Just when we thought the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) was going to be OK because of the downfall of the ACA repeal efforts, along comes the “Champions Act” which would cut this important public health fund by 57%.

The “Community Health & Medical Professionals Improve Our Nation Act” of 2017, or CHAMPION Act, would do some good things like support “330” grant funding for Community Health Centers, continue to fund the National Health Service Corps and Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education. 

But, the legislation pays for the extension by cutting the Prevention & Public Health Fund by 57% (a cut of $6.35B over the next 10 years). 

The ACA established the Fund to establish a framework for prevention, wellness, and public health initiatives to reduce long-term health costs. It focuses on preventing expensive chronic medical conditions by providing expanded and sustained national investment in public health programs that improve health and restrain the rate of growth in health care costs.

This investment in public health infrastructure is evidence-based. Research suggests that funding for community-based public health has a 5.6 to 1 return on investment. In other words, every dollar invested in evidence-based prevention programs results in a $5.6 in savings in overall health care costs.

Arizona state and county public health programs have received more than $52.6M via the Fund since 2010. This $9.3 million annual investment is at work in Arizona, providing critical resources that support evidence-based, community prevention activities tailored to meet community health needs and preferences. Evidence-based investments in Arizona include:

  • Building immunization services to prevent serious infectious disease outbreaks;

  • Prescription painkiller (opioid) and heroin use prevention;

  • Health security funds for bioterrorism, disease outbreaks, and disasters;

  • Promoting better detection and response to disease threats;

  • Lead poisoning prevention;

  • Reducing tobacco use; and

  • Reducing diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Here’s a report we wrote with the Vitalyst Health Foundation that details the public health programming that’s at risk again.

We’ll continue to track this bill and issue an Action Alert when the time is right.