Established by the legislature in 2012 as part of Chapter 224, the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund (PWTF) is an integral part of the state’s multifaceted approach to healthcare transformation. PWTF is made up of the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund Grantee Program made up of nine partnerships, and Massachusetts Working on Wellness. Together, these two programs have expanded disease prevention and wellness efforts across the state, reaching over 372,000 people in the Commonwealth.
By directing healthcare funding into community disease prevention, the legislature created a new opportunity for attaining the dual goals of Chapter 224: improving health and reducing spending. In addition, PWTF focuses on:
- reducing rates of the most prevalent and preventable health conditions;
- increasing healthy behaviors;
- increasing the adoption of workplace-based wellness or health management programs that result in positive returns on investment for employees and employers;
- addressing health disparities; and
- developing a stronger evidence-base of effective prevention programming.
Healthcare spending in Massachusetts is unsustainable. In 2015, Massachusetts spent $57 billion on healthcare. While healthcare spending slowed, it stayed above the state’s benchmark of 3.6% yearly increase. Burdensome healthcare spending diverts resources from public health, early childhood education and care, and mental health. Meanwhile, studies show that clinical services account for approximately 20% of overall health while other factors including individual health behaviors, a person’s income, and physical environment account for the other 80%. PWTF provides a model for shifting spending to activities that help maintain or improve the health of citizens rather than spending on costly “sick care.”