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Injury Research and Health Organizations Urge Congress to Save Lives and Money by Including Injury Prevention in Health Care Reform
Date:9/8/2009

BALTIMORE, Sept. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A group of 18 research centers, professional organizations and advocacy groups have joined together to urge Congress to include injury prevention in health care reform. Each day, 475 Americans die from injuries related to motor vehicle crashes, assaults, fires and other trauma. This results in 170,000 deaths every year, more than twice that from diabetes and more than four times that of breast cancer. The group will run an ad in the September 8th "Health Care Hits the Road" theme issue of Roll Call. It is the first time these groups have come together to educate policymakers on the significant burden injuries pose to the health care system.

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"Injury is one of the most serious and costly health problems in the United States, yet many people are unaware that many injuries can be prevented by applying what we already know works," said Andrea Gielen, ScD, ScM, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, one of the participating groups. "Right now we have an unprecedented opportunity to reduce costs and save lives, as two key goals of health care reform are to contain costs and improve outcomes. It's a logical part of the solution to include injury prevention in health care reform."

Key facts about injuries:

  • During the August congressional recess, an estimated 4 million Americans received medical care for injuries, generating $9 billion in lifetime medical expenses.
  • Injury is the number one cause of death for people ages 1 to 45 and the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. for all ages.
  • Nearly 50 million non-fatal injuries in the U.S. each year require medical care.
  • Annually, injuries generate lifetime costs to society of $406 billion, including $80 billion in medical care.

Examples of proven effective prevention measures that can save lives and money are car seats and bike helmets. "These safety products have demonstrated their injury prevention and cost savings benefit time and again. Yet, only a handful of children's hospitals offer comprehensive safety resource centers that we know can ensure that parents have access to lifesaving education and effective injury prevention devices," explained Gielen. "At the other end of the age spectrum, older adults who exercise regularly, have their vision checked, undergo medication management, and who have access to a home hazard assessment can reduce their risk of experiencing a life-altering fall. Comprehensive fall-prevention services can help reduce the 11.5 million falls treated annually in the health care system and the $14 billion in lifetime medical costs generated as a result."

Partner organizations include: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Trauma Society, Center for Injury Research and Policy of Nationwide Children's Hospital, Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center, Home Safety Council, Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, Medical College of Wisconsin Injury Research Center, Mount Sinai Injury Control Research Center, National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions, National Fire Protection Association, Research!America, Safe Kids USA, Society for Advancement of Violence and Injury Research, State and Territorial Injury Prevention Directors Association, University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center, University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center, Washington University Brown Center for Violence and Injury Prevention, West Virginia University Injury Control Research Center.

The advertisement, links to the partner organizations, and examples of how injury prevention can be incorporated into health care reform are available online at www.jhsph.edu/InjuryCenter/HealthCareReform.


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SOURCE Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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