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Prevention Institute

Health Reform Rapid Response: January 17, 2014

Prevention and Public Health Fund Has Not Been Cut, Despite Media Reports

2014 started off with a bang, with widespread news reports stating that the Prevention and Public Health Fund had been zeroed out in the 2014 omnibus spending bill. Fortunately, this was just a case of mistaken reporting -- the Prevention and Public Health Fund remains intact. The misunderstanding probably sprouted from a summary of the spending bill directing “the transfer of all available Prevention and Public Health Funds,” but the bill merely allocated the Fund’s resources into specific program accounts -- as was always intended under the Affordable Care Act.

The bill actually doubles funding for state-level diabetes, heart disease and stroke prevention programs and boosts funding for the CDC’s Office of Smoking and Health. It also provides $80 million in new Community Prevention Grants to help communities build multi-sector partnerships to improve community health. And, the spending bill also restores funding for the CDC’s Healthy Homes program for lead poisoning prevention, and increases funds for a national reporting system that tracks violent deaths.

Unfortunately, there is no specific funding for the Community Transformation Grants (CTG) program in 2014. Instead, money has been allocated to the CDC's Diabetes and Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention programs. While many questions remain to be answered about this shift in funding allocations, what is clear is that the CTG efforts are making a difference right now in communities across the country. With their focus on equity, multi-sector partnerships, community engagement, and linkages between healthcare and community health, these grants embody a new paradigm and vision of health and prevention, and play an important role in shifting the health system to promote health and wellness, in the first place. For more information on the 2014 omnibus spending bill and its impacts on CTG efforts, see our latest alert.

This week, we’re asking you to help the media get it right. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the coverage that got it wrong in regards to the Prevention and Public Health Fund, and we hope you’ll help set the record straight by commenting on one or more of these stories:

As prevention advocates, our job isn’t just setting the record straight when the media goes off-track -- it’s shaping the coverage by sharing success stories. Consider leaving a comment on these stories too, or sharing them on Facebook and Twitter with your networks:

  • Public Health Newswire: Prevention fund ‘is alive and well,’ says Harkin citing APHA support. This piece clarifies the confusion in the spending bill on the Prevention and Public Health Fund, and includes some great quotes from prevention champion Senator Harkin.
  • Chicago Tribune: How to Take On Health Inequalities in America. Alice Rivlin and Mark McClellan make the case for prevention within the health system: “To improve America's health, we must make health — not sickness — the focus of health professionals. It is not enough to treat sickness. We need to put more energy into keeping ourselves well and preventing sickness. This will require greater attention to problems that typically have fallen outside medical care, such as whether a person has a job, a safe place to live, and access to healthy foods.”
  • Field Clinic Blog: ACA will bring shift to focusing on wellness: Philadelphia City Health Commissioner Donald Schwarz explains how ACA -- and the Prevention and Public Health Fund -- is already improving America’s health: “The Affordable Care Act creates a structure not only to improve access, but to make new investments that seek to prevent chronic illnesses and save billions of dollars. In other words, it transforms a system focused on sickness into one devoted to wellness.”
  • Health Affairs: Health Beyond Health Care: RWJF Commission Issues New Report. “Time To Act: Investing in the Health of our Children and Communities,” a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation explores the social and economic factors that shape  health, such as access to early childhood development programs and collaboration between health, finance and community development initiatives.
  • Roll Call: Prevention Is Still The Best Medicine. Helen Durkin makes the case: “Primary prevention is the only sure way to stop the tide of chronic disease and obesity that is eroding our health, our economy, our future and our nation.”
  • Atlantic Cities: Searching Upstream for the Source of Sickness. This piece explores the “Upstreamist” movement, led by Dr. Rishi Manchanda, which aims to move the medical community’s focus and scope to better understand and address how social determinants shape health.
  • Forbes: Smoking Bans And Car-Seat Bribes: Five Lessons From The 50-Year Effort To Reduce Smoking And Save Lives. Prevention Institute’s own Larry Cohen and Rob Waters look back on the last 50 years in tobacco prevention, and share five lessons learned for prevention movements broadly.

What the 2014 Spending Bill Means for Prevention

Read and share Prevention Institute's statement on the Prevention and Public Health Fund in the 2014 omnibus spending bill, and learn more about its impact on Community Transformation Grants.

Make a Prevention Resolution for 2014

We’re committed to growing and improving our Health Reform Rapid Response Network -- and we can’t do it without you. It’s not too late to join us in making a Prevention Resolution. We’ll use your responses to help guide our messages and advocacy asks for 2014.

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