Lessons From Massachusetts' Trust Fund for Health

Analyzing the public health and prevention components of Massachusetts 2012 cost-containment legislation

Dates of Project: April 2013 to November 2013

Description: In 2012, the Massachusetts legislature created a first-in-the-nation trust fund to support health-promotion and disease-prevention activities at the community level. A team at Northeastern University led by John Auerbach, MBA, developed a white paper examining the process that led to passage of the trust fund law and identifying preliminary lessons that other states and policymakers could learn from the Massachusetts experience.

Key Results

In December 2013 Northeastern University’s Institute on Urban Health Research and Practice issued a 29-page white paper entitled, The Massachusetts Prevention and Wellness Trust: An Innovative Approach to Prevention as a Component of Health Care Reform.

The paper, which was published on the Institute website, explains the purpose and main provisions of the trust fund law, profiles key individuals and groups responsible for passage, and outlines what other states can learn from Massachusetts about how to successfully establish a prevention trust fund.

The lessons include the following:

  • “Champions are needed who believe in the rightness of this approach, despite long odds, low expectations in public health, and opposition from groups opposed to any redistribution of funds.”
  • Advocates “should be able to clearly convey a strong message about what is being spent on preventable health conditions and what kind of savings can result from increased total population health investments to prevent as well as manage chronic disease and other avoidable health problems.”

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Mass. provides lessons from creation of $60million trust fund for health/wellness activities at local level