The western Massachusetts Health and Medical Coordinating Coalition (W MA HMCC) coordinates public health and medical emergency preparedness in the four westernmost Massachusetts counties, minus a few towns along the Worcester County border (Brimfield, Holland, New Salem, Orange, and Wales).
Every community in Massachusetts is part of a regional HMCC; while the specific activities undertaken by each HMCC may differ according to local needs, all HMCC’s work to strengthen public health and healthcare system capacity to prepare for, respond to, and recover from, public health emergencies or emergencies with public health implications. We do this by:
- Building relationships within the health sector and across the community
- Developing collaborative emergency preparedness, response, and recovery plans
- Facilitating communication, information, and resource sharing
- Maximizing the utilization of existing resources
In June of 2022, the HMCC Steering Committee ratified the coalition’s work plan for the coming program year. The work plan identifies planning and response coordination elements for the coalition to work on in the near future. View the work plan at a glance, as well as introductory documents that explain the HMCC’s role in regional preparedness and response coordination, below.
Western Massachusetts shares borders with four other states: New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and Connecticut, and has two distinct sub regions: the Pioneer Valley, and the Berkshires. It has a population of approximately 829,000 people.
The Pioneer Valley consists of the 69 cities and towns composing the Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin county areas of western Massachusetts. The Pioneer Valley is bisected the Connecticut River, which runs north/south through the entire state. The flat plains of the Connecticut River Valley contain most of the existing large-scale development, as well as much of the farmland in the region. The cities of Springfield, Chicopee and Holyoke anchor the region’s urban core and are major employment centers, while Northampton and Amherst are the heart of the Five College area and a second concentration of employment and population.
The Berkshire region consists of 32 towns located in westernmost Massachusetts. Elevations range from 3,491 feet at Mount Greylock, the highest point in the state, to 594 feet in Williamstown. Two major rivers drain the region, the Hoosic in the north and the Housatonic in the south. Their adjacent valley lands contain the majority of the region’s development and population. Hills and mountains on the east and west characterize the topography of the Berkshires with flatter lands in the valleys of the Hoosic and Housatonic Rivers. The Taconic Mountains lie along the western edge of the region and the Berkshire Hills lie along the eastern edge.
Several interstate and state highways connect the region. The primary interstate artery is Route 91, which runs north south through the entirety of the Pioneer Valley. State routes 5&10 run parallel to route 91 and serve as secondary roadways. In Berkshire County, the primary north/south artery is Route 7. The East/west oriented Massachusetts Turnpike (Route 90) is situated in the southern end of the region, and connects Hampden and Berkshire Counties. Hampshire and Berkshire County share an east/west road via Route 9, while Franklin and Berkshire County share an east/west roadway via Route 2.
Membership in the HMCC is comprised mainly of core disciplines that receive preparedness and response funding through the MA Department of Public Health, though membership is open to (and currently includes) other health and medical stakeholders. The core disciplines are: hospitals, municipal public health, long term care and assisted living facilities, community health centers, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and regional/municipal emergency management.
Other key members include: home healthcare agencies, hospice providers, behavioral healthcare agencies and dialysis providers.
HMCC membership is free to any interested public health or healthcare parties, be they individual or organizational, private or public. To join, or address any questions or concerns, please contact:
The Region 1 HMCC has a 10-member Steering Committee, with 2 representatives from each of the 5 core disciplines. All Steering Committee members are selected from within their discipline, and are expected to represent the best interest of the region as a whole.
The Steering Committee provides broad coalition oversight and subject matter expertise regarding their disciplines’ concerns, structures, and regional coordination around preparedness and response. The Steering Committee ratifies the alignment of priorities for planning and preparedness, and works closely with HMCC staff to maintain a regional Emergency Coordination Plan that meets the needs of the various disciplines and communities in Region 1.
The W MA HMCC Steering Committee meets quarterly on a rotating basis throughout western MA.
The Region 1 HMCC is sponsored by the Franklin Regional Council of Governments.