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New Affordable Care Act initiative helps create healthier communities, fight chronic disease

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today grants to 61 states and communities with over 120 million residents to fight chronic disease, which is the leading cause of death in Americans. Created by the Affordable Care Act, Community Transformation Grants help states and communities tackle the root causes of chronic disease such as smoking, poor diet and lack of physical activity. Grantees will use these funds, which total more than $103 million, to transform where their residents live, work, play, and go to school so that they can lead healthier, more productive lives.

Chronic diseases are responsible for 75 percent of health care costs in the United States. The root causes of chronic disease are often related to economic, social, and physical factors such as tobacco use or a lack of places to exercise. The Community Transformation Grants awarded today will help states and communities address these challenges by supporting prevention programs proven to make a positive impact on health.

"Good health begins at home and in our own communities. The Affordable Care Act is empowering Americans across the country to truly transform their communities by investing in programs that make us all healthier," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "These grants will offer communities the opportunity to both improve Americans' health and control health care spending by avoiding costly, chronic diseases in the first place."

All grantees will work to address the following priority areas: 1) tobacco-free living; 2) active living and healthy eating; and 3) quality clinical and other preventive services, specifically prevention and control of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Grantees may also focus on creating healthy and safe environments. Grantees will have an additional focus on reducing health disparities since, in addition to lacking access to the health care they need, many lower-income Americans, racial and ethnic minorities, and other underserved populations often have higher rates of disease.

Grantee activities include:
 

  • Implementation - Thirty-five grantees will implement proven interventions to help improve health and wellness. Funding amounts range from $500,000 to $10 million depending on population size and scope of project.
  • Capacity Building - Twenty-six grantees will work to build capacity by laying a solid foundation for sustainable community prevention efforts. Funding amounts range from $147,000 to $500,000 depending on population size and scope of project.

Awards are distributed among state and local government agencies, tribes and territories, and non-profit organizations. Awards went to grantees in 36 states, including seven tribal organizations and one territory. These grants are expected to run for five years.

"Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes are taking a devastating toll on America's health," said Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which will administer the grants. "This initiative will build on successful programs that have helped people lead healthier lives and will enable communities and states to improve the healthy choices for their residents."

Earlier this month, HHS announced awards to seven national networks of community-based organizations that will help support, disseminate, and amplify the work done in Community Transformation Grant states and communities. The networks will engage community members in identifying solutions to improve health using community-based prevention strategies that work and can be models for other locations.

The Community Transformation Grants are part of a broader effort by the Obama Administration to address 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 and HHS' Communities Putting Prevention to Work program. They will further amplify the efforts of Million Hearts, an initiative announced earlier this month by HHS to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes in the next five years. The Prevention and Public Health Fund, as part of the Affordable Care Act, helps support these grants and other initiatives designed to provide States and communities the resources they need to promote healthy living.

For more information about how the Prevention and Public Health Fund is helping promote prevention in every state, visit www.HealthCare.gov/news/factsheets/prevention02092011a.html


To learn more about the Community Transformation Grant program, including a complete list of the 61 funded states and communities and the work being done by each grantee, visit www.cdc.gov/communitytransformation

For an overview fact sheet about the Community Transformation Grant program, visit: http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2011/09/community09272011a.html

For more information about how the Community Transformation Grant program is addressing health disparities, visit:

http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2011/09/disparities09272011a.html
 

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