Cape Legislators Vow to Fight Prevention Program Cuts

A Cape Cod Times article written on August 2nd discusses the importance of continuing The Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund, and the Wellness and Prevention Program, a program whose goals are personal to Representative Crocker, since his wife has Type 1 diabetes and his mother has had a series of strokes.

Cape Legislators Vow to Fight Prevention Program Cuts

Cape Cod Times

Cynthia McCormick

August 2, 2017

Patients, advocates say fund trims health care costs.

WEST BARNSTABLE — State legislators vowed Wednesday to fight for continued funding for a prevention program that advocates say is saving lives while trimming health care costs.

The Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund, established in 2012, “is a first-in-the-nation program,” state Sen. Julian Cyr, D-Truro, said.

The trust has funded nine community-based partnerships in Massachusetts, including the Barnstable Prevention Partnership, coordinated by Barnstable County Human Services.

Since its inception the program has funded home blood-pressure monitoring programs, diabetes education programs and home visits to conduct safety assessments to prevent elderly people from falling, among other things.

Health advocates at a press conference Wednesday morning at the YMCA of Cape Cod said the focus on hypertension, diabetes and fall prevention has helped Cape Codders stay healthy and out of the hospital.

But the $4.2 million in funding for the program ended June 30, and no new money was reauthorized in the state budget.

State Rep. Randy Hunt, R-Sandwich, said he would work to get money for the reauthorization because prevention was key to establishing some control over health care costs.

A man with diabetes and a woman with hypertension spoke about how the prevention and wellness programs have helped them with their own health battles.

Craig Foster, of Mashpee, said Patricia Parker, complex-care nurse with the Community Health Center of Cape Cod — one of the partners in the wellness initiative — helped him understand his glucose numbers and lose weight after he was unexpectedly diagnosed with diabetes.

“She was on the phone with me helping me figure out what was going on,” Foster said. “Without her I have no idea where I’d be right now.”

Frances Delgado, also of Mashpee, said she initially resisted when her doctor at the Community Health Center of Cape Cod instructed her to attend a Healthy Living workshop after she was diagnosed with hypertension.

“I didn’t want to go,” Delgado said. She said she just wanted to take pills and “get over it.”

But after attending workshops with Gina Battles of Healthy Living Cape Cod and designing her own plan for success, Delgado said she was so thrilled with the program she asked to sign up to be a facilitator.

“I knew I wanted to help others to get to where I am,” Delgado said. “We just have to keep it going. It works.”

If no new money is forthcoming by the end of the year, people who knit together referrals for the prevention and wellness programs will lose their jobs, Cyr said.

Last week he said 29 people could lose their jobs. The wellness and prevention money pays for programs and activities in locations including the Duffy Health Center and Harbor Community Health Center, both in Hyannis, and the YMCA of Cape Cod in West Barnstable.

“We have a proven success here,” said state Rep. William L. Crocker Jr., who also attended the press conference.

He said the goals of the wellness and prevention program were personal to him, since his wife has Type 1 diabetes and his mother has had a series of strokes.

“This train is rolling,” said Crocker, who said he was working to include funding in a supplemental budget. “Let’s continue to keep it rolling.”

Read the article here.