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Access to Osteoporosis Testing for Americans in Jeopardy
Date:4/3/2009

ts is cost effective and can literally save lives."

"Osteoporosis is a silent disease that often goes undetected until a fall or other injury results in a broken bone. The utilization of DXA testing is one of the best ways we have to help prevent osteoporosis-related fractures, which are costly and can be devastating to the overall health of older patients," said Representative Shelley Berkley. "As someone who has been diagnosed with osteoporosis, I want all Americans to have access to these tests. We need to build awareness of this disease and the proper steps needed to maintain healthy bones."

This legislation builds on federal initiatives already in place that support fracture prevention efforts and improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis, including recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the 2004 Surgeon General's Report on Bone Health and Osteoporosis, and inclusion of bone density testing in the Welcome to Medicare exam.

Drastically low levels of reimbursement for the tests create unnecessary barriers for those who cannot take the time for multiple healthcare provider visits and pose a serious threat to the frail and elderly who cannot travel long distances, particularly those living in rural areas. According to estimates, less than 20 percent of those who are eligible are being tested for osteoporosis; this number is expected to plunge if patients' access to bone density testing is reduced.

"Osteoporosis now causes an estimated 2 million fractures each year and often results in immobility, pain, placement in a nursing home, isolation and other health problems -- conditions and circumstances that could largely be prevented through proper bone density testing and diagnosis," said Robert Recker, M.D., president of the National Osteoporosis Foundation. "We need Congress to pass this legislation to ensure access to these important medical tests for t
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SOURCE National Osteoporosis Foundation
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