WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than 170 public health organizations issued a letter today to Congressional Conferees urging them to maintain the House-passed level of funding for prevention and wellness programs in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009. The final U.S. Senate version of the bill removed all funding for these programs.
The funding in the House stimulus could directly save or create more than 20,000 public health jobs. As states, local governments, and communities are hit with economic hard times, they have already laid off more than 11,000 public health workers and left over 10,000 jobs vacant, and at least as many layoffs are expected in the coming year. In addition, by funding the expansion of targeted, effective community-based disease prevention programs, additional new jobs will be created directly in the communities they are serving. The funding would support existing programs, where mechanisms are in place to get the money out quickly so it can have an immediate impact on the economy.
"Thousands of public health jobs hang in the balance," said Jeff Levi, Ph.D., Executive Director of Trust for America's Health (TFAH). "These public health workers are the ones we rely on to hold the community health safety net in place as the number of unemployed, uninsured, and underinsured Americans is growing by the day."
"We should also remember that the funding for public health goes way beyond protecting and creating jobs. It's also a down payment toward reducing health care costs over the long term, keeping Americans healthier and more productive. Containing health care costs is one of the most important factors for improving the U.S. economy. Supporting prevention and wellness is one of the smartest investments we could be making, and we hope Congress will do the right thing and maintain this funding in the final bill," Levi continued.
The full text of the letter supported by more than 174 public health groups is below:
February 10, 2009
Our 174 organizations express our gratitude and support for the robust public health provisions included in the House-passed version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and our extreme disappointment over the $5.8 billion in prevention and wellness funding stripped from the Senate bill. We urge you to maintain the House-passed level of $3 billion for prevention and wellness in the final enacted version of the bill.
As you know, the public health system is experiencing severe workforce shortages. State and local health departments lost over 11,000 jobs last year. The Prevention and Wellness Fund included in the House bill would help to restore lost jobs and prevent a projected additional 10,000 job vacancies from occurring next year in health departments.
During an economic downturn, it is important to have a strong safety net to support individuals who are losing their health coverage. As unemployment rates soar, unemployed workers and their families turn to state and local health departments and community-based organizations for basic health services, like immunizations and preventive services that are provided free of charge to those who cannot afford them. Toward that end, we hope that you will consider an investment in wellness and prevention as a means of restoring and creating jobs, as well as offering assistance to struggling families.
The recovery and reinvestment legislation affords the opportunity to stimulate the economy and strengthen our investment in health infrastructure and workforce while building stronger, healthier communities. This investment can also help stave off the onset of many costly chronic diseases and avoid the need for treatment of expensive complications of disease. Controlling health care costs will be critical to getting the country's economy back on track. Fundamental health care reform, particularly reform that focuses on ways to keep Americans healthier, must be part of solving our current financial crisis. Funding for public health and disease prevention in the stimulus bill is a down payment toward reducing health care costs over the long term.
Our nation needs a healthy and productive population to meet the challenges of the future, and rebound from these difficult times. An investment in public health will put us on a preferred path of prevention and wellness. To prevent further job loss in state and local health departments, stimulate job creation in the health field, and fully capitalize on the opportunity to promote health, we ask that you include at least $3 billion for prevention and wellness in the final version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Active Transportation Alliance (IL) Advocates for Better Children's Diets AHIA - NAIFA Health & Employee Benefits AIDS Action Council ALERT Health, Inc. Alzheimer's Foundation of America American Council on Exercise American School Health Association America Walks American Academy of Nursing American Academy of Pediatrics American Academy of Physician Assistants American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance American Association for Health Education American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy American Association of Occupational Health Nurses American Association on Health and Disability American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network American College of Preventive Medicine American College of Sports Medicine American Diabetes Association American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees American Heart Association American Lung Association American Occupational Therapy Association American Osteopathic Association American Psychiatric Association American Psychological Association American Physical Therapy Association American Public Health Association American School Health Association American Social Health Association American Society of Nephrology American Thoracic Society Amputee Coalition of America Arthritis Foundation Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association Association for Prevention Teaching and Research Association of Immunization Managers Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs Association of Public Health Laboratories Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors Association of State and Territorial Directors of Nursing Association of State and Territorial Health Officials Association of University Centers on Disabilities Autism Society of America Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law Brain Injury Association of America Breathe California California Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors California Certification Board of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors California Foundation for the Advancement of Addiction Professionals Campaign for Public Health Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Campaign to End Obesity Center for Biosecurity, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy Center for Science in the Public Interest Children's Dental Health Project CityMatCH Coalition for Health Services Research Coalition for Public Health Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service Community Health Councils Community Health Partnership: Oregon's Public Health Institute Community Partners for Better Health (NV) Defeat Diabetes Foundation Directors of Health Promotion and Education DMAA: The Care Continuum Alliance Emergency Nurses Association Evergreen State Amateur Athletic Council (WA) Every Child By Two Faces and Voices of Recovery FamilyCook Productions Fall Prevention Center of Excellence First Focus Friends of NCHS Friends of SAMHSA Fund a Nurse, Inc GlaxoSmithKline Health Education Network of Delaware Healthcare Consortium Healthcare Leadership Council Healthy Homes Collaborative Hep C Connection Hepatitis B Foundation Hepatitis C Association Hepatitis Foundation International High Sierra Area Health Education Center HIV Medicine Association Home Safety Council Infectious Diseases Society of America Institute of Public Health - Georgia State University International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association March of Dimes Foundation National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems National Association for Sport and Physical Education National Association of Chronic Disease Directors National Association of County and City Health Officials National Association of Neonatal Nurses National Association of People with AIDS National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors National Association of State EMS Officials National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity National Coalition of STD Directors National Council on Aging National Disease Clusters Alliance National Environmental Health Association National Health Council National Hispanic Medical Association National Hispanic Health Foundation National Kidney Foundation National Medical Association National Minority AIDS Council National Nurses Advisory Council National Nursing Centers Consortium National Nursing Network Organization National PTA National REACH Coalition for the Elimination of Health Disparities National Recreation and Park Association National Sleep Foundation National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable National WIC Association Nemours New Mexico Hepatitis C Alliance New York State Nutrition Council North Shore Health Project (MA) Northwest Federation of Community Organizations OraSure Technologies Partners for a Healthy Nevada Partnership for Prevention Planned Parenthood Federation of America Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. Prevention Institute Public Health Foundation Public Health Institute Public Health-Seattle & King County (WA) Red River Democrats Research!America Researchers against Inactivity-related Disorders RWJF Center for Health Policy Safe Routes to School National Partnership Save the Children Seattle Sports Commission Service Employees International Union Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. Shaping America's Health Snohomish Health District Society for Advancement of Violence and Injury Control Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America Society for Public Health Education Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association Sports4Kids State and Territorial Injury Prevention Directors Association Strategic Health Policy International, Inc. The AIDS Institute The Association of Washington Public Hospital Districts The Healthcare Consortium, Inc (Hudson, NY) The National TB Controllers Association The New York Academy of Medicine The Seniors Coalition The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America The YBH Project, Inc. Trust for America's Health UCHAPS: Urban Coalition for HIV/AIDS Prevention Services United Fresh Produce Association U.S. PIRG Visiting Nurse Associations of America Washington Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity Washington Health Foundation - Healthiest State in the Nation Campaign Women's Sports Foundation YMCA of the USA
|SOURCE Trust for America's Health|
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