New Mass. Challenge: How To Spend $43 Million On Getting Healthier

Ladies and gentlemen of the Massachusetts health sphere, start your mental engines.

As decreed in the state's latest health reform law, Massachusetts will spend a total of $60 million dollars over the next several years on trying to stop health spending before it happens — by keeping people healthier. Of that $60 mllion total, $43 million goes to competitive grants, and if you've got a brilliant idea, you can now apply for one.

I must say, prevention money so often gets short shrift when it comes to health budgets that I'm pleasantly surprised to see that the state's "Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund" did not fall victim to any sort of fiscal knifery. And I can't wait to see what people come up with.

The folks at the Massachusetts Public Health Association, which led the effort to create the trust fund, kindly sent over the state document below laying out the basics on the grants. And if you want to actually apply, you must navigate the terrifying jungles of the state procurement system; you can try going to this page and typing "Prevention and Wellness Trust" into the search box. I just tried it and it worked for me (just as a test — we're not competitors; so if you think your idea is so cool it deserves CommonHealth coverage, give us a yell...)

Massachusetts Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund

· Funding available: $42,750,000 over 4 years

· Goal: to reduce healthcare costs in the Commonwealth by supporting evidence-based community and clinical prevention strategies and providing activities that will simultaneously decrease preventable risk factors and illness and improve the management of existing chronic disease.

· Priority conditions: funded programs must address at least two of the program’s priority positions:
o tobacco use
o pediatric asthma
o hypertension
o falls among older adults

Programs may also address optional conditions/issues:
o obesity
o diabetes
o oral health issues
o substance abuse

· Number of grants: 6-12

· Focus: must include clinical and community interventions, with required linkage across the two. Strategies include individual behavior change as well as policy, systems and environmental change in communities and clinical settings.

· Service area: programs must focus on an area with a population ranging from 30,000 to 120,000

· Required partners: partnerships must include:
o a municipality or regional planning agency
o a community-based organization
o a clinical health provider

This program aired on August 30, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

Carey Goldberg Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.



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