On Wednesday, August 2nd, the Barnstable Prevention Partnership held a press conference at YMCA Cape Cod to address the exclusion of the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund in the FY18 Massachusetts State Budget. The conference focused on the partnership's commitment to the re-authorization of the program that ended its funding on June 30, 2017.
Members of the Cape and Islands legislative delegation including Senator Julian Cyr, Representative Randy Hunt, and Representative Will Crocker expressed their support for the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund and vowed to fight back against the budget cuts.
"Prevention is among the most effective tools we have to keep people healthy and contain escalating health care costs," said Senator Cyr. "That's why in 2012 Massachusetts established the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund, a first in the nation program dedicated to funding health prevention at the community level. I am disheartened that the Conference Committee Report did not include a sustainable funding stream for this highly successful program. The re-authorization and funding of the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund is one of my top priorities, and I am committed to searching for alternative ways to ensure that our most vulnerable populations have access to community health services."
The Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund was introduced in 2012 as a first-in-the-nation effort to prevent and reduce the burden of chronic disease across Massachusetts while also lowering the growing costs of healthcare in the state. The aim of the program was to reduce health disparities, increase healthy behaviors and increase adoption of workplace wellness programs. Since then, the following organizations in Barnstable County have been working collaboratively to help individuals on Cape Cod self-manage serious diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and injuries resulting from falls among the elderly: Barnstable County Department of Human Services, Community Health Center of Cape Cod, Duffy Health Center, Harbor Community Health Center, My Health Coalition of Cape Cod, and YMCA Cape Cod.