All hands on deck to clean up a troubled corner
Since the attack on Atkinson Street last week, there has been constant discussion about the opioid epidemic and how the city and state should respond. While I am glad to see a renewed focus on addressing the conditions in our neighborhood, for those of us living and working near Mass and Cass, this is nothing new. Since taking office 7 months ago, my number one priority has been to facilitate greater collaboration from the city, the state, providers, and most importantly, the community. From hosting a productive Opioid Town Hall in the community to recently meeting with Governor Charlie Baker to articulate our community’s urgent concerns, I am committed to bringing all hands on deck to address this issue. In response to the calls I have been receiving from constituents and elected officials alike, I authored an op-ed in the Boston Globe to share my perspective.
Muddy Water Initiative Receives $12K for ‘WaterGoat’ to Clean up Debris in River
“The Muddy River is a hidden gem in our city we we must make every effort to ensure it is protected and pollution-free. That’s why I teamed up with the Muddy River Initiative to secure resources for a much needed clean up to improve our existing mitigation infrastructure,” Santiago said in the release.
Guest Op-Ed : Re-Entry Services for Ex-Inmates are Crucial to Combating the Opioid Crisis
The intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard is ground-zero for the opioid epidemic in Boston. It’s an area I know well, given my work as an emergency room physician at nearby Boston Medical Center, my experience as a resident of that neighborhood, and my new role as the state representative.
MBTA Fare Hikes Ripped As Paying More For Less
One rider that activists reached was Rep. Jon Santiago, who stopped to speak with Wu on his way to the State House. Santiago had previously joined with colleagues in the Boston delegation to pen a letter opposing the hikes.
He told the News Service that, despite promises of better service and plans to make key infrastructure upgrades, riders still experience frequent frustration with their commutes.
“Folks who take the T on a daily basis like myself, my community, are concerned with the time it’s taking to achieve some sort of improvement on the T,” he said. “We’ve had derailments. We’ve had a host of other issues, and so people are growing impatient.”
State House News Service: “Massachusetts human services providers unable to hire, keep staff”
More than a dozen bills were before the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities for a hearing, but a common theme ran through many of them: addressing the plight of service employees who, despite helping those with significant physical and mental needs, cannot make ends meet.
The committee is also weighing a Rep. Jon Santiago bill (H 164) to enshrine in law maximum client-to-coordinator ratios for the Department of Developmental Services. Because of current staff levels, according to service coordinator Stan Taraska, the department has more than 41,000 individuals eligible for support but only 496 coordinators — a roughly 82-to-one ratio.
Santiago’s bill would mandate caseload ratios of 55-to-one for coordinators in categories A, B, and D, which oversee service for individuals with developmental disabilities, and six-to-one for coordinators in category C
The Boston Sun: “Boisterous and Contentious, Long Island Bridge Meeting Chugs On”
State Rep. Jon Santiago: “The Bridge will save lives and bring families back together…I hope we can come together to save the lives of my patients, and to save my community, which can no longer bear the brunt.”
AP: “In health care debate, price control techniques weighed”
State Rep. Jon Santiago, a Boston emergency room doctor, recalled an elderly patient named Mike who recently came to the hospital with life-threatening complications from diabetes. Conversations with the man’s family revealed he had not been keeping up with his insulin — it was too expensive.
State House News Service: “Drug Companies Face Scrutiny from Mass. Lawmakers”
Rep. Jon Santiago, who serves on the committee and is also an emergency room doctor at Boston Medical Center, told his colleagues that as they hear various statistics about drug pricing, the “human side must be paramount.”
Sentinel & Enterprise: “Tax, marketing restrictions eyed to reduce soda consumption”
“The average child consumes enough sugary drinks each year to fill a bathtub — more than 30 gallons — according to two organizations that this week recommended a suite of policy options aimed at reducing kids’ access to such beverages and encouraging healthier alternatives.
On Beacon Hill, lawmakers have offered a pair of proposals that take aim at kids’ consumption of sugary beverages and align with the Academy of Pediatrics/Heart Association recommendation.
Sen. Jason Lewis, Rep. Kay Khan and Rep. Jon Santiago have filed bills that would impose an excise tax on sugary drinks, with the tax increasing along with the sugar content.”
CommonWealth Magazine: “Dialing up the road safety debate”
“Rooted in one of the most abominable facets of the nation’s past, racial profiling remains a risk today for drivers of color. At the same time, the havoc caused by motorists distracted by smartphones, a triumph of ingenuity and engineering, presents a uniquely modern hazard on streets and highways. “I look at this as a public safety issue, as a biker who’s been hit on Tremont Street, as a physician who takes care of these patients,” Santiago said. “First and foremost, the most important thing to me is making sure people are safe on the roads.” That said, Santiago would prefer that police be required to collect data on the racial makeup of the people they stop.””
The Boston Globe names Jon one of “Five freshman lawmakers to watch on Beacon Hill”
“Jon Santiago’s resume is the stuff of a job recruiter’s dream. He was a Fulbright Scholar and served in the Peace Corps. He attended Yale School of Medicine before becoming a physician in Boston Medical Center’s emergency department. And he said he followed a line of family members into service by joining the Army Reserves.”
The Boston Globe Endorses Jon: “Easily the Most Impressive [Challenger]”
“Of the Boston challengers this year, Santiago is easily the most impressive. Raised in Roxbury, he graduated from Yale School of Medicine, served in the Peace Corps, won a Fulbright scholarship — and, oh, is also a captain in the Army Reserves. The opioid emergency, he says, is his priority. He experiences the crisis every day at BMC, which is practically next door to the epidemic’s ground zero, the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard. He has already contributed to policy reforms, leading the push to widen access to the state’s prescription monitoring program. Santiago complains that the Legislature has largely ceded opioid policy-making to the governor. Among other causes, he says the Legislature should be pushing to make treatment with drugs like Suboxone easier.”
The South End News Endorsement: “Uniquely Situated to Offer Solutions”
“Income inequality, opioid addiction, managing growth while protecting affordable housing are issues that need immediate attention and strong leadership. Dr. Jon Santiago has made these issues the centerpiece of his campaign. Elected officials and government leaders are turning to doctors for assistance in battling addiction and to reduce the health impact that poverty and inequality can have on our neighbors. Santiago, an emergency room doctor at Boston Medical Center, is uniquely situated to offer solutions.”
The Boston Guardian Endorses Jon
We need more legislators with first hand experience on the front lines of the opioid epidemic and who understand the realities of healthcare delivery which now accounts for 40 percent of the state budget.
Jon Challenges the Slow Pace of Change in the State House
Making the case for new blood in the office, Boston Medical Center physician Jonathan Santiago expresses frustration with the slow pace of change in the state’s House of Representatives, which has held up progressive legislation that sailed through the Senate, such as a recent school funding bill and a comprehensive environmental protection bill that aimed to expand the state’s use of renewable energy.
“I think we can do better,” Santiago says. “The Senate has moved forward, but the House has not.”
Jon Demands Action to Help Puerto Rico Recover from Hurricane Maria
Is Puerto Rico ready for the next hurricane season, which started June 1? A new report from the Harvard School of Public Health estimates 4,600 people were killed by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. “[This issue] has been largely ignored by the media,” said Dr. Jon Santiago in a television appearance.
State Rep Candidate Santiago Endorsed by New Politics
New Politics, the national organization that recruits and supports national service leaders and military veterans for elected office, this week endorsed Dr. Jon Santiago in his campaign for state representative in Massachusetts’ Ninth Suffolk District.
Democrats Face Push from Left
Jamaica Plain Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez and South End Rep. Byron Rushing are facing their first challengers in years. Rushing’s opponent, Jonathan Santiago, is a physician working at Boston Medical Center who is active in progressive causes and in the Ward 9 Democratic Committee. Sanchez’s opponent, Nika Elugardo, a former legislative aide to Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, has led anti-human-trafficking and youth violence prevention campaigns.
Santiago Will Challenge for State Representative in 9th Suffolk
For the South End’s Dr. Jon Santiago, the path from Peace Corps activist to Army Reserve captain to Emergency Room doctor, and now, to candidate for state representative makes perfect sense.
All four are about doing whatever he can to help others, he said.
This week, Santiago – the former vice chair of the Ward 4 Democratic Committee, a community activist and an emergency room doctor at Boston Medical Center (BMC) – announced that he will take that fourth step in his unique path by running for state representative in the 9th Suffolk District – a seat now held by long-time State Rep. Byron Rushing.
Doctors in Training Gain Access to Prescription Database
Doctors in training will soon be able to access the state’s database that keeps track of prescriptions for powerful drugs, after the health department last week closed a loophole seen as hindering the fight against opioid abuse.
The database, known as the Prescription Monitoring Program, lists every prescription for controlled substances filled in Massachusetts….
“It think it’s great,” said Dr. Jon Santiago, a first-year resident in emergency medicine at Boston Medical Center. “I see patients all the time asking for opiates. . . . Residents by and large are some of the biggest opiate prescribers in the larger hospitals in Boston.”
Santiago is a member of the Committee of Interns and Residents, a union that petitioned Governor Charlie Baker to change the rules so residents could consult the prescription database.
Physicians take on the NRA: This is our lane
As a result of the NRA telling physicians to “stay in their lane,” Representative Elect Dr. Jon Santiago stepped up to articulate the reasons why physicians should get involved in the gun violence debate.
“As physicians, surgeons, and frontline providers, we are well within our right to advocate for stricter regulations on guns and greater funding for trauma services. In fact, it is our responsibility and duty to patients, many of whose lives are affected daily by gun violence.”
Jon Stands Up for LGBTQ Equality and Inclusion
In the South End, Dr. Jon Santiago blasted the decision to exclude gay veterans, even if parade organizers reversed it. Santiago is a resident physician in emergency medicine at Boston Medical Center and a captain in the US Army Reserves.
Santiago said it was time to end the long debate over whether gays people should have the right to march in the South Boston parade.
He criticized organizers for allowing members who are not veterans to cast votes against those who served in the armed forces.
“The fact that they’re shaming veterans who put their lives on the line, it’s a pity,” said Santiago.