150 Rally to Protect the Prevention Trust, Call for Fast Legislative Action

MPHA Executive Director Rebekah Gewirtz opens kickoff event

More than 150 people rallied last week at the State House to kick off a campaign to protect the first-in-the-nation Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund (PWTF). The rally included patients and community residents served by PWTF, community health workers, community-based service providers, and hospital systems, along with public health and  health care advocates. More than 20 legislators attended, along with many additional legislative staff.

May Yin Lam Chan, Falls prevention patient from Quincy. Sara Tan, Executive Director of Enhance Asian Community on Health interprets for the audience.

Together, we called for quick action from the legislature to continue funding for PWTF, which is set to expire on June 30, 2017. Without action from the Legislature, access to important and cost-effective services for people in need will be eliminated and infrastructure across the Commonwealth that facilitates seamless coordination between clinical and community providers will be dismantled.

Advocates from the Quincy Weymouth Wellness Initiative

The rally included stories from patients, community health workers about how PWTF has transformed people’s lives by providing services and supports in the community to address the underlying causes of their health struggles, as well as examples from clinicians and hospital systems about how PWTF is transforming the delivery of clinical care.

PWTF’s legislative champions – including Senators Lewis, Chandler, and Welch and Representatives Vega and Chan – called on their colleagues in the Legislature to pass legislation (Senate Bill 643 and House Docket 2638) that would protect and expand the Prevention Trust through a small assessment on health insurers. Their legislation enjoys bipartisan support and has been co-sponsored by a majority of both the House and Senate.

Senator Jason Lewis, Senate sponsor of the PWTF bill

Prior to the event, advocates, providers, and patients fanned out across the State House, meeting with more than 50 legislative offices to discuss the importance of the program and build support for legislative action.

Representative Aaron Vega, House sponsor of the PWTF bill

In the days before the event, the Department of Public Health released the final report on PWTF to the Legislature. The report included a detailed analysis from independent evaluator Harvard Catalyst, which found promising results on health impacts, cost effectiveness, potential for cost savings, and systems innovation – and concluded that the program warrants further investment. The report also included a recommendation from the Prevention and Wellness Advisory Board to continue funding. The Board includes representatives of consumers, insurers, hospitals, municipalities, business, researchers, and others.

To learn more or get involved in this campaign, contact Maddie Ribble at: mribble@mapublichealth.org.