Established in 2012, the Massachusetts Prevention & Wellness Trust Fund (PWTF) is the first program in the country to invest on a large scale in evidence-based community strategies to prevent illness, improve health outcomes and reduce health inequalities across race, ethnicity, and income. Between 2014-2018, PWTF funded successful clinical-community partnerships focused on childhood asthma, falls among older adults, hypertension, and tobacco use.
Despite being recognized as a national model by other states, national health care and public health organizations, and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the Fund was not reauthorized in 2018. Now, MPHA is leading the charge to restore funding to this important program. In September, MPHA delivered a letter to the chairs of the legislature’s Health Care Financing Committee with more than 160 signatures supporting the Fund’s reauthorization.
Leaders from every corner of the state are calling for new funding for PWTF, including the heads of prominent public health and medical organizations; regional planning agencies; issue-based leaders from food, housing and other sectors; social service providers; researchers and philanthropic organizations; and state and municipal officials.
PWTF’s broad support is due to its effectiveness. A rigorous independent evaluation of the Fund, conducted by Harvard Catalyst, concluded that “PWTF appears to be a very sound investment from the point of view of improving outcomes and controlling costs.” The evaluation found that:
- PWTF hypertension interventions generated net cost-savings
- PWTF pediatric asthma interventions led to declines in total health care costs
- PWTF falls prevention interventions were cost effective and projected to prevent 3,000 falls among older adults over five years
The independent evaluation noted significant systems innovation and concluded that PWTF warrants further investment. Preventable health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, and substance use disorders continue to rise, consuming 86% of national health care costs. The result is shorter lives, lower quality of life, and reduced productivity.
Preventable chronic conditions affect all areas of the state, but disproportionately impact communities of color and low-income communities, representing a fundamental barrier to equity in our Commonwealth. PWTF can bring evidence-based interventions for these conditions to scale and evaluate their impact, providing crucial lessons for MassHealth and accountable care organizations as they seek to improve care at lower cost.
Help MPHA restore funding to this critical program! To receive action alerts and updates on the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund, or to sign on as a supporter, email Maddie Ribble at email@example.com.
More information on PWTF (click links below):
- News Release 9/17/19: 160+ Organizations and Civic Leaders Call for Action on the Prevention & Wellness Trust Fund
- 2019 Open Letter to Legislative Leaders supporting PWTF
- 2017 Prevention & Wellness Trust Fund Final Report
- Prevention & Wellness Trust Fund: Supplemental to Final Evaluation, Harvard Catalyst
Town and City Fact Sheets: