HHS is awarding nearly $100 million in Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act grants to support public health and prevention efforts in states and local communities.
The funds will support a wide berth of public health initiatives, from tackling substance abuse and mental health issues, to tobacco-cessation hot lines, HIV testing and obesity treatment and prevention, with some money thrown in to jumpstart health information technology measures.
“From providing tools to help people stop smoking to new HIV testing and prevention programs to a critical investment in mental health, these Affordable Care Act prevention grants will help people get what they need to stay healthy and live longer,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a written statement.
The bulk of these funds—$75 million—will go toward state and local public health programs supported through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
More than $26 million of the CDC funds will be used to increase epidemiology, lab and health information systems capacity at health departments in all 50 states, two territories and the six largest metro areas.
The awards will assist public health departments in participating in “meaningful use” of electronic health records through the implementation of electronic lab-based reporting according to national standards, HHS said. Another $21.6 million in CDC funds will be used to promote HIV/AIDS prevention and testing.
Additional funds will be awarded to support state and community substance abuse and mental health programs, and obesity prevention.