FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 12, 2018
Contact: Maddie Ribble, 617-697-2107
Health Care Providers, Mayors, Health Policy Leaders
Press House to Save Successful Prevention Programs
Letter cites role of Prevention Trust in successful MassHealth transformation
In anticipation of a major debate on health care in the state House of Representatives this spring, a group of 27 health care provider organizations and health policy leaders today pressed Speaker Robert DeLeo to support continued funding for the Prevention & Wellness Trust Fund (PWTF). The letter is signed by coalition co-chairs Mayor Thomas Koch of Quincy and Mayor Linda Tyer of Pittsfield, each of whom has seen the direct benefit of PWTF in their communities. Additional signers include representatives of the MA Health and Hospitals Association, the MA Medical Society, the MA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the MA League of Community Health Centers, the MA Health Council, Health Care For All, and the MA Association of Community Health Workers.
“Massachusetts is a national leader in health care and public health, but we risk taking a major step backwards if we don’t take action to soon to save these successful programs,” said Maddie Ribble, Director of Public Policy for the Massachusetts Public Health Association. “This is no time to abandon what works.” An independent evaluation from Harvard Catalyst concluded that “PWTF appears to be a very sound investment from the point of view of improving outcomes and controlling costs.” Yet, all PWTF partnerships will be shuttered by June 2018 without legislative action.
The letter cites the importance of community-based prevention programs to the success of new MassHealth accountable care organizations (ACOs). These new provider organizations will be responsible for the total cost of care for MassHealth patients, yet lack a comprehensive toolbox to address the root causes of poor health among their members.
“Sunsetting PWTF now would undermine our efforts and limit our impact,” said Christina Severin, CEO of Community Care Cooperative (C3), an accountable care organization comprised of 15 community health centers. “C3 and our ACO colleagues across the state are innovating to improve quality and reduce costs for health care consumers, and we’re optimistic about what we can achieve over the next five years. But in order to improve health outcomes and address the factors in communities which drive up health care costs, ACOs can’t go it alone. PWTF is a successful model of a true community-clinical partnership that should be continued and expanded. Working hand-in-hand with ACOs and other clinical partners, PWTF can dramatically improve health outcomes, reduce health disparities, and further our shared objectives in effectively managing health care costs.”
PWTF was established by the legislature in 2012 as part of the last major health care legislative package. Funded at $57 million over the five years, it has supported nine regional partnerships to implement evidence-based clinical and community services to prevent health complications and costs associated with four common health conditions: pediatric asthma, falls among older adults, hypertension, and tobacco use.