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NACCHO Troubled by HHS Change For Prevention and Public Health Fund


Contact Claire S. Gould
(301) 280-1558

NACCHO Troubled by HHS Change For Prevention and Public Health Fund

Washington, D.C. (April 16, 2013)–

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) is concerned with the Department of Health and Human Services’ decision to divert funding for important public health initiatives to health care enrollment activities.

Of the $950 million allocation for the Prevention and Public Health Fund for FY2013, nearly half or $454 million of the Fund will be used for enrollment activities for the health insurance marketplaces established through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Funding for the Section 317 immunization program has also been cut by $82 million and funding for the Community Transformation Grants designed to reduce chronic disease has been cut $80 million.  

The Fund was authorized in the ACA to support and bolster prevention and public health activities. This is the third time in the Fund’s history that funds have been redirected from their original purpose. In FY2010 $250 million was provided for training of primary care providers and in FY2011 $6.25 billion over nine years was eliminated to halt a cut to Medicare physician reimbursement. 

“The Prevention and Public Health Fund has been an important resource for local communities," said NACCHO’s executive director Robert M. Pestronk. “While facilitating enrollment in medical care is important, it just doesn’t make sense to do this at the expense of protecting people,” Pestronk said. “Chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure account for 70 percent of all deaths and 75 percent of all health care costs.”

Additional cuts to the Fund continue to erode the capacity of local health departments which have seen previous rounds of federal, state, and local cutbacks.  

The Fund supports the early and rapid detection of diseases and injury, continuous quality improvement in public health practice, and community-based initiatives to stem the epidemic of preventable disease and make health an easier choice. The Fund also supports training for the public health workforce. 

Learn more about how the local health department workforce has been affected by budget cuts since 2008 at http://www.naccho.org/jobloss.