The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released a report today about the Massachusetts Prevention and Wellness Trust, passed in 2012 as a part of our payment and delivery system reform law. The Prevention Trust, the first of its kind in the nation, sets aside $60 million for community-based public health prevention and wellness programs. The aim of the trust is to fund local efforts to keep people healthier, which will reduce overall health costs.
The report was prepared by the Institute on Urban Health Research and Practice, Bouve College of Health Sciences, at Northeastern University. Former DPH Commissioner John Auerbach heads the institute, and led the work on the report.
RWJF also posted today a great discussion with John Auerbach and Cheryl Bartlett which explains how it works, how it came about and how Massachusetts is leading the way in innovation and public health. There’s also a nicely done infographic (excerpts above) summarizing the findings.
Health Care For All and our Campaign for Better Care coalition, allying with the Mass Public Health Association and the Prevention in Payment Reform coalition as well as the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, pushed to include the Prevention Trust into the cost control law. The cause was only successful because of the hard work of Representatives Jason Lewis and Senator Harriette Chandler, who led the Prevention for Health Caucus and pushed aggressively for the provision in the bill.
What we heard from the legislature was that everybody supported the idea of a trust, but nobody wanted to fund it. We proposed the assessment on insurers which was included in the final law. Given the strong interest among all insurers to promote prevention activities that lower health care costs, we thought it made sense to align their interests with the public interest.
Very soon DPH will announce the preliminary funding awards from the program. We’re looking forward already to the effort for renewal of the Trust, which was established as a 4-year pilot project.