HHS awards $137 million to states to boost prevention and public health
Affordable Care Act funds will create jobs and target health improvement, local capacity building
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today awarded up to $137 million, partly supported by the Affordable Care Act, to states to strengthen the public health infrastructure and provide jobs in core areas of public health. Awarded in nearly every state, the grants enhance state, tribal, local and territorial efforts to provide tobacco cessation services, strengthen public health laboratory and immunization services, prevent healthcare-associated infections, and provide comprehensive substance abuse prevention and treatment.
“More than ever, it is important to help states fight disease and protect public health,” said Secretary Sebelius. “These awards are an important investment and will enable states and communities to help Americans quit smoking, get immunized and prevent disease and illness before they start.”
The grants will fund key state and local public health programs supported through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Most of these grant dollars come from the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the Affordable Care Act. Additional SAMHSA dollars supplement this investment.
“CDC supports state and local public health departments which are key to keeping America safe from threats to health, safety, and security from this country or anywhere in the world,” said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. “With these funds, CDC is strengthening our ability to prevent and combat diseases and keep Americans safe against expensive and dangerous health threats.”
“These funds will allow us to bolster public health services to communities and build on successful programs that have helped people lead healthier lives. Today’s investments will help us prevent future health care costs from problems such as tobacco-related illness and substance abuse,” said Pamela Hyde, administrator of SAMHSA.
The awards include:
• $1 million to further enhance the nations’ public health laboratories by hiring and preparing scientists for careers in public health laboratories, providing training for scientists, and supporting public health initiatives related to infectious disease research.
• Nearly $5 million to help states and territories enhance and expand the national network of tobacco cessation quitlines to increase the number of tobacco users who quit. Quitlines are the toll-free numbers people can call to obtain smoking cessation treatments and services.
• More than $42 million to support: improvements to the Immunization Information Systems (registries) and other immunization information technologies; development of systems to improve billing for immunization services; planning and implementation of adult immunization programs; enhancement of vaccination capacity located in schools; and evaluations of the impact on disease of recent vaccine recommendations for children and adolescents.
• $2.6 million to the Emerging Infections Programs around the country to continue improvement in disease monitoring, professional development and training, information technology development, and laboratory capacity.
• $9.2 million to eight national non-profit professional public health organizations to assist state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments in adopting effective practices that strengthen their core public health systems and service delivery. They will also enhance the workforce by providing jobs in critical disciplines of epidemiology and informatics, thus attracting new talent to public health.
• $1.5 million to evaluate and prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia to reduce cases of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections and protect Americans from healthcare-associated infectious diseases.
• Up to $75 million to fund nine Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral and Treatment programs over the next five years. These programs will allow communities throughout the nation to provide more comprehensive substance abuse screening, secondary prevention, early intervention and referrals to treatment for people at higher risk for substance abuse. The actual award amounts may vary, depending on the availability of funds and the performance of the grantees.
Today’s announcement is another part of the Obama Administration’s broader effort to improve the health and well-being of our communities through initiatives such as the President’s Childhood Obesity Task Force, the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign, the National Quality Strategy, and the National Prevention Strategy. Similar to the Obama Administration’s Partnership for Patients which aims to make hospitals safer, more reliable and less costly, today’s announcement is also an important step in improving the quality of health care for all Americans.
A full list of grantees is available at: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2011pres/08/state_prevention_grants.html.
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