A Win for Contraceptive Access in Massachusetts

Over the past several months, Upstream MA has been working closely with NARAL MA and reproductive health champions across the state to facilitate implementation of the Contraceptive ACCESS Law. We’re thrilled to share that our advocacy efforts successfully led to MassHealth issuing new guidelines to enable patients to access a 12-month supply of birth control.

This policy change goes into effect immediately and will have a direct impact on hundreds of thousands of MassHealth patients, especially during the pandemic when many are already facing complex barriers to care. We are delighted to include this piece of good news in our last communication of the year.

We are also pleased to announce a new health center partner, and to celebrate two members of our talented Massachusetts team.

This has been a year like no other. As we close out 2020 and look ahead to 2021, we are inspired by the community of partners and friends we work alongside to expand access to contraception across the Commonwealth. This brings you our warmest wishes for a safe and healthy holiday season, and a Happy New Year!


Effective December 1, 2020, MassHealth members can access a 12-month supply of birth control dispensed all at once. For more information about these guidelines, see “MassHealth Pharmacy Facts 157” and “MassHealth Managed Care Entity Bulletin #49.”

Dispensing a 12-month supply of birth control is an evidence-based best practice that has been shown to improve continuation of birth control use and reduce unintended pregnancies. Upstream strongly recommends providers prescribe and dispense the maximum allowance of contraceptives to reduce barriers to access and unnecessary return visits for patients.

Note: Patients enrolled in commercial health plans may also be eligible for a 12-month supply for birth control (for more information, see “Bulletin 2020-26” from the MA Division of Insurance).


We are pleased to announce a new Upstream partnership with Greater New Bedford Community Health Center!

GNBCHC has a strong history of protecting public health through accessible and culturally competent, quality primary health care.

They work hard to serve, educate, and inspire patients in becoming more knowledgeable and participatory in their total health, and they are proud to be a regional resource and leader focused on improving public health in the communities they serve.

We are grateful to partner with Upstream to bring best practices in family/pregnancy planning as part of our Patient-Centered Medical Homes at Greater New Bedford Community Health Center. Helping women with their reproductive health decisions is a critical component of their overall health and wellness.

– Cheryl Bartlett, CEO of Greater New Bedford Community Health Center

We look forward to beginning our work with GNBCHC and doing our part to help improve access to a full range of contraceptive methods and excellent patient-centered care.


Seville Meli

Upstream is excited to announce that our State Director of Programs in Massachusetts, Seville Meli, has been selected to join YW Boston’s LeadBoston Class of 2021! LeadBoston looks broadly at systemic inequities and how they impact and are impacted by Boston’s institutions, neighborhoods, and industries.

The program fosters skills that enable leaders to analyze root causes of diversity, equity, and inclusion challenges, then devise interventions that address those challenges.

Through curated content and responsive programming, participants gain direct insight into key institutions and levers for change, strengthening their skills as leaders committed to advancing equity within their organizations and the broader community. We look forward to learning from Seville as she participates in LeadBoston, and to continuing our journey to advancing equity at Upstream.

Congratulations, Seville!


Please join us in welcoming Laurita Kaigler-Crawlle to our Upstream MA team as our Director of Program Implementation! Laurita joined our program team earlier this year.

Laurita is a seasoned public health professional with over twenty years of experience leading health and human services partnerships that have improved care delivery systems in Massachusetts. She holds a Master of Science degree in Healthcare Management from Cambridge College and a BA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Laurita is driven by a deep appreciation of the processes and workforce competencies required to spread healthcare delivery system improvement. In her career, she has collaborated with government agencies, community-based organizations and residents to design and implement systems change strategies across MA. Laurita’s commitment to women’s health shines through in her experience improving healthcare systems serving Black and Latina women nationwide.

Welcome, Laurita!

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