Community Health Funds (CHFs) are a new way to make communities healthier while reducing costs and supporting collaboration. A new project is asking communities to share and spread lessons from CHF and other health partnership experiences.
Over 80,000 children in Massachusetts suffer from asthma which, when left unmanaged, can dramatically impact overall health, limit school attendance and physical activity. In many cases, uncontrolled asthma symptoms lead to costly emergency room visits. Treating this problem on a large scale will take more than inhalers—it requires coordinated community action. Through the Massachusetts Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund (PWTF), Lynn, Worcester, Holyoke, and other cities have formed community-based partnerships to address several chronic conditions, including childhood asthma. Thanks to these efforts, families receive education, care management and home visits to better manage childhood asthma and ultimately improve their daily lives.
Since underlying social, economic, and environmental factors influence community health issues, the solutions to these issues need a cross-sector approach. But this is sometimes challenging since stakeholders can lack funding and incentives to collaborate.
PWTF was created to address this dilemma. It is a Community Health Fund (CHF)—a financial trust to address local health priorities and promote prevention. CHFs have emerged as an innovative approach for coordinating strategy and shared, flexible funding that supports community stakeholders to work together.