Senator Sal DiDomenico recently announced the release of over $100 million in funding allocated by the Massachusetts Legislature in the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget. As Vice Chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee, Senator DiDomenico played a key role in securing funding priorities for the state in the final FY18 budget, including $2.6M for pediatric palliative care, which will fully eliminate the waitlist for services for seriously and terminally ill children.
Pediatric palliative care funding has consistently been one of the Senator’s top budget priorities throughout his tenure in the Senate. This year in particular, DiDomenico worked hard to ensure that the full amount needed to eliminate the waitlist was included in the final budget and was an outspoken proponent of overriding the Governor’s veto of this critical line item.
“I was very proud when my Senate colleagues and I included the full $2.6M to completely eliminate the waitlist for pediatric palliative care services, and I worked very hard to secure this funding in the final FY18 budget that came out of the conference committee process,” said Senator DiDomenico. “After this funding was partially vetoed by the Governor, I was a vocal advocate for overriding this veto to ensure that every child in the Commonwealth who is in need of these services has access to them.”
“This issue is not about number s a n d f i g u r e s , ” DiDomenico continued. “This is about children’s lives, so we cannot simply revert back to a lower funding amount. We must look at this and see the children who are dealing with this terrible experience and the families that are going through the most traumatic time in their lives. This is why pediatric palliative care has been one of my top priorities, and I will continue fighting for these critical services to ensure that these children and their families have the extra care and support that they need.”
The state’s Pediatric Palliative Care Network provides comprehensive care for children living with life-limiting illnesses and is an important source of support for their families. Services provided by the state’s pediatric palliative care program include consultation for pain and symptom management, nursing and on call services, counseling, sibling support, and bereavement care, if needed. However, for years, the pediatric palliative care program has been underfunded, and faced with limited resources, it has been unable to serve all the children and families in need of this care.
Since Senator DiDomenico began advocating for this funding, the amount allocated for pediatric palliative care has steadily increased with each budget cycle. The Senator is also the lead sponsor of legislation that would guarantee that adequate funding for the state’s pediatric palliative care program is always made available so all eligible children and their families have access to these vital services.