Last week, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed the nation’s first pulmonary hypertension (PH) bill establishing a task force of medical, health insurance, pharmaceutical, advocacy, research and patient experts to monitor and report annually on advances in patient care. The reports will include summaries on research, services and support for patients across Massachusetts and develop a comprehensive strategic plan with yearly updates on how to improve outcomes. The plan will include information on advances in research, transplantation, public awareness, health care delivery and improvements in early and accurate diagnosis.

Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) Board member Steve White credits Frank Cann, his son, Justin, and his son-in-law, Ernesto Bencosme – who has PH – and their family and friends for initiating the bill and seeing it through to the end.

Frank became involved with PHA in the spring of 2016. He serves on PHA’s Development Committee and spearheaded the Boston PH O2breathe Walk, which grossed more than any other inaugural event in PHA’s history.

“Frank and his family are fully committed to joining us in fighting this disease in every way possible. They deserve our gratitude today,” Steve said. “When it seemed as if time had run out on the 2016 session they kept at it and got it passed minutes before midnight on the last day. They are an amazing team.”

Steve, the Cann family, and the Massachusetts PHA community hope this successful Massachusetts advocacy effort becomes a model for the association to implement in other states.