Health Reform and Healthy Start

Prevention and Public Health Fund — The health care reform law includes $500 million in fiscal year 2010 for a Prevention and Public Health Fund.  This funding must be spent on prevention and wellness programs authorized by the Public Health Service Act, such as Healthy Start.  NHSA is asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to use a portion of this funding to strengthen existing Healthy Start programs and to expand Healthy Start into areas that are eligible for funding but currently unfunded.  The Fund will continue to grow each year, eventually reaching $2 billion in fiscal year 2014 and each year thereafter.

Home Visiting — The new law also provides $100 million in fiscal year 2010 for states to implement evidence-based maternal, infant and early childhood home visitation programs.  Grantees are required to measure improvement in maternal and child health, childhood injury prevention, school readiness and achievement, crime or domestic violence, family economic self-sufficiency and coordination with community resources. The first step in this progress will be for states to complete a needs assessment to identify communities that have few quality home visitation program and are at risk for poor maternal and child health outcomes. NHSA encourages Healthy Start projects to contact their state MCH office and learn how the state is planning to conduct the needs assessment.

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