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30 National Organizations Issue Call to Action for Congress to Fully Fund Falls Prevention Programming in CDC Budget
Date:3/13/2008

WASHINGTON, March 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Policy groups representing millions of older adults, safety advocates and health professionals today called for Congress to add $20.7 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to address the growing, large-scale problem of falls among older Americans.

Each year, one in three older Americans (65 and older) falls and about 30% of those who fall require medical treatment. The most recent data shows that 1.8 million older adults were treated in emergency departments for injuries from falls, 433,000 were hospitalized, and nearly 16,000 died. CDC reports the mortality rate from falls among older Americans has increased 39% between 1999 and 2005.

"For adults over age 65, falls and injuries from falls are a major threat to health, independence, and their quality of life," said James Firman, president and CEO of the National Council on Aging.

The cost of doing nothing is escalating. According to the CDC, more than $19 billion annually is spent on treating the elderly for the adverse effects of falls: $12 billion for hospitalization, $4 billion for emergency department visits, and $3 billion for outpatient care. Most of these expenses are paid for by CMS through Medicare. It is projected that direct treatment costs from elder falls will escalate to $43.8 billion annually by 2020.

"Among the greatest financial challenges facing the U.S. Government, its citizens and their employers is stemming the rising cost of healthcare services," said AARP Senior Vice President David Sloane. "Significant progress can be made if we can reduce the frequency and severity of falls among older Americans."

William O'Connell, Executive Director of Government Affairs at the National Safety Council said, "CDC activity in this area is severely disproportionate to the scale of human suffering and the expense draining our healthcare system. These added monies would fund meaningful
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SOURCE Falls Free Coalition Advocacy Work Group
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