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Health group applauds Senate committee's proposed investment in public health (8/3)

The Trust for America's Health (TFAH) commended the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee for approving an historic $1.27 billion for prevention and public health for fiscal year 2011. This proposed funding would include $750 million, the second installment of the new Prevention and Public Health Fund that was created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

"This unprecedented investment could turn the promise of prevention in health reform into a reality. This could be the opportunity to transform the health of millions of Americans for the better," said Richard Hamburg, Deputy Director of TFAH. "Instead of waiting to treat people after they become ill, these funds would allow us to keep people healthier in the first place."

One proposal in the measure calls for more flexibility in the use of prevention funds to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of spending. "The Senate appropriators should be commended for placing on the table a smart, strategic proposal that could limit existing funding stovepipes and silos to get the maximum payoff for our investment in prevention - to improve health and lower health care costs," said Hamburg.

Overall, the measure provides additional resources for cross-cutting community prevention programs, for investing in core public health capacity at the state, local and community levels, and for expanding the science base of prevention. Among the proposed appropriations, in large part made possible through distribution of the additional resources now available through the Prevention and Public Health Fund, are funds for:
  • Community Prevention
    • $309 million for community grants, including $220 million for Community Transformation Grants and $89 million for Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH).
    • $251 million for a new state grant program to combat obesity-related chronic disease and $207 million for tobacco cessation and prevention.
  • Core Capacity
    • $30 million for a program to hire community health workers, $50 million for epidemiology and laboratory capacity grants, and $54 million to integrate primary care services into community mental health settings.
  • Research and Development
    • $24 million for the Community and Clinical Task Forces to evaluate and recommend proven preventive services, and $105 million for research on effective preventive services and interventions.

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