The Prevention and Public Health Fund: The Federal Government Finally Puts Money Where Mouth Is When it Comes to Prevention and Wellness Initiatives
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
By Chris LaPage
In the health sector, money continues to flow from the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF), originally created in the health reform legislation passed in FY 2010 (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). The PPHF was created in the same vein as its predecessor from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Prevention and Wellness Fund (PWF). However, while PWF represented a one-time appropriation with limited impact, the PPHF has real dollars committed to it for the next 10 years. In total, the PPHF represents a $15 billion investment over the next decade in community-wide efforts to prevent disease and manage chronic conditions by detecting and controlling them before they become severe and require costly interventions.
Over the past year, funding has been distributed to organizations and public entities across the United States for a variety of purposes. Community and Clinical Prevention Grants were distributed to states and nonprofit organizations to integrate primary and behavioral health care, tobacco cessation initiatives and HIV prevention programs. State and local public health departments received grant funding to improve infrastructure (including community-wide linkages), laboratory capacity and public health workforce training. Almost $1 billion in grants went to states, institutions of higher education and healthcare providers to expand the primary care workforce.
While several grant programs have already come and gone, the bulk of the funding is yet to be distributed. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced $102 million in FY 2011 grant funding through a program titled "Community Transformation Grants". Considering that projects will be funded over a five year time period, the total amount of funding available will total $900 million through FY 2015. The goal is to fund community-wide efforts to implement evidence and practice-based policy, environmental, programmatic and infrastructure changes necessary to work towards the goals of the "Healthy People 2020" federal initiative. The main focus areas are projects that address healthy changes in weight, proper nutrition, increased physical activity, decreased tobacco use prevalence, as well as improvements in emotional well-being and overall mental health. Eligibility is wide open, including state and local government agencies, municipalities, nonprofits, and tribal organizations. Interested parties must apply to one of two categories: (A) capacity and infrastructure building, or (B) implementation. The CDC anticipates making as many as 75 awards. Depending on the category of funding and type of entity, award sizes range from $50,000 to $10 million. Interested applicants were required to submit a letter of intent by June 6, 2011 and a full proposal is due by July 15, 2011.
In addition, the CDC has made $40 million available in FY 2011 through a separate program known as the "Prevention and Public Health Fund Coordinated Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Program". The program represents a total investment of $120 million over
the next three years for statewide projects aimed at chronic disease management. Specifically, The new initiative will support the implementation of public health programs, surveillance of chronic diseases, translation of research into public health practice, and development of tools and resources for health workers and other leaders at all levels of community (local, regional, state, national). State-designated entities must apply by the July 22, 2011 deadline.
For communities around the country that are struggling with implementing evidence-based prevention strategies and chronic disease management initiatives, the PPHF represents the largest investment in such activities by the federal government in history. Health care providers, public health departments and other stakeholders that would be interested in realizing funds from the PPHF need to monitor grant programs released with "ACA" in the program title, which stands for Affordable Care Act. In addition, local stakeholders can keep track of what PPHF dollars are being utilized for in their particular state by monitoring information available through the Department of Health and Human Services at http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/prevention02092011a.html.