House Bill No. 485

Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________

A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act authorizing the department of public health and human services to make grants to communities for funding community-based wellness programs; providing findings and a purpose for the grants; providing conditions and limitations on the grants; and providing a contingent effective date."

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

NEW SECTION. Section 1.  Findings and purpose. (1) The legislature finds that the traditional focus of the health care industry and of health care professionals has been on the curing of acute and chronic diseases. The legislature finds also that much of the cause of the recent increases in the cost of health care has been as a result of this focus and the technology needed for curing acute and chronic diseases. An important method of controlling disease and limiting costs that has been overlooked as a result of this focus is the prevention of disease through wellness programs that focus on healthy life styles and healthy choices by individuals. The legislature finds that by encouraging Montanans to adopt healthy lifestyles, Montanans could enjoy significantly lower costs of health care, increase the quality of their lives, and increase the productivity of their lives.

(2) The purpose of [section 2] is to encourage Montanans to take individual responsibility for their lifestyle choices and to make healthy lifestyle choices by providing a monetary incentive in the form of reimbursement for some of the costs of positive health choices in the form of grants to communities for wellness projects determined by the department of public health and human services to be worthy investments in healthy lifestyles for Montanans.

NEW SECTION. Section 2. Grants to be awarded by department -- grant criteria. The department of public health and human services may award grants to communities consisting of neighborhoods, cities, townships, counties, or regions of the state, for the purposes provided in [section 1]. Grants awarded by the department:

(1) must be based upon a process of requests for proposals advertised by the department;

(2) must be made in a minimum amount of $4,000 and a maximum amount of $10,000 for each grant;

(3) must fund an equal number of proposals in small, medium, and large communities, using the following limitations of community size:

(a) small community, less than 5,000 individuals;

(b) medium-sized community, 5,000 individuals or more but less than 30,000 individuals; and

(c) large community, 30,000 individuals or more;

(4) may be awarded only to a consortium of leaders in each community who represent at least five established community organizations that are representative of community interests in such areas as health and social service, local business, law enforcement and safety, schools, and public officials;

(5) may be awarded only to communities that provide an equal amount of matching contributions in cash or in-kind;

(6) may be used only to develop community-based initiatives that are responsive to locally defined health issues that are a priority in the community;

(7) may be awarded for the purposes of planning methods to achieve grant project objectives or for implementation of those objectives; and

(8) may be divided into grants for the attainment of short-term objectives and for the attainment of long-term objectives.

NEW SECTION. Section 3.  Contingent effective date. [This act] is effective July 1, 1997, only if an appropriation is included in House Bill No. 126 providing funding for the purposes of [sections 1 and 2 of this act]. If an appropriation is not included in House Bill No. 126 for the purposes of [sections 1 and 2 of this act], then [this act] is void.