WASHINGTON, March 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- To commemorate the third anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) released a story bank featuring stories of successful prevention initiatives in action from around the country. Many of the stories focus on Community Transformation Grant (CTG) awardees, and show how this new program, made possible by the ACA, is already helping to improve the health of Americans. CTGs are one of the hallmark programs of the ACA's Prevention and Public Health Fund, which is a dedicated investment in community prevention and state and local public health programs and workforce.
"The ACA is a historic law and should be celebrated. It helps move the country from a 'sick care' system, focused on treating people after they have become ill, to a real health care system, focused on preventing disease in the first place," said Jeffrey Levi, PhD, executive director of TFAH. "Millions of Americans are already healthier because of Community Transformation Grants, expanded coverage of preventive services and other strong prevention measures in the ACA."
In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded $103 million in CTGs to 61 state and local public health or related organizations, and, in 2012, CDC funded CTG programs with $226 million, including approximately $70 million in CTG funding to 40 additional communities. CTGs allow communities to focus on their top preventive priorities, including smoking cessation and obesity prevention by using proven, evidence-based approaches. TFAH's Prevention and Public Health Stories in the States story bank includes more than 50 profiles in 28 states, including:
- The launch of the first Accountable Care Community (ACC) in Akron, Ohio, which builds on the idea of an Accountable Care Organization. In 2011, the nonprofit organization Austen BioInnovation Institute (ABIA) brought together a wide range of 70 different groups to coordinate health care inside and outside the doctor's office for patients with type 2 diabetes, and received $500,000 per year for 5 years for a capacity building CTG. The ACC reduced the average cost per month of care for individuals with type 2 diabetes by more than 10 percent per month over 18 months with an estimated program savings of $3,185 per person per year. This initiative has also led to a decrease in diabetes-related emergency department visits.
- Oklahoma is using a CTG to work with a range of sectors to make healthier choices easier in the state. Nearly 70 percent of Oklahoma County's premature deaths are largely preventable, and the county spends about $920 million every year to treat chronic disease. In September 2011, Oklahoma City was awarded a $3.5 million CTG. Using a portion of those funds, along with additional outside resources, the Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD) created the "My Heart, My Health, My Family" program to provide prevention programs and services, specifically focused on cardiovascular disease. The CTG money will also support expanded walking and biking trails, a push to help schools offer healthy menu options and a physical education coordinator for city schools.
- Operation UNITE (Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education) in Kentucky received a capacity-building CTG to help support this program which has delivered important results for a holistic, community-based approach to address substance abuse. UNITE was created a decade ago, however the CTG will help expand its work to support public health efforts aimed at reducing chronic diseases, promoting healthier lifestyles, reducing health disparities and controlling health care spending, and will serve 119 of the state's 120 counties. UNITE works to rid communities of illegal drug use and misuse of prescription drugs by coordinating treatment, providing support to families and friends and educating the public about the dangers of drug abuse.
- The West Virginia Department of Health is using CTG support to help local health departments in every county in the state implement targeted initiatives including: safe places in communities to work and play, Farm-to-School Initiatives to improve nutrition in school settings, Child and Day Care Center Nutrition Programs to educate and empower children to choose healthy lifestyles through physical activity and healthy food choices, and community coordinated care systems that link and build referral networks between the clinical system and community-based lifestyle programs so people can manage their health.
The law has ensured:
- Every new health plan, beginning in 2010, must include coverage of evidence-based, effective preventive services, such as screenings for type 2 diabetes, immunizations and mammograms, without co-pays;
- Seniors on Medicare receive many preventive services, starting January 1, 2011,with no co-payments–these services include annual wellness visits, cervical cancer screening, diabetes screening, mammograms and important immunizations such as for the flu and pneumonia; and
- The Prevention and Public Health Fund will invest $12.5 billion over 10 years (FY2013-FY2022) for locally-determined, evidence-based community prevention programs and support for public health job creation and training programs. The Fund will ensure a coordinated, comprehensive, sustainable and accountable approach to improving the nation's health outcomes through the most effective prevention and public health programs.
"The ACA began a new era for public health – public health is no longer separated from the rest of the health care system. The ACA supports common-sense community approaches focused on connecting the care people receive in the doctor's office with opportunities to stay healthier beyond the doctor's office, where we all live, learn, work and play," Levi added.
Trust for America's Health is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to saving lives by protecting the health of every community and working to make disease prevention a national priority. For more information, visit www.healthyamericans.org.
SOURCE Trust for America's Health