The Massachusetts Public Health Association announces Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer and Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch have been named Co-Chairs of the Prevention Trust Coalition. The mayors immediately called upon the House of Representatives to take action during this week’s debate on the state budget to continue the groundbreaking work of the Prevention Trust.
“The Prevention Trust is making a difference in Quincy as we work to improve health outcomes for everyone in our community while tackling rising health care costs,” said Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch. “We ask our legislative leaders to stand with us to protect the investment in this important program, and more importantly, to protect the hard-won health improvements for our residents.”
Mayor Tyer and Mayor Koch asked Representatives to support a budget amendment from Representative Aaron Vega of Holyoke and Representative Tackey Chan of Quincy (amendment #24) that would continue the work of this successful program. The amendment is supported by a bipartisan majority of the House, with 85 co-sponsors.
“I’ve seen the impact of the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund firsthand for seniors and other residents in Pittsfield and across the Berkshires” said Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer. “Our regional health system delivers top notch clinical care – the Prevention Trust allows us to extend that care beyond the clinic walls into the neighborhoods, cities, and towns of our region.”
The Prevention & Wellness Trust Fund is a first-in-the-nation effort established in 2012 to support evidence-based community interventions that can keep Massachusetts residents healthy, avoid preventable health care costs, and reduce health disparities. An independent evaluation of the program has shown positive impacts on costs, health outcomes, and systems innovation – and recommended further investment. The program was funded at $60 million over four years through an assessment on health insurers and large hospital systems; the program does not require any state funding. The program will sunset on June 30, 2017 without action from the Legislature.
“The Prevention Trust must remain a central tenant of our health reform efforts – we can’t retreat now,” said Representative Aaron Vega of Holyoke. “In Holyoke, we’re making progress on many fronts, including reducing the devastating impact of pediatric asthma. This means kids breathing easier, missing fewer school days, and staying out of the emergency room – that’s the human face of this program and why it’s so important to me.”
Harvard Catalyst conducted a rigorous independent evaluation of the program and found results on positive impacts on health outcomes, cost effectiveness, potential for cost savings, and systems innovation – and concluded that the program warrants further investment. (The executive summary of the final report may be viewed here. The full report is here.)
“This is a smart investment,” said state Rep. Tackey Chan of Quincy. “This program is getting results for the residents of my district, and we should be expanding the model to more communities to have an even bigger impact.”
“All residents of Massachusetts should have opportunities for good health no matter what their background or zip code,” saidMaddie Ribble, Director of Public Policy at the Massachusetts Public Health Association. “In 2012, the Legislature came together with a large coalition of health, community, and municipal leaders to take an important step toward this vision through the creation of the Prevention & Wellness Trust Fund. It’s vital that we keep this vision and this program alive in 2017 and beyond.”