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Health Care Reform and Chronic Disease

BALTIMORE, July 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In response to Congress' debate on health care reform, state and local leaders from Maryland joined together at the Baltimore Medical System at Saint Agnes Hospital Community Care Center to call for comprehensive reforms to address the growing crisis of chronic disease in Maryland and nationwide. The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is a coalition committed to making chronic disease prevention and management a major part of comprehensive health reform.

The Maryland chapter of PFCD has 41 state partners and a distinguished panel of co-chairs in attendance today: former Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Sharon D. Allison-Ottey, M.D., Executive Director, The COSHAR Foundation, and Miguel McInnis, M.P.H., Chief Executive Officer, Mid-Atlantic Association of Community Health Centers

"The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease's broad coalition of national and state partners believes it is impossible to contain rising health care costs -- and tackle other issues of coverage and quality -- without addressing chronic disease," said Dr. Allison-Ottey.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases are responsible for seven out of every 10 deaths in the United States -- taking the lives of more than 1.7 million Americans every year. Chronic diseases are also the primary driver of health care costs, accounting for more than 75 percent of the more than $2 trillion dollars spent each year on health care in the United States.

"We are in crisis. The cost of chronic disease is unsustainable. Our health care system is not making us healthy, and we have to change. We need to exercise, eat well, and get regular check ups," said former Lieutenant Governor Townsend.

The financial burden in Maryland of chronic disease is tremendous. A study by the Milken Institute looked at seven common chronic diseases and found that in Maryland, the total treatment costs of these diseases amounted to nearly $5.2 billion in 2003. The total economic costs -- in terms of treatment and productivity loss associated with poor health from chronic diseases -- amounted to more than $25.7 billion. NOTE: STATE DATA CAN BE FOUND AT:

Maryland's chapter of PFCD is comprised of 41 statewide partners including:

  • Abilities Network/Epilepsy Foundation of the Chesapeake Region
  • Access Carroll
  • The AIDS Institute
  • American Academy of Pediatrics, Maryland Chapter
  • American Cancer Society, South Atlantic Division
  • American Lung Association of the Atlantic Coast, Inc.
  • Arthritis Foundation, Maryland Chapter
  • Asthma Allergy Foundation of America, Maryland-Greater D.C. Chapter
  • Baltimore County Department of Aging
  • Baltimore Housing Office of Community Services
  • Baltimore Medical System
  • Coalition for a Healthy Maryland
  • Community Free Clinic
  • Community Health Charities of Maryland
  • The COSHAR Foundation, Inc.
  • Eastern Area Treatment Program
  • Edward A. Myerberg Senior Center
  • Emmanuel Brinklow Seventh Day Adventists Church
  • Greater Baltimore Committee
  • The Healthcare Council of the National Capital Area
  • Health Resource Solutions, Inc.
  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Maryland Chapter
  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, National Capital Area Chapter
  • Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area
  • Maryland Academy of Family Physicians
  • Maryland Chamber of Commerce
  • Maryland Hospital Association
  • Maryland Pharmacists Association
  • Maryland Physicians Care
  • Maryland Society of Health-System Pharmacists
  • Maryland State Conference of NAACP Branches
  • The Maryland State Medical Society
  • Mid-Atlantic Association of Community Health Centers
  • National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency, Maryland
  • National Kidney Foundation of the National Capital Area
  • NAMI Maryland
  • Partners in Care
  • Primary Care Coalition of Montgomery County
  • Priority Partners MCO, Johns Hopkins Health Care
  • Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association
  • Technology Council of Maryland
  • Total Healthcare
  • Union Memorial Hospital Cancer Program
  • United Seniors of Maryland
  • University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute
  • XL Health
  • YMCA of Central Maryland

About the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is a national and state-based coalition of hundreds of patient, provider, community, business, and labor groups, committed to raising awareness of the number-one cause of death, disability, and rising health care costs in the U.S.: poorly prevented and mismanaged chronic disease.

PFCD's mission is to:

  • Challenge policymakers to make fighting chronic disease a top priority and discuss how they will address it in their health care proposals.
  • Educate the public about chronic disease and potential solutions for individuals, communities, and the nation.
  • Mobilize Americans to call for changes in how policymakers, governments, employers, health institutions, and other entities approach chronic disease.

For more information about PFCD and its partner organizations, please visit:

SOURCE Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease
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