screen before being discharged. Upon diagnosis of hearing loss, families were left not only with the initial disbelief, family wide adjustment to the diagnosis, and steep learning curve to understand the impact of pediatric hearing loss but in Massachusetts, like many states, were challenged with carrying the entire financial burden of hearing aids. In 2009, a group of mothers met for coffee and left with the determination to pass legislation in Massachusetts that would mandate pediatric hearing aids coverage by health insurance. The Massachusetts Hearing Aids for Children Coalition (MassHAFCC) was born and quickly grew to seven ladies determined to effect change for their community, for their children and for their state. The MassHAFCC teamed with Massachusetts State Representative Sean Garballey to co-write and file legislation for 2 consecutive sessions culminating with unanimous approval through the Massachusetts House and Senate and signed into law on August 7, 2012 by Governor Deval Patrick. The success of the group can be attributed to the combination of legal expertise, effective grass-roots advocacy strategies, statewide community-based and personal networking, clever use of social media outlets and garnering key political support. Provisions in the bill’s proposed language for cost containment proved to be central in the debate of fiscal responsibility and health care cost containment legislation. Examples of artwork, blog posts, informational literature and strategic positioning will be discussed.
Presentation: This presentation has not yet been uploaded or the speaker has opted not to make the presentation available online.
Handouts: Handout is not Available
Michelle Motta Dardeno - POC,Primary Presenter,Author
     Credentials: 1) Co-founder and Board member of MassHAFCC. 2) Parent of three hard of hearing children.
      Michelle Motta Dardeno is the co-founder + Board member of the Massachusetts Hearing Aids for Children Coalition (MassHAFCC) - a statewide network of families of children who are deaf/hard of hearing + professionals working together to maximize a child’s lifetime potential through educational, medical, social + emotional support. Michelle is a member of the legislative task force at the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing, School Site Council parent representative at her children’s elementary school, Special Education Parent Advisory Council member + liasion and volunteers at an Italian language enrichment program. Professionally, her pharmacy education is the basis for a 15+ year career in biotech, serving most recently as Head of Patient/ Clincal Safety and Pharmacovigilance for a privately owned pharmaceutical company. Michelle lives in Lexington, MA and is the proud mom of three hard of hearing children ages 8, 7, and 6.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.