May 1, 2017
CHARLESTOWN, Massachusetts. – May 1, 2017

BMC HealthNet Plan recently sponsored an open forum for its diverse workforce of more than 600 employees to discuss income disparity in Boston. The event was the second in the health plan’s “This Is Where We Live” speaker series.

A panel of speakers comprising business and government representatives led the discussion. They included John Barros, Chief of Economic Development for the City of Boston; Marlene Kim, Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts; Reginald Nunnally, Executive Director of the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts; and Megan Costello, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement. Albert Vasallo III, President & CEO of El Mundo Newspaper, moderated.

Through the ‘This Is Where We Live series,’ we want our employees to remain apprised of current thinking in an effort to help foster a welcoming and inclusive workplace.

According to Susan Coakley, President of BMC HealthNet Plan, “Forums such as the Income Disparity panel discussion offer BMC HealthNet Plan’s diverse employee workforce the opportunity to access relevant information from respected sources and to be able to share their thoughts about these critical issues that affect their lives. Through the ‘This Is Where We Live series,’ we want our employees to remain apprised of current thinking in an effort to help foster a welcoming and inclusive workplace.”

The panelists provided statistics, observations and recommendations on income disparity based on their experiences inside and outside the Boston community. According to the presenters, for the past three years, Boston has been rated one of the top three cities in the United States for income inequality. The causes, they said, varied greatly from weak or non-existent federal policies and cultural stagnation to the need for people of color to improve methods to promote their local businesses. The panelists agreed that Boston would benefit when companies doing business in the city commit to making a greater effort to recruit, hire and offer training to women and minorities.

“There needs to be a different way of how we move people through the various economic strata. The power to change starts within the community. If we begin to harness our individual economic power by ‘buying Black,’ we can begin to change our culture as it relates to economic development and wealth creation. If we can change from within, then we know we can change the government culture and any other obstacles to economic equality,” said Mr. Nunnally. He added, “The unemployment rates in Massachusetts and Boston are really good, but people of color, particularly Black and Latino, have triple the unemployment rate as Whites. Blacks and Latino’s are in worse shape than we have ever been.”

Mr. Vasallo reflected on the impact this type of event provides to the community. “This speakers’ series hits a nerve. People want to hear more about the issues being presented. When an employer takes the initiative to offer these events for their employees, we always get a lot of great feedback, and people want to hear more about these issues.” He added, “Communication and open dialogue are more important now than ever if we’re going to move forward as a united city and a united nation.”

About Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan

Boston Medical Center founded Boston Medical Center Health Plan, Inc. in 1997 as a not-forprofit managed care organization doing business in Massachusetts as Boston Medical Center (BMC) HealthNet Plan. Outside Massachusetts the business name is Well Sense Health Plan. BMC HealthNet Plan has received a rating of 4.5 out of 5 for its Massachusetts Medicaid product in the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) 2016-2017 Health Insurance Plan Ratings. This rating gives BMC HealthNet Plan the distinction of being one of the highest rated Medicaid health plans in the nation. Its Medicaid HMO has achieved Excellent Accreditation status from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) based on the results from its most recent submissions of HEDIS® and CAHPS® data to NCQA. Excellent Accreditation is the highest status awarded by NCQA. In addition, BMC HealthNet Plan has maintained Accredited status for its Qualified Health Plan coverage. Accredited is the highest status currently available for Qualified Health Plans. For more information, go to For more information about BMC HealthNet Plan Senior Care Options, go to


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