For Immediate Release
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Public health, prevention are key to success of health reform, says new APHA report

Public health leaders to advance implementation of

Affordable Care Act at June 23-25 meeting in Chicago

Washington, D.C., June 15, 2011 — Public health and prevention must remain central to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act if health reform is to succeed, says a new report from the American Public Health Association.

“If we hope to realize the laudable goals of the Affordable Care Act — expanding access to care, improving quality of care, controlling health costs, and improving and protecting the health of the American people — then we must safeguard the law’s public health and prevention provisions and ensure their timely implementation,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director of APHA. “We have a real opportunity to not only put in place comprehensive health insurance reforms, but to transform our communities, reduce our growing chronic disease burden and achieve wellness. The experiences of public health professionals along with their longtime ties to the communities they serve are critical to realizing the promise of health reform.”

The paper, Reforming Our Nation’s Health System: Lessons for the Public Health Community, covers the proceedings of a November 2010 meeting where public health leaders explored the implications of the new law for public health programs and priorities, and spells out recommendations for ensuring that the law stays true to its intentions.

Among its recommendations, the report urges public health professionals to advocate and educate on behalf of the law, demonstrate the value of public health and prevention programs in improving health outcomes and reducing costs, create innovative public-private partnerships, seize funding opportunities to improve community health and ensure that public health has a voice in insurance reforms.

Public health leaders will again meet to discuss health reform and the law’s implementation next week in Chicago, exactly 15 months following its enactment. Hundreds of public health administrators, practitioners and experts will attend the APHA Midyear Meeting: Implementing Health Reform — A Public Health Approach.

For more about the report, visit http://www.apha.org/advocacy/reports/reports/. For more about the APHA Midyear Meeting, visit http://www.apha.org/Midyear/.

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Founded in 1872, the APHA is the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. The association aims to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health providers, educators, environmentalists, policy-makers and health officials at all levels working both within and outside governmental organizations and educational institutions. More information is available at www.apha.org.