Section 2G: Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund
Section 2G. (a) There shall be established and set upon the books of the commonwealth a separate fund to be known as the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund to be expended, without further appropriation, by the department of public health. The fund shall consist of revenues collected by the commonwealth including: (1) any revenue from appropriations or other monies authorized by the general court and specifically designated to be credited to the fund; (2) any fines and penalties allocated to the fund under the General Laws; (3) any funds from public and private sources such as gifts, grants and donations to further community-based prevention activities; (4) any interest earned on such revenues; and (5) any funds provided from other sources.
The commissioner of public health, as trustee, shall administer the fund. The commissioner, in consultation with the Prevention and Wellness Advisory Board established under section 2H, shall make expenditures from the fund consistent with subsections (d) and (e) ; provided, that not more than 15 per cent of the amounts held in the fund in any 1 year shall be used by the department for the combined cost of program administration, technical assistance to grantees or program evaluation.
(b) Revenues deposited in the fund that are unexpended at the end of the fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund and shall be available for expenditure in the following fiscal year.
(c) All expenditures from the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund shall support the state's efforts to meet the health care cost growth benchmark established in section 9 of chapter 6D and any activities funded by the Healthcare Payment Reform Fund and 1 or more of the following purposes: (1) reduce rates of the most prevalent and preventable health conditions, including substance abuse; (2) increase healthy behaviors; (3) increase the adoption of workplace-based wellness or health management programs that result in positive returns on investment for employees and employers; (4) address health disparities; or (5) develop a stronger evidence-base of effective prevention programming.
(d) The commissioner shall annually award not less than 75 per cent of the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund through a competitive grant process to municipalities, community-based organizations, health care providers, regional-planning agencies, and health plans that apply for the implementation, evaluation and dissemination of evidence-based community preventive health activities. To be eligible to receive a grant under this subsection, a recipient shall be: (1) a municipality or group of municipalities working in collaboration; (2) a community-based organization working in collaboration with 1 or more municipalities; (3) a health care provider or a health plan working in collaboration with 1 or more municipalities and a community-based organization; or (4) a regional planning agency. Expenditures from the fund for such purposes shall supplement and not replace existing local, state, private or federal public health-related funding; or a community-based organization or group of community-based organizations working in collaboration.
(e) A grant proposal submitted under subsection (d) shall include, but not be limited to: (1) a plan that defines specific goals for the reduction in preventable health conditions and health care costs over a multi-year period; (2) the evidence-based programs the applicant shall use to meet the goals; (3) a budget necessary to implement the plan, including a detailed description of any funding or in-kind contributions the applicant or applicants will be providing in support of the proposal; (4) any other private funding or private sector participation the applicant anticipates in support of the proposal; (5) a commitment to include women, racial and ethnic minorities and low income individuals; and (6) the anticipated number of individuals that would be affected by implementation of the plan.
Priority may be given to proposals in a geographic region of the state with a higher than average prevalence of preventable health conditions, as determined by the commissioner of public health, in consultation with the Prevention and Wellness Advisory Board. If no proposals were offered in areas of the state with particular need, the department shall ask for a specific request for proposal for that specific region. If the commissioner determines that no suitable proposals have been received, such that the specific needs remain unmet, the department may work directly with municipalities or community-based organizations to develop grant proposals.
The department of public health shall, in consultation with the Prevention and Wellness Advisory Board, develop guidelines for an annual review of the progress being made by each grantee. Each grantee shall participate in any evaluation or accountability process implemented or authorized by the department.
(f) The commissioner of public health may annually expend not more than 10 per cent of the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund to support the increased adoption of workplace-based wellness or health management programming. The department of public health shall expend such funds for activities including, but not limited to: (1) developing and distributing informational tool-kits for employers, including a model wellness guide developed by the department; (2) providing technical assistance to employers implementing wellness programs; (3) hosting informational forums for employers; (4) promoting awareness of wellness tax credits provided through the state and federal government, including the wellness subsidy provided by the commonwealth health connector authority; (5) public information campaigns that quantify the importance of healthy lifestyles, disease prevention, care management and health promotion programs; and (6) providing stipends or grants to employers for the implementation and administration of workplace wellness programs in an amount up to 50 per cent of the costs associated with implementing the plan, subject to a cap as established by the commissioner based on available funds; provided, however, that any grants offered in connection with a workplace wellness program eligible for a tax credit under section 6N of chapter 62 and section 38FF of chapter 63 shall not, in combination with such tax credit, exceed 50 per cent of the costs associated with implementing the plan.
The department of public health shall develop guidelines to annually review progress toward increasing the adoption of workplace-based wellness or health management programming.
(g) The department of public health shall, annually on or before January 31, report on expenditures from the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund. The report shall include, but not be limited to: (1) the revenue credited to the fund; (2) the amount of fund expenditures attributable to the administrative costs of the department of public health; (3) an itemized list of the funds expended through the competitive grant process and a description of the grantee activities; (4) the results of the evaluation of the effectiveness of the activities funded through grants; and (5) an itemized list of expenditures used to support workplace-based wellness or health management programs. The report shall be provided to the chairpersons of the house and senate committees on ways and means and the joint committee on public health and shall be posted on the department of public health's website.
(h) The department of public health shall, under the advice and guidance of the Prevention and Wellness Advisory Board, annually report on its strategy for administration and allocation of the fund, including relevant evaluation criteria. The report shall set forth the rationale for such strategy, including, but not limited to: (1) a list of the most prevalent preventable health conditions in the commonwealth, including health disparities experienced by populations based on race, ethnicity, gender, disability status, sexual orientation or socio-economic status; (2) a list of the most costly preventable health conditions in the commonwealth; (3) a list of evidence-based or promising community-based programs related to the conditions identified in clauses (1) and (2); and (4) a list of evidence-based workplace wellness programs or health management programs related to the conditions in clauses (1) and (2). The report shall recommend specific areas of focus for allocation of funds. If appropriate, the report shall reference goals and best practices established by the National Prevention and Public Health Promotion Council and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including, but not limited to the national prevention strategy, the healthy people report and the community prevention guide.
(i) The department of public health shall promulgate regulations necessary to carry out this section.