HHS boosts prevention with $750M investment

The Department of Health and Human Services will invest $750 million in disease prevention and wellness, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced yesterday. The funds will come through the Prevention and Public Health Fund established by the new healthcare law.

"This investment is going to build on the prevention work already under way to help make sure that we are working effectively across the federal government as well as with private groups and state and local governments to help Americans live longer, healthier lives," Sebelius said in a statement.

The fund will delegate $298 million to promote health and wellness in local communities through efforts to reduce tobacco use, obesity and heart disease, while $182 million will go to clinical prevention to improve access to preventive care and increase awareness of prevention benefits under the healthcare law.

Public health infrastructure will get $137 million to help state and local health departments invest in information technology and train public health workers to detect and respond to infectious disease outbreaks and other threats.

The fund also will use $133 million to research and track data to monitor how the Affordable Care Act effects Americans' health, as well as identify and distribute evidence-based recommendations on public health challenges.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) praised the agency's commitment to prevention as a great way to reduce costs and improve public health. "This funding will allow communities around the country to take an active role in promoting wellness and healthy living, and help prevent common causes of chronic diseases that burden our healthcare system and threaten the quality of people's lives," the Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee said in a statement.

Just last month, Harkin re-introduced the Healthier Lifestyles and Prevention America Act, a comprehensive wellness initiative designed to give citizens access to better preventive care and consumer information to encourage healthier lifestyles.

For more:
- read the HHS press release
- here's Sen. Harkin's statement
- learn more about the FY 2011 Prevention and Public Health Fund efforts