From State House News Service
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TOP OF THE HILL
Petty among nine mayors leading call to extend state health fund that was connected to Mosaic Cultural Complex
Worcester’s Joseph M. Petty is among the mayors of nine Massachusetts cities leading more than 200 civic and health officials, including state Sen. Harriette M. Chandler, who urged lawmakers last week to reauthorize a state trust fund aimed at preventing chronic health conditions like diabetes, asthma and hypertension.
The Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund was established as part of a 2012 health care cost containment law, and its funding is slated to expire in June 2017. That’s months away, but work on the fiscal 2018 budget will be under way throughout the fall, leading up to the release of Gov. Charlie Baker’s budget proposal in January.
The original funding, $60 million over four years, came from an assessment on health insurers and large hospital systems.
“This program is changing the way we think about wellness. We need to realize that health is not simply the absence of illness,” Petty told the Sun in an email late Friday. “This program is about taking healthcare out of the traditional clinical setting and changing behavior patterns in our most vulnerable populations. Through the work of our community partners we are trying to care for the well-being of the entire person not just addressing individual symptoms as they arise.”
In a letter delivered to legislative leaders Oct. 27, the representatives of municipalities, health associations, nonprofits and other organizations described the fund as an “essential complement to ongoing health care transformation efforts,” and say those efforts cannot be successful without focusing on the underlying causes of poor health.